More and more among cookers and increasingly careful to health: today people give great value to feeling good in the kitchen, one of the most lived environments in the home, where the concept of well-being ranges from quality nutrition to quality of the air you breathe.
Well-being in the kitchen involves various areas and appliances can play an important role in meeting the needs of users, starting with eating well and healthy. Among the latest innovations, a product with very interesting performance is the combined steam oven, which allows to mix heat and steam, with controlled humidity percentages in order to obtain excellent results even when cooking light but tasty dishes. Thanks to this appliance, not only it is possible to cook using steam but, by introducing humidity into the oven cavity, it is possible, for example, to prepare more succulent and not dry meat and fish, as weel as soft inside and externally crunchy bakery and pastry products. Furthermore, the combined steam oven allows to obtain good results even when users want to regenerate previously cooked food. The use of this appliance is not complicated: the preset programs help the user not to make mistakes and to select the correct level of steam.
Even the most advanced multifunction ovens (both the built-in models and those present in freestanding cookers) allow to enjoy quality nutrition without necessarily having to be an expert cook. They are equipped with numerous cooking programs and preselected recipe books: depending on the model, the user can be easily guided in the preparation of pizza, lasagna or the leavening of doughs. In addition, some appliances also have accessories (such as the thermometric probe to measure the core temperature of food or the refractory stone for pizza) that help the user to obtain a perfectly done dish. So it becomes easier to cook at home instead of buying ready-made foods, with the advantage of being able to choose the best raw materials to eat in a healthier way.
In addition to ovens, even the most modern hobs offer functions and technologies for better cooking, enhancing quality ingredients. In both induction and gas appliances, the controls allow users to precisely adjust the intensity of the heat for perfect cooking. Moreover, there are induction models that have automatic programs to immediately have the right temperature to melt, keep warm/slow cook or simmer. Among the latest innovations, then, there are the combined hobs, which join gas burners and induction zones so that it is possible to choose the most suitable type of heat according to the recipe to prepare.
Speaking of well-being in the kitchen, one of the main novelties for the domestic market is vacuum storage/cooking. This tecnique, known for some time in catering, has also been introduced at the consumer level thanks to large and small appliances designed to vacuum pack food and cook them with the sous-vide cooking. Preserving foods with this method allows them to last longer and better preserve their integrity since the deterioration process is slowed down thanks to the suction of air. On the market there are built-in solutions (drawers) or small appliances for vacuum packaging. Both types of products allow to use bags and containers so that both solid and liquid foods can be vacuum packed. Depending on the models, these appliances may have different functions and different vacuum levels, for example for storage or cooking. And regarding sous-vide, it is particularly suitable for favoring well-being and health, because it is based on two fundamental concepts: avoiding the dispersion of nutrients (by eliminating the contact of food with cooking liquids) and cooking slowly, at not too high temperatures, not to ruin raw materials, enhancing their properties. With this type of technique flavors are more intense, while using very little seasonings, which makes the sous-vide ideal even for low-calories and/or low-sodium diets. Also in this case, household appliance industry offers both built-in devices (steam ovens equipped with the sous-vide function) and small appliances such as those featuring a cooking tank, a resistance and a probe for temperature control. In both solutions the process takes place without any particular user intervention, which does not make prolonged cooking times problematic. Furthermore, some types of appliances can also be managed via smartphone and the delayed timer can be programmed.
Another product, borrowed from the professional world and useful for creating a high quality cooking, is the blast chiller. To make this appliance more suitable for the domestic context, some brands have developed multifunction models, able to manage both cold and heat. Raw fish can thus be sanitized (ideal function for preparing sushi at home), freezing at -18°C or blast chilling at 3°C, but also slow cooking and leavening dough is possible. Moreover, by combining the blast chiller with the combined steam oven and the vacuum machine, a real food preparation and cooking system can be created in the kitchen that allows to reach high quality standards. Using the action of these three tools it is possible, for example, to prepare and cook vacuum-sealed single portions on the same day to be consumed throughout the week. The advantages in terms of well-being are many: fresh food is used, food is not wasted because the dishes are preserved better and longer, and people can enjoy the higher quality offered by cooked and vacuum-packed foods: once regenerated they keep their taste and consistency as just made.
