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MARCH 2018

The Magazine of The Electrical Goods Industry


GOOD HEALTH IN THE KITCHEN You are what you eat, but how you prepare and cook it is equally vital to good health. GC looks at the kitchen appliances that are turning healthy eating from an aspiration to an achievable everyday habit – and opening up healthy opportunities for retailers


COOL PLANET The increasing sophistication of refrigeration technology has put cooling appliances at the heart of energy-saving, eco-consciousness and personal health in the 21st century home. There’s never been a better time for retailers to make cooling cool

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Getting smart in Amsterdam at the ISE show

FROM THE BENCH Alan Bennett explores how calibration of today’s superb quality images and sound can be profitable

Patented removable scale collector available on a wide range of steam irons and high pressure steam generators

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Editorial Comment

06 The Word

In and around the industry


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Editor in Chief: Marlinda Conway Telephone: 01420 886 33

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Magazine Advertising Sales: Brian Shilling Telephone: 01892 677 741

Creative Director: Will Dobson

Sharon Maslen Telephone: 01892 677 742 Editorial & Publishing Director: Terry Heath Telephone: 01420 886 33

Advertisement Production Administration: Will Dobson Telephone: 01342 850 456 Production and Print: Blackmore Press, Shaftesbury, Dorset

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Get Connected is published by Mud Hut Publishing Ltd, Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SB.

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The Product Gallery


Good Health starts in the Kitchen


Trends in healthier eating and the move to fresh, tasty, nutritious ingredients demand preparation and cooking methods that keep up the good work and deliver the taste, texture and health benefits. GC looks at the opportunities today’s appliances offer to boost the nation’s health – and your profits

Cool Planet Refrigeration appliances are taking a starring role in reducing energy consumption and food waste, and preserving the taste, colour, texture and nutritional value of the fresh foods that consumers now want. GC looks at the technologies that are making it happen

25 George Cole Gets Connected Smart devices: do consumers want what we think they want? And is AR making a real difference? George Cole brings some ideas from Amsterdam

26 From the Bench Mud Hut Publishing Ltd. Greyfriar Cottage, Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1SB

Profit from Calibration: Domestic home entertainment creating superb images and sound. Alan Bennett examines the opportunities in making sure it all works to its full potential

MARCH 2018




The Beast from the East may have taken on a rather more sinister and outof-control aspect than just making travel and shopping difficult for a few days, and concerns about personal health and the future of the planet are perhaps wider than we want them to be. Nevertheless, with all that’s going on in the world in the first quarter of 2018 we should, as we always do, continue to focus on what we can do something about, and act as if we really do have a stake in the future – and the responsibility and the means to make it a better one

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our last issue, we took an analytical The point is, there’s no future in competing look at the general health of retail, on volume. Certainly no future for SMEs in and the news and figures coming out of a world where the big beasts of retail are the “golden quarter” – that 3-month period fighting each other on price, and in the process leading up to the festive season when screwing it up for the rest of us. consumers are expected to spend and we Perhaps the way forward is to focus – really hope to get some return for the year’s hard focus – not on the mass market products and work – did not look particularly rosy. appliances that are better served by Declining store footfall, the the Internet and the big boys with lowest sales growth for five the deep pockets, but on the years, and continued brands, the products, the consumer uncertainty – to suppliers distributors and “Everyone’s say the least – about representatives that can heard the old the economic future, as still deliver some margin, saying: “Turnover harsher realisations about still offer something the cost of Brexit begin distinctive and individual is vanity, profit is to be felt, all seem to to customers, still sanity.” And it’s point to a difficult time for need some input and still sound.” retail in 2018. Job cuts and intervention from retail store closures announced expertise, and – maybe by some of retail’s longabove all – creating a supply established high street presences, chain in which your suppliers and whether they impact our own sector distributors understand you’re in it to directly or not, are bad news for bricks-andmake a living, too, and are willing to give you mortar retailers in general: when any high street support in the shape of personal attention, or shopping centre loses stores they become products that suit your business, and, where less attractive, and footfall suffers for everyone. appropriate, a bit of product training and sales What, if any, are the positives? And how support. can they be used to tailor individual retail That’s how the independent electrical retail businesses to be fitter for the future? industry in the UK got started, and One sentence stood out strongly how it prospered. But that from our retail health analysis: kind of understanding and “…it was margin that had support is less apparent the biggest impact on than it used to be. It’s retailers throughout expensive to keep a the final quarter of national team of sales 2017.” Surely this reps in the field, and takes us back to for some brands the basics of any there are easier business? It’s not ways than dealing about selling lots with individual of stuff. It’s about retailers. making a viable profit. It may mean a Everyone’s heard the old radical rethink of the saying: “Turnover is vanity, brands you stock and the profit is sanity.” And it’s still balance of CE, MDA and SKA sound. But sometimes, in the you sell. scramble for sales, it can be But 2018 is, if nothing else, forgotten. a year for radical rethinking.



