Taking cues from built-in appliance technology and able to meet the trends for contemporary and classical kitchens, range cooker sales are far from over
While built-in ovens have dominated recent cooking appliance sales, meeting the trends for streamlined silhouettes, concealed and small kitchen spaces, there’s still demand for centrepiece range cookers.
In fact sales of range cookers are growing, as according to commercial director of the Sirius Buying Group Steve Jones “our share apportioned to range cooker sales is up by nearly 8% when compared to the same period in 2018.”
So it’s no surprise product manager of Smeg UK Lucy Dunstan says: “The range cooker market remains an important one for Smeg – it is one of the sectors in which we see some of our most profitable growth.”
And appliance manufacturers have invested in a variety of models from classic and contemporary styling, through to a choice of sizes from 600mm through to 1200mm.
These not only help capture the appetite of the consumer, by meeting an array of project styles, but challenge the dominance of the built-in ovens, particularly in compact spaces.
Classic and contemporary
Hailing from the traditional farmhouse, range cookers were then transformed into contemporary stainless steel models to suit the trend for the ‘professional’ kitchen.
Now, with the concurrent trends for industrial and Classic 2.0 kitchens, it could be argued the beauty of range cookers is they offer the best of both worlds satisfying both project styles.
Fisher & Paykel has recently introduced a classic and contemporary range cooker, as marketing executive for the UK Amanda Alston explains: “During our research phase, it became clear that there were two distinct types of range cookers; a heritage-looking range cooker and an ultra-modern –professional looking range.
“Both styles were important and we took the decision to develop both ideas.”
Brand manager at Beko Gino Grossi explains both classical and contemporary range cookers are peforming well in sales for the Leisure brand: “Our Cookmaster dual fuel cookers are still our most popular type of range cooker.
“This is our classic range cooker, showing that people still desire the traditional range cooker look in their kitchen. However, the gap is rapidly closing as our more modern Cuisinemaster range has seen significant growth in the past two years.”
In fact, he points out the Cuisinemaster Pro is its fastest-growing range cooker.”
However, the trend for built-in ovens has not just been because of their styling but the varied functionality from automatic recipes functions, through to steam and pyrolytic cleaning.
But range cooking has now caught up, with models now offering all these functions.
Head of category for range cooking at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (GDHA) Steve Dickson believes it wasn’t until last year that range cookers began to replicate built-in technologies.
He adds: “Stoves is championing the category by introducing technologies such as Zeus connected timers, ProFlex cavity splitters and the Steam & Infuse vertical cooking system onto range cookers.”
In fact, Rangemaster has recently previewed its Nexus Steam 110 Duel Fuel cooker.
Steve Dickson’s view is reiterated by Laura Gardiner of KitchenEx which sells Ilve range cookers, who adds: “Ilve range cookers have at least the same, if not more cooking options that the most popular built-in ovens.”
She continues: “Our range cookers push the boundaries of cooking. Each of our Ilve models has nine specialised over functions. Included are specialist functions such as the pizza oven, baking oven and the professional rotisserie grill.”
And Amana Alstone of Fisher & Paykel is equally forthright, when she says “Our new top model range cookers come with pyrolutic cleaning, nine oven functions plus rotisserie (including Pastry Bake with pizza mode), full extension, telescopic sliding shelves and a warming drawer.
“So features wise, range cookers are definitely up there and able to compete with built-in oven options.”
And it seems built-in continues to influence the development of the range cooker, as industry experts believe induction hobs will be the next big thing (no pun intended).
Laura Gardiner of KitchenEx says they are the company’s fastest growing range cooker models, as sales are growing consistently.”
And managing director of Bertazzoni UK Maurizio Severgnini says he is finding induction growing in popularity in his company’s sales: “Here at Bertazzoni we’ve noted a huge interest in induction-top range cookers.”
Offering a wider view of the market, commercial director of Sirius Buying Group Steve Jones says the popularity of induction range cookers is reflected across its membership of electrical and kitchen retailers: “So far in 2019, our members are reporting their best-selling range cookers are typically a 1100mm duel fuel option and a 900nn induction range.”
It’s no surprise then Rangemaster has just introduced the Nexus SE 110 Induction range cooker, with a five-zone hob with bridging technology.
But where range cookers still stand head and shoulders above built-in appliances is the sheer size of their cooking capacity.
While built-in ovens can offer up to 75-litres of cooking space, range cookers can nearly double that figure.
For passionate cooks with a love of entertaining, or those with large families, the ability to cook in volume and also the flexibility of using smaller cooking cavities, means the range cooker still has its place in the most up-to-date kitchen project.
Amanda Alston of Fisher & Paykel puts it simply, “built-in ovens can’t compete with the size of a range cooker cavity.
And Laura Gardiner of KitchenEx agrees, explaining: “Ilve range cooker ovens now have up to 97 litres in the 900mm oven, competing with the largest in built-in single ovens.”
Whereas Gino Grossi, Leisure brand manager at Beko, takes it one step further when he adds: “At 600mm, our slimmest range cooker offers spacious double ovens, delivering an impressive total capacity of 100 litres.”
And he further points out, with a 75-litre fan oven, plus tall oven, its 1000mm Cuisinemaster Pro boasts “the biggest main oven capacity in the 1000mm range cooker market.”
Range cookers relevant
Certainly the built-in market is only going to flourish, particularly with the emergence of the connectivity offering voice control, as well as advice through Apps and remote operation.
However, industry experts believe this will not be at the expense of the range cooker.
In fact, the range cooker market has already made its first foray into wi-fi connectivity with Aga Total Control, allowing users to pre-programme the heating of the ovens using an App.
So, it’s not too difficult to believe that range cookers will not be left behind in technology and perhaps may even embrace voice controls coming into the built-in market.
Industry experts will surely agree with Maurizio Severgini who says: “While we predict built-in will continue to grow, we do not believe this will be at the detriment of range cookers.”
While from the outset, built-in ovens may seem to have more solutions to kitchen project challenges, range cookers can match their flexibility from size through to styling and technical innovations.
And on top of this their sheer size can not only offer more capacity but a real presence in the kitchen, providing a centrepoint.
So perhaps it’s about time kitchen designers and retailers really started driving ranges.