The eco allies

In Product News On
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It isn’t often that a dishwasher owner praises the merits of their appliance. Unfairly so, since the dishwasher has undergone a revolutionary transformation in the last decade.

“A dishwasher is the ultimate ‘everyday’ appliance that can make a difference to water and energy use in the home, contributing to the reduction of the household’s carbon footprint, reducing water and energy bills, whispering away quietly in the open-plan living space, keeping the work tops clear of clutter and doing a better and more hygienic job than a pair of rubber gloves. They save a tremendous amount of time too…as much a 400 hours per year,” explains Juliana Saldo, Whirlpool’s brand marketing manager.

Yet, the role and benefits of dishwasher are still undervalued as only between 30 and 35% of British homes have a dishwasher, in contrast to other European countries such as Germany, France or Switzerland, where the penetration of dishwashers is over 65%.

Market news

The GfK market data shows that in 2010 (Jan-Dec 2010), the volume of dishwasher sales remained stable (at 797 thousand units), with freestanding models (currently accounting for 66% of sales) increasing by 1.3%, while built-in products declining by 0.9%. However the overall value of the market grew by 2.8% to £247mln, with the value sales of freestanding models growing faster than built-in dishwashers (3.1% and 2.3% respectively.) The average price increased by 2.2%.

There has also been a marked increase in demand for slimline dishwashers. “We have noticed that the slimline market is growing quicker and has suffered less of a decline than the full size market. We believe this is because more new home owners and first time buyers from the younger generation are coming from households where they always had a dishwasher so when starting up home for the first time – even in a flat share situation – will not consider a home without a dishwasher,” comments Mike Jarrett, sales director of Neff.

Customer expectations

“Today’s consumer, above all, wants convenience, so appliances that are easy to load and easy to control with a good selection of programmes and clear indicators are popular. In today’s economic and ecological climates, savings in terms of energy and water are more important than ever before so consumers are looking towards energy efficiency ratings, water consumption and eco functions. Noise levels are also considered by consumers in their purchasing decisions,” argues Simon Freer, UK country manager for Amica.

The environmental issues and their economic implications became even more important during the recessionary squeeze. “Consumers now have a far greater understanding of what energy and water efficiency ratings of appliances actually mean to them. They are now more likely to opt for an A rated dishwasher, even if it costs a few pounds more, as they realise the long term cost-savings that can be made. The other priority for the consumer is time and how to save it, says Rita Balestrazzi, marketing manager at Baumatic.

However it should be remembered that the dishwasher market has two types of customers with different needs and expectations:

“First time buyers, who are less familiar with dishwashing, will be purchasing to save labour and time and exploit the huge benefits of a dishwasher. The main gripe will be the lack of space in the kitchen! If they have children, then often a tumble dryer will go in the place of a dishwasher. And, of course, if they do find the space then they will buy the smallest version and be driven by price,” argues Maytag’s Caroline Guillermard.

“In the replacement market the consumer values the dishwasher highly and is looking to upgrade to more capacity, style, energy efficiency, quieter operation, sensor programming, overall greater functionality and they wouldn’t be without one in their home,” adds Caroline Guillermard.

Technological advances

Ian Starkey, Hotpoint brand manager, suggests that the main technological and product design advancements for dishwashers have been made in four areas:

• energy and water saving, aided by faster and sensor-driven programmes

• noise reduction

• larger load capacity (up to 17 place settings)

• specialist programmes, and the use of steam.

“Both Hotpoint and Indesit work closely with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to ensure their appliances are energy and water efficient, and the slimline Indesit IDS105 is EST recommended, using just 10 litres of water for its 10 place setting load. This model, along with the Hotpoint FDD914 and the new slimline SDD910 (which uses nine litres of water), all carry the ‘Waterwise’ marque, the independent annual award for products that reduce water wastage and raise awareness of water efficiency,” explains Ian Starkey.

Sensor-driven programmes, now present on many mid- and high-end models, are the ‘brains’ behind water and energy savings. “The dishwasher is now able to detect how dirty the load is and adjust the wash cycle automatically to ensure every item comes out sparkling clean. There are many benefits of such technology, not least because it saves the user time, as the programme won’t run for any longer than necessary. Another major advantage of this is that it cuts down on water wastage saving up to 25% more water than a standard wash programme and also saves the consumer money on dishwasher detergent,” explains Baumatic’s Rita Balestrazzi.

Whirlpool was the first in Europe to introduce steam technology to dishwashing. “On Whirlpool’s AquaSteam dishwashers steam is used to gently soften and loosen dirt from heavily soiled dishes, pots and pans. The AquaSteam programme eliminates the need for pre-soaking or customer intervention prior to washing in the machine and promotes the elimination of bacteria,” says Juliana Sado.

Siemens’ Zeolith drying technology is also unique. It utilises natural minerals that have the ability to absorb water molecules and release them as energy. “Zeolith science combined with our energy-saving hydro-dry technology help to make our premium dishwashers the most energy efficient in the world – consuming as little as 0.86kWh per cycle,” argues Siemens spokesperson.

With more family and social life taking place in the kitchen, noise level on dishwashers is also a very important consideration. “The new AEG-Electrolux range is exceptionally quiet while the new top of the range model F99000MP works at just 39db. This is so quiet that you can’t even hear that it is on, “ says Electrolux’s spokesperson.

Also the Whirlpool Green Generation dishwasher has a Super-silent overnight programme which operates at 39dB.

