Gadgets that make kitchen work easier and faster have gained momentum in the lockdown.
Namrata Kohli reports.
With COVID-19 resetting the kitchen dynamics and converting this space into a family zone, consumer spends on increasing on making this a more comfortable space.
The pandemic has brought home cooking back in fashion, says Indian celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Sanjeev Kapoor.
Trappings of a good kitchen
Ideally, a kitchen must be well-lit and well-ventilated.
Says Kapoor: "Light, air and space make for a decent kitchen. So one needs enough space and work area. Besides, the kitchen should leave some room for upgrades as things change very fast and the space must allow adaptation."
According to Subodh Mehta, senior vice-president, B2C, Godrej Interio, the average ticket value of the kitchen has gone up by 25 to 30 per cent.
There is far more interest in the kitchen today as the entire family participates and everyone has inputs and perspectives on what it should be like.
Kitchen innovations -- what to expect
There are solutions for better cooling in the kitchen. A new product consisting of a chimney with an air-conditioner is being introduced.
Says Mehta: "You can't really run the fan at great speed in the kitchen, and putting an air conditioner is also not feasible as the space generates a lot of heat. It's best to do localised cooling such that the raft of the aircon comes on the people cooking the food and this is done with the latest innovative product of chimney-cum-air-conditioner."
Cool drawers for spices is another feature. A provision of cool drawers with low temperatures is being made in modern modular kitchens.
These columns maintain an environment that is not as cold as the refrigerator but good enough to maintain ambient temperature for storing spices.
There is a greater focus on hygiene and wellness and bigger sinks are in.
Kitchen makers have recently introduced deep sinks with auto water heater.
Since Indian cooking is full of oil and spices, one can just leave the utensils in this sink, water will come up to a particular level, heat and auto stop, clean and rinse.
Gadgets for efficiency
Devices that facilitate speed and efficiency are becoming a must-have purchase for the kitchen. Dishwashers are reportedly out of stock at some retail outlets.
Says Kishore Mardikar, CMO Tata CLiQ, "Customers are now investing in better quality kitchen appliances, with over 50 per cent increase seen in the average selling price. As most consumers are now at home along with families, convection microwaves have also shown a huge jump."
Multi-brand retailers such as Croma have observed a steep uptake in demand for products that aid convenience for all the DIY tasks like microwaves, food processors and vacuum cleaners.
According to Rajeev Singh, group business manager (home and entertainment), Croma, in the microwave/OTGs, there has been a growth of almost 100 per cent, largely owing to the ease of cooking or baking with them -- something that was at a forefront during the lockdown period.
Gadgets that make kitchen work easier and faster, like food processors, have gained momentum. With the WFH phenomenon, kettles have been a fast-moving product.
Wellness gadgets such as air fryer, which offers a healthier alternative to deep-frying, or a slow juicer that comes with slow crushing action that doesn't produce heat, are taking up bench space in kitchens all over the country.
Adds Kapoor: "There are three things in my kitchen that I literally use every day -- slow juicer, air fryer, nutri blend. Five years ago, this was something of a conversation starter and a discussion topic, but today there is a definite need for appliances that promote good health."
According to K G Singh, vice president-;marketing, Whirlpool India: "Convection microwaves (premium brands cost Rs 17,500 to 33,000) are picking up the most in terms of sales because of their all-round features and the ability to cook different varieties of food."
Even while buying refrigerators, there are high-end variants that help prevent bacterial growth, retain food freshness for weeks and facilitate vitamin preservation. And the new ones are waffle makers, bread makers and multi-purpose sandwich makers.
Feature Presentation: Mahipal Soni/Rediff.com