The latest news, views and insights in food trends
Food preparation methods have evolved significantly over the years, offering convenience and versatility in the kitchen; appliances like air fryers, slow cookers, and the Wonderbag have become crowd favorites. Let’s look into the world of air fryers and slow cookers, exploring their respective popularity and comparing their sales figures to uncover which method has captured the hearts and kitchens of consumers.
The rise of air fryers
Air fryers are on the rise as a sensation in the culinary world, appealing to health-conscious individuals who crave crispy, fried-like foods with less oil. The technology behind air fryers utilizes hot air circulation to cook food quickly and evenly, resulting in a crunchy exterior while retaining moisture inside.
According to Tastewise data, air fryers witnessed a staggering +605% growth in social discussion over the last year. This remarkable surge in online conversations highlighted the increased fascination and interest among consumers in air frying as a cooking method. The significant YOY growth in social discussion surrounding air fryers signifies their prominence with a large community of enthusiasts eager to reduce their energy consumption through more efficient cooking as well as reduced cooking times. The growth in popularity is made evident by major retail food brands including air fryer cooking instructions on the back of their frozen food products. According to futuremarketinsights.com, the air fryer market is projected to witness significant growth over the next decade, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7%. In 2023, the market is valued at approximately US$ 896.5 million.
The appeal of slow cookers
Slow cookers, also known as crock-pots, have been a staple in kitchens for decades. These countertop appliances are loved for their ability to simmer ingredients over low heat for extended periods, resulting in tender, flavorful dishes that require minimal effort.
While slow cookers may have a longer history than air fryers, and their popularity is still strong, not all is well in the land of the slow cooker. Instant Brands, the maker of Pyrex glassware and Instant Pot, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to inflation and decreased consumer spending. According to recent filings, the company has over $500 million in both assets and liabilities. Sales of electronic multi cooker devices, predominantly Instant Pots, reached $758 million in 2020 but plummeted by 50% to $344 million last year. Market research from the NPD Group reveals a 20% decline in dollar and unit sales compared to the previous year. Instant Brands' struggles have been further exacerbated by lower consumer spending on discretionary categories. S&P Global recently downgraded the company's rating, citing the continuous contraction in sales and depressed consumer demand for home products. While this may give the impression that consumers are not interested in slow cooking or that the demand for recipes is also in decline, Tastewise data shows a wealth of recipe options that show the unwaning demand for tasty meals that are easy to prepare, use fairly inexpensive ingredients, and energy efficient. The benefit of Tastewise data to brands is that it minimizes the risk that those brands would have faced if just one data source was used.
Trending food preparation methods
The implementation of smart kitchen technology continues to shape the way we cook, with appliances and apps designed to streamline and enhance the cooking experience.
Additionally, as consumers lead busier lives and prioritize health-conscious choices, meal prepping offers a proactive solution that aligns with these evolving needs. It empowers individuals to take control of their nutrition by preparing and packaging meals in advance, promoting portion control, balanced eating, and mindful consumption. As dietary preferences diversify and awareness of dietary restrictions grows, meal prepping allows for customization and personalization, catering to specific tastes, allergies, or dietary goals. In a world where culinary trends are shaped by a fusion of convenience, nutrition, and innovation, meal prepping emerges as a practical and forward-thinking approach to healthier and more organized lifestyles. According to a Tastewise report on high protein trends, consumers are looking for meals that are healthy, easy and quick. A notable high-protein ingredient that consumers are turning to is cottage cheese. This is in part due to its versatility, protein-rich character and its ability to be effortlessly blended into other dishes.
These food preparation trends showcase the growing interest in health-conscious, environmentally friendly, and technologically advanced approaches to cooking. Smart kitchen appliances equipped with advanced features and connectivity are gaining traction, enabling users to control and monitor cooking processes remotely. These appliance trends highlight the desire for convenience, health-consciousness, and technology integration in modern food preparation.
In the battle between air fryers and slow cookers, both appliances have their unique appeal and offer distinct benefits to consumers. Air fryers have surged in popularity, driven by their speed and efficiency. On the other hand, slow cookers have stood the test of time, providing convenient, flavorful meals that require little hands-on effort.
While specific sales figures may fluctuate, it is evident that air fryers have experienced substantial growth and captured the attention of consumers worldwide. Slow cookers, however, maintain a dedicated following and continue to be a beloved kitchen companion for a significant market sector.
Ultimately, the choice between air fryers and slow cookers, and other trending food preparation methods depends on individual preferences, dietary needs, and cooking styles. This reinforces the need for businesses to have a multi-dimensional view of custom data. Businesses need to look beyond retail and include home cooking and consumer data in order to truly understand what consumers are doing and looking for in the products they buy. This deep understanding is what allows businesses to capitalize on their knowledge of the market.
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