The future of range cooking

Stoves has conducted one of the largest surveys of range cooker users in recent times to discover more about what’s next for the range cooking sector.

The brand surveyed 1,000 consumers across the UK who had purchased any Range cooker within the last two years to help it identify what customers want from their future appliances and the features and functions they value the most.

Stoves began by asking consumers about the functions on their existing appliances and discovered the most highly rated features in terms of importance were a multifunction oven in one of the cavities, the flexibility of having two or more oven cavities and a separate grill, plus easy clean functionality.

When asked what their current range cooker could do better, the overwhelming response was for it to be ‘faster’, with 52 per cent of respondents looking for speedier cooking. A further 26 per cent wanted their existing appliance to be bigger with larger cooking cavities.

Respondents were united when asked whether connectivity would be important to them when purchasing their next range cooker, with nearly three quarters saying they would be looking for Artificial Intelligence or connectivity capability. When probed on what element of connectivity was most important to them, more than a third (37 per cent) said they would want a range cooker capable of connecting to their smart phones or home assistants, such as Alexa.

The research asked consumers what innovations and functions of their other appliances, such as phones, laptops and virtual assistants, they would like to see applied to range cookers. Proving that good looks never go out of fashion, the joint top result (26 per cent) was the desire for range cookers to be ‘fully customisable’ with removable door covers and graphics allowing consumers to change the look of their appliance at will. Equally popular was the addition of ‘weight recognition’ – borrowing technology from the laundry sector to allow the oven cavity to weigh items such as joints of meat and automatically adjust cooking times and temperatures. This was closely followed (22 per cent) by the desire for speech recognition.

Stoves’ report also provided an interesting insight into the Range Cooker customer demographic. Range cooker owners are getting younger, with the highest proportion being aged between 25-34. And, although range cookers continue to be popular with those with plenty of disposable income, they are no longer the preserve of the affluent, with Stoves’ research finding that the average combined household income of a range cooker owner is now £35k or less.

Demonstrating that British made products continue to have a reputation for quality, Stoves’ research found that more than half (57 per cent) of consumers would prefer to buy a range cooker they know has been made in Britain.

Steve Dickson, Head of Category for Range cooking at Stoves, said: “In the last couple of years we’ve invested heavily in the application of new technology to what has always been quite a traditional sector, including the introduction of Zeus Bluetooth connectivity to our Deluxe range cookers. This research proves that the appetite is there for further innovation and it was designed to give us an insight into what consumers are looking for from us as manufacturers.

“The findings have proven to be extremely thought provoking for us as a business and we hope to apply some of these ideas to future product development. Technology is moving quickly and the expectation amongst consumers seems to be that they want their kitchen appliances to keep up.”