Air quality: an increasingly topical issue
The air we breathe is closely linked to our psychophysical well-being, and the kitchen, due to its functional characteristics, is one of the environments in which it can be more easily put at risk: fumes, vapors, odors and pollutants can in fact, be annoying or even harmful to health. To restore the air healthiness in this space of the house, hood manufacturers have developed a wide range of solutions (from extractor models, to filtering ones, to extractor system integrated into the hobs), equipped with advanced technologies and intelligent functions. For example, products have been launched on the market, equipped with sensors, which constantly monitor the level of indoor pollution and automatically activate to purify the air. Furthermore, several appliances are able to connect with the hobs and automatically adjust the suction power according to what you are cooking. On the filtering systems front, on the other hand, among the most advanced solutions there are the long-life filters (which offer high performance and can be regenerated up to 5 years) and systems that use materials of natural origin, such as activated carbon and zeolite, effective in the absorption of organic compounds and water vapor.
Depending on the product, then, the hood can sanitize the air (a topical issue more than ever), helping to significantly reduce the presence of pathogens thanks to technologies that enrich the environment with negative ions. But that’s not all, because there are other areas in which hoods can promote well-being in the kitchen. We think, for example, of appliances equipped with special systems to solve the problem of condensate dripping that tends to form with induction hobs or products designed to be extremely quiet while ensuring high performance. Finally, among the most original proposals, there are hoods equipped with an area dedicated to the cultivation of aromatic plants for having a real home garden in the kitchen, thus combining the well-being of clean air with the idea of favoring a healthier nutrition.
Lastly, a final mention to air purifiers/sanitizers, which represent a possible alternative to eliminate unpleasant odors and substances potentially harmful. Today, many versions are available, designed for spaces of different sizes and with both portable solutions and wall or ceiling installation. They restore air quality, sometimes using the same technologies found in hoods. Furthermore, these products, precisely because they fit into the home environment, are designed with a certain attention to the the aesthetic aspect and some models also work as lamps.
Diversified solutions for every aspect of well-being in the kitchen
The household appliance industry expresses a wide know-how in terms of products developed to ensure well-being in the kitchen. On the one hand, people’s interest in trying even elaborate preparations, in the name of a healthy and higher quality diet, has found – as already mentioned – an answer in advanced appliances, sometimes inspired by the professional world but declined in domestic environment. On the other hand, the experience with the pandemic is increasing the attention to devices capable of purifying indoor air. So, what is the offer panorama in detail? And is the “new normal” changing the users’ approach to well-being in the kitchen and the desired equipment? To answer this questions, we involved some appliance brands.
|The questions of the survey
1 Could you give some examples of your products that promote well-being in the kitchen? What are their strengths?
2 Do you believe that, at the current moment, issues related to health and well-being have become more important to consumers than in the past?
Lorenzo Baraldi, General Manager of Baraldi
1 In its range of household appliances, Baraldi proposes the AirO’ series of air sanitizers with cold plasma technology which, by exploiting a chemical principle present in nature, is very effective against pathogens.
The products of the AirO’ series do not replace the air exchange in the rooms, which is always recommended and, indeed, indispensable for diluting the concentration of pollutants, but they represent an excellent help to protect our health by significantly reducing the presence of viruses, bacteria, spores, fungi and molds, as well as eliminating odors. We have integrated the system in some appliances (for example the Original Free ceiling hood, the Fortune hanging hood, the Wall wall-mounted hood and the Diamond Flexi induction hob with integrated extraction system in which AirO’ can be applied as an option) and it works independently from the main flow of the suction motor. The hood can be used in suction mode anyway, with the tube connected to the outside, or as a filtering with the recirculation of the air inside the kitchen. When the need is felt, the AirO’ module can be activated enriching the air with negative ions, beneficial to health and effective in a few minutes against any bad odor. AirO’ is designed to last over 45,000 hours without the need for maintenance or external connections. Valid and safe, as it does not release ozone, it helps to have high quality air in the kitchen, giving the opportunity to breathe and live better. We believe that this solution can become a fundamental presence in homes, offices, shops, hotels and any other closed place attended by public.
The principle of cold plasma ionization is very similar to what occurs in nature with thunderbolts. No disinfectants are used and no other substances are injected into the air: a controlled voltage electric field causes the increase of kinetic energy of the air molecules, which collide at high speed, releasing ions (atoms or molecules that have lost or acquired electrons). After this “cold” chemical transformation the air becomes plasma, that is a partially ionized gas composed of a great variety of particles. The ionized oxygen molecules are able to disaggregate many pollutants and damage the cellule membranes of viruses and bacteria, destroying them. The effectiveness of ionization against microbial agents, in particular, is very high: tests carried out by independent bodies have verified that it reaches 95% within a few hours and can exceed 99.5% within a day. Additionally, ionization has agglomerating properties on fine particles, making them less harmful to our lungs.
