Over recent years, the kitchen has become to look less, well, like a kitchen. Handles have nearly all but disappeared from furniture, while appliances are concealed behind cabinet doors or (in the case of extraction) beneath worktops.
The kitchen continues to be an extension of living space, and as such must blend seamlessly into formal dining, social seating and even media areas. It means the appearance of the kitchen, now more than ever, is prone to changes in interior trends and the whims of the fashion industry.
So, it’s no surprise neutrals from the catwalks have peppered the design of kitchen products. But we must also remember that the kitchen is a functional domain. It needs to meet the demand of time-poor (and increasingly eco-aware) consumers, with appliances taking the brunt of these demands. Appliances need to offer greater convenience for consumers while using less energy, water and detergent — saving them money too. We’ve taken a look at how the future product trends will impact on your business over the next 12 months.
Arguably the worktop market will be less about changes in colour, as many of the 2010 decors will be a recurrent theme, but more focused on texture and form. Stuart White, managing director at Bushboard, says: “The key trend for worktops will be to focus on texture and the clever use of overlays to create different effects, both visually and aesthetically.”
While Paul McDowell, managing director of MCD Marketing for DuPont Corian, adds: “Key styles will be sharp and slender, with ‘shark nose’, receding edge prohles and ‘floating’ effects. All shades of grey look set to be a recurrent colour theme in kitchens, while materials that offer recycled content will be in clemand.”
Dishwashers and laundry:
For cleaning appliances load sizes are becoming increasingly important, to get through mountains of laundry, as well as pots and pans, more quickly. Hotpoint brand manager, lain Starkey, comments: “In terms of load capacity bigger is definitely better with 8kg and 9kg drums proving popular: The same goes for dishwashers, with 14 place setting full – sized machines and 10 place setting slimline models, becoming more widely available in the market.”
However, Les Wickes, head of product and buying at Baku, also points out: “Cleaning appliances, which offer excellent results at low temperatures, and consume less water than standard appliances, will continue to be popular” And Tanya Searle, UK product manager of Electrolux Major Appliances, agrees adding: “Dishwashers with automatic programmes have the intelligence to work out the correct programme, by monitoring the level of soiling and the size of the wash load…This is a trend we would expect to see cascade down to many more models.”
Functions that remove the drudgery of cleaning and healthy-eating has spurred the trends for oven design. Simon Freean country manager of Amica in the UK, comments: The demand for self – cleaning ovens will reach a new level in the next couple of years. There will also be plenty of focus on steam ovens in the year ahead, as it’s now a more affordable method of cooking healthy meals quicker”.
Certainly Neff has been quick to realise the explosion of steam cooking, as sales director Mike Jarrett, says: “Steam is a key area of importance in the oven market. With the growing demand for healthy eating and cooking, steam has come into its own in the last year or two and is building up momentum all the time. We plan to further increase our steam oven range in 2011.
The biggest sales story for hobs has undoubtedly been the rise and rise of sleek, flush-fitting models, be it electric or gas. Sales and marketing director of ATAG, Bill Miller comments: “We are seeing a growing interest in seamless, elegant and minimalist design particularly exampled by induction, or gas—on-glass models’.
And Steve Dickson, commercial manager for Stoves agrees: “Gfk data shows sales of induction hobs have continued to grow at a healthy rate over the last l2 months, increasing by more than 170% since 2005 and making induction the fastest—growing fuel category. The market has seen the introduction of some really innovative products, and with more manufacturers introducing new products to market all the time, the end cost to the consumer has reduced.”