MARCH 2018

Marlinda Conway Editor in Chief

Terry Heath Editorial & Publishing Director

Will Dobson Creative Director

James McIntosh Consumer Consultant

George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant

Database independently audited by Firgrove Consultancy. Average net 10 issues: 5,927 Mar 2012 – Feb 2013

Of the many acronyms associated with the compliance sector, CSR isn’t an immediately obvious one. But Corporate Social Responsibility is as much at the heart of operations for one PCS as WEEE is.

Recycling Lives’ state-of-the-art fragmentiser – Recycling Lives Compliance Services is the only producer compliance scheme to operate a WEEE fragmentiser

2015-2017, 73 were rehabilitated and supported to move into jobs, while only two reoffended – compared to the national reoffending rate of around 67% this is significant. David Allen, managing director of Recycling Lives Compliance Services, said: “Recycling Lives uses commercial contracts to deliver social impact. We show a business doesn’t have to choose between either offering best price and service or delivering social value – we do both. “We’re proud to work with major national businesses who share our values and can report real CSR from their contracts, simply by managing their waste streams and compliance through RLCS.” One such client is G2S, which says RLCS offers a “dynamic one-stop-shop” on services. Lewis Moore, finance director for G2S Ltd, said: “We were looking for a dynamic WEEE partner who could move at the same pace as we do. RLCS has not disappointed – not only have they taken on all our UK WEEE compliance and waste disposal, they now also look after our packaging obligations. “More recently they are helping us register in various European jurisdictions to ensure G2S remains compliant as we expand overseas.


ecycling Lives Compliance Services (RLCS) is a unique Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS) providing services for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), packaging and batteries compliance, while guaranteeing clients tangible CSR and social impact from their contracts. It ensures its clients meet all regulations while providing cost-saving strategies and market-leading service. Part of the national Recycling Lives Group, its business model sees its commercial services directly sustain and support three charitable programmes. These programmes create training and work opportunities for some of the most marginalised members of society; rehabilitating offenders in prisons, supporting homeless men through a residential charity, and redistributing surplus, quality food to support charitable groups to feed David Allen, managing director of vulnerable groups. Recycling Lives Compliance Services RLCS’s clients include G2S (Russell Hobbs LDA & Floorcare, Abode, Lowry, Digilogic and Holme), Apelson Appliances, Makita, and local authorities nationwide. Each enjoys tangible social value from their partnership with Recycling Lives, created both indirectly through the three charitable programmes, or directly, where waste streams are processed within prisons by offenders within Recycling Lives’ rehabilitation programme, HMP Academies. A significant amount of the WEEE RLCS collects and reports on is processed within the HMP Academies – recycling workshops operational in nine UK prisons, creating opportunities for 200 men and women. While undertaking recycling processes ready for reporting, offenders earn an enhanced wage, undertake training, develop skills and have bespoke support to secure housing and work ready for release. This ensures RLCS’s clients meet strict regulations as well as their own CSR agendas; able to report on the offenders Recycling Lives’ HMP Academies have rehabilitated. Of 75 offenders released from the HMP Academies between

Recycling Lives Compliance Services report on WEEE processed and recycled within HMP Academies - creating work opportunities for offenders, to reduce reoffending rates (posed by model)

“RLCS are a onestop-shop for all our compliance needs.” RLCS offers a complete compliance solution, providing compliance with producer responsibility regulations on all types of electrical and electronic equipment, packaging and batteries. It uses a nationwide network of Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) including that of its parent company, Recycling Lives, which operates a stateof-the-art WEEE fragmentiser, giving complete visibility of WEEE from being recycled to being used by RLCS to satisfy a producer’s obligation. To learn more, visit:

MARCH 2018









onsumer confidence dipped in February amid concerns about personal finances and the general economic situation in the UK. GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index dropped one point to -10, continuing the two-year trend of negative sentiment – the Overall Index Score has bounced between zero and -13 since February 2016. Joe Staton, Head of Experience Innovation UK at GfK, said: “Ongoing concerns about sluggish household income, rising prices paid by consumers in the shops, and the prospect of inflation-busting council tax and interest rate hikes has dented confidence after last month’s surprising rally.” A rebound in levels of optimism added four points to the Index in January, bringing it up from -13 at the end of 2017 to -9. “Despite positive news about upgraded growth forecasts, and the promise of higher wage increases this year, confidence will remain subdued until we feel the positive impact on our purses,” said Staton. “Consumers have good reason to feel jittery and depressed.” Staton added that shoppers continue to rein-in spending, as witnessed by the drop in the Major Purchase Index and the gloomy start to 2018 for many retailers. This Index decreased one point to 0 – five points lower than February 2017. The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months also fell by one point, to +5, while expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months decreased two points to -26 – six points lower than at the same time last year.



lectronics retailer Maplin, which has some 200 stores in the UK and employs 2,300 staff, was placed in administration at the end of February following the failure of talks aimed at securing a solvent sale of the business. Administrator PwC said the business would continue to trade as normal while discussions took place with interested parties in an attempt to find a buyer. But on 8th March, PwC said it had not been possible to secure a buyer for the business, and while it remained open to interest from potential buyers, it had been necessary to make a total of 63 redundancies at Maplin’s head offices in London and Rotherham (55 in London and 8 in Rotherham). Toby Underwood, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “The company is continuing to trade but due to a lack of interest we may be required to initiate a controlled closure programme.”

Commenting on the reason for Maplin’s downfall, Zelf Hussain, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “The challenging conditions in the UK retail sector are well documented. Like many other retailers, Maplin has been hit hard by a slowdown in consumer spending and more expensive imports as the pound has weakened.” But in a tweet following the news of the retailer’s downfall, Patrick O’Brien, UK Research Director at Global Data Retail, offered this view: “People looking for the causes of the demise of Maplin should also look at the 15% interest that its parent co. Rutland Partners charged on loans half of which are secured on Maplin assets. Most recent accounts show EBITDA profit of £2.4m, but interest charge of £13.7m.” PwC’s Underwood said: “We still believe there is strong value in the company and we remain focused on doing all we can to preserve the business while we continue trying to achieve a sale.”

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FEBRUARY FAILS TO DELIVER UPTURN IN NON-FOOD FOOTFALL Retail footfall across the UK failed to pick up during February, with traffic in non-food stores 6.8% lower than the previous year, following a 6.6% year-on-year drop in January.


psos Retail Performance, the global retail and footfall consultant which measures footfall in the non-food store sector, pointed out that this is now the tenth consecutive month of declining year-on-year shopper numbers. The fall in the retail traffic index was again most apparent in South East England and London, with footfall down by 11.4% compared to the same period last year. The Midlands region enjoyed the strongest performance, yet it remained down 4.6%. Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos, said: “The squeeze on consumer revenue remains palpable, making trading increasingly brutal. During February it appears that shopping for essentials continued to be people’s spending priority. “This month New Look has joined the list of retailers looking for rent reductions, planning store closures and considering a CVA. We’ve also seen both Toys “R” Us and Maplin finally hit the buffers in the UK. However, perhaps even more telling, though, is the news that Poundworld is also struggling, despite being at the value end of the sector. This shows that it’s not only the crowded middle market that is struggling now, and though the worst of the economic downturn may be behind us, it is not something that has filtered through to the high street.”




igures published by the BRC showed UK retail sales increased 0.6% on a like-for-like basis in February and, more encouragingly, total sales were up 1.6% against growth of 0.4% in February 2017. But performance in non-food in general was once again said to be “disappointing.” Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG, said it was grocery sales that continued to “pull it out of the bag.”