Today it is possible to exploit the sanitizing action of cold plasma ionization even using portable devices.
2 We are all increasingly careful to what we buy. We are looking for products that use easily recoverable raw materials, less and less energivorous, that can have a second life and can help our well-being. These are choices, on the one hand linked to reasons of health protection, on the other due to a greater sensitivity towards environmental issues and the protection of natural ecosystems. We are interested in having a clean environment even at home or in our workplace, and all the new products that Baraldi is developing are designed to improve air quality in environments where people spend many hours a day.
Alessandra Garbuglia, Elica Brand Manager
1 Air quality is becoming increasingly important, but the concept of well-being in the kitchen is much wider and goes beyond this. We spend more and more time in our homes and the kitchen, often open to the living area, is the most lived environment. In this context, space management becomes fundamental as well as comfort given by appliances able to work silently. Elica’s entire range of NikolaTesla suction hobs was created to combine two usually separate functions: cooking and suction. By its very nature, this product is ideal for optimizing space, as well as ensuring an environment free of fumes and bad smells. This is thanks to the high performance long life filters that ensure filtering thresholds of 80% (compared to the market average of 60%) and can be regenerated for up to 5 years: a perfect solution for those who, in addition to the air they breathe every day at home, are careful to the surrounding environment. NikolaTesla Fit, the new born of the range, contains all the advantages of an extractor hob even in the most compact kitchens, since it can be installed in bases of only 60 cm in width. Small sizes, but without renouncing to flexibility and comfort during cooking: the Bridge function allows to unite two zones, creating a single area dedicated to the largest pans, ensuring a constant cooking temperature. Moreover, thanks to the Autocapture function, NikolaTesla Fit automatically adjusts the suction power according to what you are cooking, maintaining the perfect balance between silence, power and energy efficiency. All that remains is to dedicate yourself to your own recipe!
2 Current circumstances are bringing us closer and closer to our personal spaces, increasing our attention to food, air quality and home space management. We are increasingly attentive to eating habits, we prefer local raw materials and we have introduced healthier and more balanced cooking, to improve our physical well-being. Home has become the space where we spend more time, where we work, have dinner, stay healthy and dedicate to our hobbies. For this reason, multifunctional solutions capable of optimizing spaces are now fundamental elements for the most attentive consumers and air quality becomes an important requirement to better enjoy kitchen. In this context, hood and hobs with integrated extraction play a crucial role, eliminating fumes and bad smells and returning clean air to the house.
Lorenzo Poser, Sales and Marketing Director of Falmec
1 All Falmec extractor hoods are inspired by the concept of quality of air and life at home. Precisely to satisfy this need for indoor well-being, Falmec has developed four types of technologies in particular: Circle.Tech, present in the Dama island hood, which combines suction and filtration in a single motor allowing maximum performance in a small space; the E.ion System technology (as in the Bellaria purifier or in the E.ion Gruppo Incasso hood), which sanitizes and neutralizes odors, irritants and pollutants thanks to a controlled bipolar ionization system; the NRS technology, which reduces the traditional suction noise in the home (as in the Zenith NRS island hood); and finally the Carbon.Zeo filters which, thanks to the absorbing capacity of carbon and zeolite, significantly reduce odors and humidity of cooking vapors.
2 We believe that, in this historical period, we are all strongly oriented towards a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. For this reason, the achievement of well-being and psycho-physical balance is sought through healthy eating, sports, socializing and feeling good breathing healthy air even at home.
Serena Sorana, Head of trade marketing & Responsible for Faber brand guideline of Franke Home Solutions
1 Interpreting the growing attention paid to the quality of the air we breathe within the walls of the house – where we spend up to 90% of our time, coming in contact with a mix of harmful agents that can compromise our well-being -, we are developing a new range of hoods equipped with a sensor that allows to monitor the level of indoor pollution 24 hours a day. These new models will be able to control parameters such as temperature, percentage of humidity, but also the presence in the home of volatile organic compounds or other harmful substances by automatically adjusting the suction speed of the hood to restore the better air quality. But that’s not all: a special App (available for both Android and Apple devices) will allow to monitor the indoor air at any time, even remotely. An intuitive and smart way to easily improve home well-being, freeing the environment from odors and pollutants and detecting other indices, such as humidity, which can affect our health within the house walls. A special mention also deserves the Onyx-T model, the wall hood of the Onyx line, designed by the Angeletti & Ruzza studio. This model, besides being characterized by the linear and minimal design and by the low consumption that places it in A++ class contains the exclusive Sil & Still technology which, thanks to the Eco Function button, activates the hood operation for 24 hours in ultra-quiet mode, helping to make indoor air healthier with the minimum energy consumption and noise. The green light of the Eco Function button is in fact the only indication that the hood is working. The appliance can be installed in filtering or suction mode and is designed to be connected to Faber induction hobs for automatic and synchronized activation of the hood with the cooking level set on the hob.
