Obesity affects 69 million adults and 22 million children in Europe, and the population of overweight people grows by 320 thousand annually, says the European Commission. The main reasons for this are increasingly sedentary lifestyles and greater consumption of fat, present in fast and commercially pre-prepared dishes. The principal challenge which faces doctors, nutritionists and anyone attempting to re-educate society into adopting a healthier diet is the ‘pleasure factor’. It is commonly identified with the belief that ‘most good things are bad for you’.
Creating healthy meals without compromising on their taste was the main consideration behind the development of ActiFry. It is best know as a low calorie chip fryer while in fact it is being used to create a variety of healthy meals, such as meat and fish dishes, risottos or fruit desserts. Based on principles of good nutrition, pleasure (making food taste good) and convenience (ease of preparation) it cooks food by constantly stirring it in high temperature generated by the inflow of hot air, and with the use of one tablespoon of oil only. The result is chips, meat or vegetables that are crispy on the outside and soft inside, with only 3% fat content.
These distinctive features put ActiFry in a totally new product category, says Edouard Pihet, international product manager for Tefal. “The success of ActiFry could be measured by two figures; its market share in the fryer category which currently is 25% and its penetration rate of the European market which stands at 1%. It reflects our effort to create a new category with ActiFry. Building on the commercial success of this product we intend to change customers cooking habits with this new cooking solution.
“The target markets for this product are first of all people who like chips but because of health problems shouldn’t be consuming them, and families who can use ActiFry for a variety of delicious and healthy meals and products.”
ActiFry is one of the three products in the Tefal Nutritious and Delicious range of appliances which aim to preserve the nutritional qualities of food, reduce the use of fats and minimise meal preparation time. The range also includes Tefal VitaCuisine, an innovative steamer that enables users to cook three dishes simultaneously without mixing their aromas, and Tefal VitaFruit, a slow cooker with rotating blades, for making low sugar jams, jellies, rice puddings or chutneys.
Groupe SEB is currently testing the next model of ActiFry which will have a 50% larger capacity and is aimed at larger families.
Thierry Coutureau, research manager of Electrical Cooking at Tefal, suggests the direction of the future development in this category: “I am convinced that in the future people will want to know exactly what they eat and will be interested in products which will allow them to regain this control. It does not mean that these products will be complex, as they also have to appeal to amateur cooks, but they will have to produce good food.”
ActiFry will be promoted in Britain in national television advertising during the first three weeks of October.