The dishwasher capacity is also increasing. For example, Maytag XXL dishwasher, which features four racks, is able to accommodate 17 place settings.

However a new approach to the dishwasher’s ergonomics is proposed by Electrolux:

“Until now it was assumed that we all have the standard load of the seventies place settings – dinner plates, side plates, dessert dishes, cups – and saucers! Research by AEG-Electrolux and University of Bonn has found that today’s load is very different. AEG-Electrolux has therefore redesigned the interior and provided 10 litres more loadable volume to fit big dishes, pots, larger plates up to 34cm in diameter – in other words: perfect for real-life,” explains….

The specially designed baskets on AEG-Electrolux ProClean dishwasher range accommodates all type of items which can be angled in such a way to get maximum coverage from the ‘Satellite Sprayarm’ which create five spraying levels.

Design-wise

Since open-plan living makes the kitchen the centre of family life and entertaining, the design of the dishwashe
r is an important consideration. “Haier is launching a new high quality dishwasher range in the second half of 2011 featuring a stunning modern, high quality glass design (red, white and black) with new touch controls. It matches Haier’s new refrigerators, thus enabling customers to coordinate their two key kitchen appliances,” says James Osborne, UK and Ireland product manager at Haier Europe.

Gorenje has introduced a décor door for its 60cm built-in dishwashers, which complements its Pure oven range.

Hotpoint Ultima dishwashers come in a range of finishes including graphite, fingerprint resistant stainless steel and gloss black to co-ordinate with other Hotpoint products. Indesit has also launched a range of black appliances called ‘Nero’, which includes a slimline and full size dishwasher.

The good news

There is a general consensus that the future is bright for the dishwasher. First of all, with the market penetration standing at only 35%, 65% of homes in the UK are potential sales prospects.

Under the measures, which came into force in October 2010, newly built homes have to meet a minimum water efficiency standard of 125 litres per person per day which gives a major role to the dishwasher in reducing water consumption in homes in the future.

Moreover, the interest and investment in ‘smart appliances’ which interact with the electricity grid and automatically adapt their consumption to energy peaks and demands, will stimulate sales of dishwashers.

Finally, the new generation of customers who has grown up with a dishwasher cannot imagine living without one. For them a dishwasher is as indispensible as a washing machine and this change of attitude is likely to drive the future growth of this sector faster than any other factor. N

Dishwashers – User benefits

• They wash-up more economically than by hand (as little as 7 litres compared to 63 litres for hand washing)

• Save time – no more washing, rinsing and drying by hand

• Save energy and water thereby reducing household expenditure

• Very hygienic as they wash and dry at higher temperatures than by hand

• They keep work tops and the kitchen free from the clutter of dirty dishes

• They are perfect for modern day open plan living – keeping the noise of washing up nearly silent

Caroline Guillermard, product marketing manager, Maytag

Sales tips

• Knowledge is power. Explain to the consumer the benefits of dishwasher technology in real terms; how much energy, water and time the appliance will save them; what different programmes are for.

• Enquire about the customer’s current and future needs; are they looking to buy the first or a replacement dishwasher; do they have a large family; is the design going to be important for them?

• Open the door and demonstrate the interior. Show the flexible racks, baskets, adjustments and how the dishwasher can be adjusted to pots and crockery at home.

• If lack of space is citied as the reason for not owning a dishwasher, explain size options available and the variations on freestanding and built-in.

• Encourage replacement earlier. An old dishwasher can use twice as much energy and water as a new one.

Products to watch

Neff ‘In Line’ dishwashers 

These dishwashers can be installed in any possible configuration: at eye level; in a bank of appliances; in an island unit; side-by-side, in column or beneath the worktop.

There are two 60cm-wide compact models in the new range, equipped with special features and programmes to deal with every type of crockery, and finished in stainless steel.  Models S65M63N0GB and S66M63N0GB hold six and eight place settings respectively, with a choice of two heights: 45cm for the S65M63N0GB and 60cm for the S66M63N0GB.  

Amica Platinum collection

Amica’s Platinum collection consists of three dishwashers, with a stainless steel panel with black glass and red illumination – fully integrated and semi-integrated 60cm models and a fully integrated 45cm slimline model. Each has four wash temperatures, nine wash programmes, an LCD display, is AAA rated for energy, cleaning and drying performance and has a reduced noise level of just 45dB (45cm is 46dB).

The 60cm models cater for 14 place settings and the 45cm slimline model caters for 9 place settings.

AEG-Electrolux ProClean dishwasher range

Ergonomics is the unique selling feature of the ProClean dishwashers. Their redesigned interior has 10 litres more loadable volume to fit big dishes, pots and larger plates up to 34cm in diameter. The new baskets ensure that everything can be angled in  such a way to get maximum coverage from the ‘Satellite Sprayarm’ which makes up five spraying levels to ensure perfect cleaning.

The range is very quiet, with the top of the range model F99000MP operating at just 39db. It also uses only 0.99 kWh of energy, while the Auto programme consumes as little as 7 litres.

Whirlpool Green Generation freestanding dishwasher

Whirlpool’s Green Generation dishwashers are the most resource-saving in manufacturer’s portfolio so far. Whirlpool’s new freestanding dishwasher (ADP7955 WH/SL) not only incorporates the company’s 6th SENSE technology but boasts 30% more space with a third wash level. It guarantees excellent results with new PowerClean MAX and 6th SENSE AquaSteam technology, giving time, energy and resource savings of up to 50%.  This dishwasher was awarded the Which? Magazine Best Buy in August 2010.

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