2 Certainly the health emergency has significantly increased attention to aspects related to health and at the same time has further increased the centrality of the domestic environment also in terms of the search for well-being within the home walls. A study that we commissioned to Ipsos at the end of 2019 had shown that, even before the pandemic, people were interested in having more information on indoor pollution, perceived the link between domestic air quality and health/well-being and indicated kitchen as the environment where the air quality, inside home, was put at greater risk. Obviously this issue has become even more important in this last year for people, but also for companies. A challenge, that of containing domestic pollution, which is central since within the walls of the house we come in contact with a mix of chemical, physical and biological agents that compromise the air we breathe for many hours of our day and, consequently, our well-being: this can even lead to the aggravation of pre-existing diseases, especially in children and older people. For this reason today Faber continues to invest in research and innovation to eliminate annoying fumes and vapors in the kitchen, and to activate campaigns to promote the change of filters and raise awareness among users on the importance of a correct maintenance – two relevant elements in improving our domestic well-being. The company is also committed to developing solutions and technologies that guarantee a 360° improvement in indoor air quality thanks to the use of intelligent functions.
Paolo Mainardi, Brand Manager of Fulgor Milano
1 In the kitchen environment there are different levels of well-being: from furniture treated with substances that are not harmful to health if inhaled, to the cleanliness of the air guaranteed by the aspiration and filtration of fumes and odors, to the hygiene ensured by specific washing cycles for dishes and glasses, up to the materials used for the construction of the appliances that are in direct contact with food and drinks in compliance with the Moca regulations. Considering our product range, it is possible to identify some peculiarities of our appliances that guarantee a better approach to food health, waste reduction and, in general, a more appropriate diet: steam cooking, slow cooking, storage with vacuum and blast chiller, cleaning the inside of the ovens with systems that have less impact on the environment (such as pyrolysis with a catalyst that eliminates the use of harmful substances and the release of gases that increase pollution in the domestic space).
2 The year 2020, spent by the most of families among restrictions, forced closures, smart-working and fear of infections, has certainly influenced the way of thinking about health and well-being, with greater attention to nutrition, energy consumption, physical and psychological well-being, reactivating many of the latent skills in people, dormant beacuse of the too frantic and stressful way of life. Activities such as preparation of food at home and production of dishes starting from natural and fresh ingredients have reappeared, to the detriment of ready or pre-cooked foods. The need and pleasure of sharing meals also contributed to re-establish a balance in relationships among members of the same family unit.
Marco Guerzoni, Marketing Director of Glem Gas
1 I state that all the products we make are cared in detail not only in the aesthetic aspect but also and above all in their functional aspect. As “Specialisti in cottura” (cooking specialists), in fact, we have the aim of offering concrete, pragmatic products that ensure the user the best experience in the kitchen with excellent performance and maximum ease of use. Let’s take for example the new Specialista cookers line, with ventilated gas oven: the classic traditional gas cooking, combined with the use of fan and thanks to the environment created inside the new cavity sealed without joints, provides excellent distribution and heat intensity on multiple levels. The humidity generated in the cavity during this process preserves the juices inside the cooked dishes and therefore mineral salts, vitamins and nutrients. Another example of products that favour well-being in the kitchen are the new tempered glass hobs included in the range dedicated to the Italian market: they combine a refined design with high heat resistance, easy cleaning and a powerful and precise operation. Thanks to the innovative setting system in the controls, which allows to adjust the power of the flame with precision on 9 fixed preset levels, maximum control of cooking is guaranteed, while best preserving the nutritional properties of food. Finally, I can mention the GHB990IX hood, efficient and with enhanced functionality: it is equipped with dishwasher-safe metal grease filters and with the CleanAir function which allows to renew the air in the kitchen autonomously and without voluntary activation thanks to the automatic switching of the suction system. The hood can be installed in suction or filtering mode, giving the user the possibility to freely choose the system that best suits his needs. It is not necessary to have sophisticated suction systems but it is essential to carefully select the most suitable one for the kitchen to obtain excellent air purification; as well as for the power it is important to choose not the highest one but the right one for the size of the environment.
