Stay-at-home orders could benefit smart appliance adoption

By Fanny Turlure
Globally, stay-at-home orders have led to many consumers slowing down and spending infinitely more time in their homes than in recent history. As days turned into weeks, and for some of us months, many consumers became overly familiar with their kitchen appliances and more realistic about their cooking skills.
Although the consumer appliance industry is contracting with just about every other market in the economic downturn, the recovery expected in 2021-2025 is predicting a return to 3.5% growth. And since we’re all more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of our existing appliances, some of the more optimistic predictions are suggesting a quicker recovery. This is largely attributed to an increase in replacement and upgrade rates for large appliances, but COVID-19 has caused immediate growth in sales for small appliances like bread makers, air fryers and pressure cookers.

The health crisis has also triggered a greater awareness of environmental issues and climate change. This has translated into the importance of eating locally sourced foods and becoming more self-reliant on farm-to-table resources. In fact, a recent BCG survey reported that 40% of individuals intend to adopt more sustainable behaviors around reducing energy consumption, reducing waste and consideration of food sources.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

In addition to heightened sustainability awareness, COVID-19 exposed critical weaknesses in the food supply chain. Rising costs and empty grocery shelves has caused consumers to become much more frugal around food waste. Cooking and storage monitoring will become more important as consumers strive to make the most of the pantry and fridge items.

As economies open, many consumers remain reluctant to eat outside the home, so it seems that the cooking at home trend is here to stay—and with it an increased demand in smart appliances, connected kitchen, cooking automation and food storage monitoring.

As we outlined in a previous blog post, digital olfaction can deliver a new aspect to the smart appliance that is largely unavailable—alerts and preset actions based on how food smells. These integrated digital olfaction sensors can not only help reduce food waste, they can also help nearly anyone become the next Paul Bocuse.