Electrolux had a dream kitchen at Design and Construction Week featuring all the fancy professional appliances it markets to restaurants and commercial kitchens. Called Grand Cuisine the line includes steam ovens, induction cooktops, high-powered gas brass burners, a vacuum sealer, blast chiller, and a griddle. Electrolux is trying to gauge consumer interest in these technologies, which cook foods faster, seal in more of the natural juices and can make a home chef a better cook.
Currently, in Consumer Reports’ cooking labs we are testing a number of steam ovens and induction ranges, and we’re seeing the benefits of these cooking advances. Although the prices for induction cooktops and ranges are trending lower, they still cost more than traditional gas and electric models. Induction ranges and cooktops have some of the highest scores in our tests, but the products have yet to take off with the consumer, and account for a small percentage of the overall market.
Steam ovens are equally as promising, producing great results on some of the foods we've tested so far. Here prices are even higher for these specialty built-in appliances, upwards of $3,000, and the small capacity ovens can't handle large baking tasks. We’re planning a battery of tests of the steam ovens in the coming months.
We saw similar commercial cooking technology in consumer appliances in a big way at the Viking booth and we expect this trend to accelerate as the economy improves and high-end brands compete for cache. Will these commercial cooking technologies take off with consumers, or will the high price points limit them to a niche occupied only by wealthy gourmands?