2 Surely due to the pandemic in progress, but also due to the environmental crisis that we are facing, user has become more sensitive to these issues. The constant search for healthier, zero-kilometer and quality foods, together with the desire to cook them at best with your own appliances to enjoy them in your own home, led the kitchen to be the central place of the house once again, a place to live fully and share with loved ones, where to live experiences, feeling at ease and safe.
Gianluigi Freschi, Ceo – General Manager of Ilve
1 At Ilve we are convinced that “cooking well” means loving yourself, it is in our DNA and is clearly expressed in our mission as well. By “cooking well” we mean that set of actions that involve consumer, from the choice of raw materials to the methods of preparation, cooking and conservation. Today Ilve has a combined system that associates three different devices and is called Colonna Stellata (Starry Column). In a single set it is possible to have 3 machines: multifunction oven (convection, microwave and steam), blast chiller and vacuum machine. In particular, the Ultracombi multifunction oven is equipped with cooking probe and allows to have up to 9 combined functions, two by two, among convection, microwave and steam; moreover, it is possible to cook with steam from 40° to 100° and temperature is adjustable on any single degree. As for the blast chiller, this appliance has numerous functions (such as positive blast chilling, defrosting, ready on the table, slow cooking, leavening, freezing from room temperature to -20° and rapid bottle cooling), while the vacuum machine is equipped with a professional bell chamber, 4 sealing levels up to 99%, 4 m3/h vacuum pump and marinating function. The combination of these three appliances allows, for example, to cook according to the methods of batch cooking, that is, the serial kitchen which allows the cook to save time: I program my weekly menu, I shop in a single solution and concentrate preparations and cooking in a single phase. I prepare, cook, chill and store: to our customers who use these appliances, we “give back” the most important value, that is time that is translated into quality of life.
Marco Di Leo, Ceo of R.G.V.
1 Our slicers – R.G.V. core business – promote well-being as they allow you to easily use the so-called “products bought by the farmer” in the kitchen, that are quality, zero-kilometer, biological foods. And the advantage is twofold: in addition to enjoy the greater freshness and quality of food, there is also an economic saving. In fact, instead of buying small quantities of product purchased over the counter, more targeted purchases can be made in larger quantities with a consequent advantage in terms of costs. Let’s think, for example, of cold cuts, fruit, vegetables and some types of cheeses: there is absolutely no comparison between products sliced at home and those already packaged. Furthermore, after using the slicer, our range of products for vacuum packing allows to repackage the purchased food, maintaining quality and freshness over time, and consequently avoiding food waste. This can be done by using, for example, the special vacuum bags that we make and which are the first on the market to be totally recyclable: so well-being for persons but also for the planet.
2 Although I have no data to confirm it, I believe anyway that at the moment there is particular attention to issues related to health and well-being. Regarding small appliances, I can say that basically all the appliances we use at home serve in some way to facilitate our experience in the kitchen by making us and those around us feel good. And in particular, the slicers and vacuum products are designed to promote health and well-being with a focus on saving and reducing waste.
Giorgio Re, Administrator and Product Development Manager of Reber
1 For several years, Reber has been producing vacuum packaging appliances and recently we have also introduced appliances for sous-vide, low temperature cooking: the Gourmet Sous-Vide line. Vacuum improves and lengthens the preservation of food and sous-vide cooking at low temperatures allows to enhance the flavors and properties of food, minimizing waste, the loss of nutrients and the use of seasonings and flavorings. Our appliances have some peculiar characteristics: the absolutely precise temperature control thanks to the sensors inserted in the cooking tank and to the resistance mounted on the bottom of the product that respects the natural movement of water by convection; the possibility to control the appliance with a smartphone application; the programming function with delayed start, which allows cooking start even if the user is not at home so to find the food ready on returning; the efficient use of the appliance (70% space for food, 30% for water); and an absolutely modest electrical consumption when compared with other appliances, such as circulators, or with traditional cooking at high temperatures.
2 During 2020 we have seen a very strong increase in the interest for home cooking products, even for more elaborate preparations that require more time and skills than in the past. Vacuum cooking is absolutely part of this trend, since it allows to significantly improve the final result, both in terms of organoleptic quality and respect for the properties of food. The hope is that these trends will be confirmed even when the health emergency we are experiencing has passed, because some technologies, such as vacuum cooking, are convenient to use even when you are away from home all day, thanks to the possibility of programming the device and finding food ready when you return from work.