Top Trends: Kitchen Electrics

Welcome to Top Trends – an offering from the Curve Intelligence Portfolio dedicated to bringing you insights from the frontline of retail trends. This month we’re cooking up something special filled with all kinds of a tasty insights: a look at Kitchen Electrics.

If you’ve ever been guilted into a dinner at your in-laws, you’ve probably heard the line: “Well, you’ve got to eat, right?” The thing is, it isn’t just a great line without a good retort, it’s also, well… true. We all do have to eat. There’s really no way around that. So, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that food-related products are a pretty important part of many retail businesses. But while the need to eat may be universal, what we eat and how we prepare it, isn’t.

Food trends are changing the shape of kitchen electrics – and believe it or not, this is one thing that avocado toast doesn’t really have much to do with. We’re seeing that, across the board in Canada, people are choosing more and more to eat at home. This back-to-the-dining-table movement is based on a few things: Time, Health and Finances – and each one of them has some pretty important ramifications for retail.

Time Starved

People are hungry – both for another delicious snack (we can’t help ourselves, that’s for sure!) and more importantly, for time. Increasingly we are all busier and busier. Just think about the last time you asked a friend how they were. Chances are they said busy, right?

Well, they’re not alone. And they probably also have a new multi-cooker or have tried a food delivery service. The “Cooker” category continues to grow at 10% YOY*, and is the second largest category behind Coffee and Espresso makers.  People have a desire to eat well and eat at home, but they just don’t have the time to prepare dinner after work. Turns out, it’s just as easy as those silly infomercials said it was to get your dinner ready first thing in the morning.

While multi-cookers have grown, they’re not really anything new. Food delivery and subscription services on the other hand, are absolutely disrupting the industry. The growth of these companies points to the same, overarching trend in the entire space: people want to eat good, tasty food at home, but they don’t have the time to go about it in the old way.

When we look at products in the space, it’s important that we consider that consumer mindset. At one time, a labour intensive product like a pasta maker may have been attractive, but when you take another look at it with the lens of our time-starved customer, you get a different sense of what’s going to draw them in at the shelf. You don’t need to look any further than multi-cookers and pod-based coffee makers to see the proof.

You Are What You Eat

Our entire society has become obsessed with health and fitness. We’re eating test tube meat, obsessively doing yoga and sprinkling turmeric on everything. Well, we’re not, if we’re being honest. But everyone else is. Vegan, gluten-free and organic have become mainstream, and the attitudes that have driven that awareness have filtered into our kitchens and the products we use.

You can probably instantly see a bit of a tension. People don’t have time, but they want to eat healthy. Fast food won’t do, but what other option is there? Well, that’s where the retail trends come into play.

We’ve already talked about mutli-cookers, which clearly make healthy eating easier without all the labour (set it and forget, right? 😉). But we’re also seeing a 9% increase in electric grills and griddles*, primarily driven by the adoption of induction heat technology. Both of those products allow consumers to cook their (healthy) food much faster than traditional methods – simply take it off the shelf and get that instant heat going.

Finally, we’re seeing an interesting growth of 44% in home soda machines since last year*. It definitely has less to do with time, and a great deal to do with health. People are increasingly skipping the gas station fountain drink and making their own alternative. We love a good little sugar high with a caffeine kick, but to each their own.

Eating Away Savings

If your in-laws are right, and you do have to eat, then it’s also true that you have to pay for it somewhere along the line. And while there may be no such thing as a free lunch, you can definitely mitigate that cost.

One of the big societal trends behind the retail data is the growing financial desire to cook at home.

It’s definitely more affordable, and consumers are increasingly seeing that when they have access to healthy and fast food at home, there’s really no reason to eat out. Our retail data proves the point, too – overall average sale prices are down across the board. That being said, consumers are still willing to pay when it matters: they’re springing for quality espresso machines and balancing it out by staying out of that morning Starbucks line.

If you’d like to chat about kitchen electrics, retail trends or deep dish pizza, Curve will be at The Inspired Home Show March 14-17th 2020 in Chicago – we will be exhibiting our Westinghouse branded line of houseware products. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Empowered By Insights

Whether it’s mobile charging, gimbals or even just fidget spinners, our Top Trends publication promises to keep you up to date on the next big thing in retail. When it comes to data and insights, we’re what you might call obsessed – and proud of it. Sign up to get updates sent directly to your inbox and check back here for a new Top Trend report every month.

*The NPD Group Retail Tracking Service, 12 Months Ending Jun’19