Over the three months to February, non-food retail sales in the UK fell 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 0.5% on a total basis. However, in-store sales of non-food items declined 2.4% on a total basis and 3.3% on a like-for-like basis. Online sales of non-food products were up 6.4%, against growth of 8.0% in February 2017, but the online penetration rate increased from 20.5% to 21.1% year on year. Chief Executive of the British Retail

Consortium Helen Dickinson said: “Inflation is still eating into shoppers’ budgets, pushing them to spend a greater share of their income on essentials and leaving less left over to buy discretionary, predominantly non-food, retail items. At the same time, weak growth in household earnings is keeping overall sales low. “There’s little sign that consumer confidence, rather than financial reality, has much to do with the current weakness in spending. Furniture, often considered the bellwether of consumer confidence, actually saw sales improve in February as shoppers took advantage of credit facilities offered by retailers. The fact is that consumers want to spend, they just don’t have the resources to do so.” Dickinson added that the upward pressure on prices from the fall in the pound is now starting to subside, so

“The fact is that consumers want to spend, they just don’t have the resources to do so.”

some loosening of the squeeze on spending on non-essentials is expected. “But it’s likely to come slowly,” she said. KPMG’s Martin said retailers experiencing any growth in this environment will be counting themselves lucky. He added that the 1.6% rise in February is “quite an achievement in such testing times.”



taff at the John Lewis Partnership will receive a 5% bonus, down from 6% last year, the retailer said as it reported profit before Partnership Bonus, tax and exceptional items down 21.9% to £289.2m, largely due to lower gross margins at Waitrose. Gross sales at the Group rose 2.0% to £11.60bn. Gross sales at the John Lewis multi-channel business rose 2.2% to £4.84bn, with like-for-like growth of 0.4%. Operating profit before exceptional items was £254.2m, up 4.5%. Electricals & Home Technology sales rose 2.6%, with connected home and wearable technology named as key categories. Voice controlled technology also saw a significant increase. The retailer said it hosted a number of industry-leading launches, including Microsoft Surface Laptop, the HP Spectre Laptop and the Apple iPhone X and secured product exclusives with brands including Dyson, Samsung and LG. It also relaunched its own-brand large electricals range. Commenting on the Group’s results, Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, said: “We said in January 2017 that we were preparing for tougher trading conditions with weakness in Sterling feeding through into cost prices, putting pressure on margin, and much higher exceptional costs as a result of an acceleration of planned changes. This was why we chose to reduce the proportion of profits paid as Partnership Bonus last year so as to absorb these impacts while continuing to invest in the future and in strengthening our balance sheet. We did both and I am pleased to say that despite lower profits, strong cash flow has enabled us to reduce our total net debts.” Looking ahead, Mayfield said the partnership expects trading to be volatile in 2018/19, with continuing economic uncertainty and no letup in competitive intensity. “We therefore anticipate further pressure on profits. However, the Partnership will see benefits this year from the many changes we implemented in 2017/18, and the faster delivery of key innovations. Together these will strengthen our competitive position in 2018.”

Part of the Hughes team at the new Leicester base (left to right): Jamie Deering, Luke Flanders, Karl Jelley, Steve Hunter and Matt Amey



ughes Trade has moved its Leicester operation into new 6,500 sq ft premises on Meridian Park, close to Junction 21 of the M1. With 16 members of staff located at the new premises, the business will service customers in Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, parts of Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire plus newly acquired areas Birmingham, Dudley and Walsall. Hughes Trade general manager Paul Chisnall said: “We have been operating in Leicester for a year now and always knew that to grow we needed much larger premises than we previously had in Boston Road. “The last 12 months have been very successful and we have become accredited by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) which has led to significant new business from the public sector.” The new branch will also be home to Hughes Trade’s commercial arm and a specialist trade counter.

MARCH 2018







annual survey on retail crime has revealed a disturbing rise in violence with injury, with attacks on staff happening at twice the rate of the previous year. The study, released by the British Retail Consortium, shows noticeable improvements in some areas such as fraud, where the cost to retailers

has fallen by nearly £30 million as a result of their significant investment in prevention, but despite that spending, the total direct financial cost of retail crime has climbed to £700 million, a 6% increase from the previous year. Customer theft remains the largest element of this cost, now totalling



study by ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft says half of UK retailers are missing out on major sales opportunities due to a lack of investment in multichannel technology. The study, which analysed 240 of the UK’s leading retailers, revealed that while 98% of brands have a website, there is a shortfall in the number of businesses supporting this with other sales channels, and potentially losing out on millions in revenue as a result. The research showed that, despite four in five shoppers using a retailer’s mobile app, only 51% of brands have invested in this technology. App conversion rates are also around three to four times higher than mobile sites alone, highlighting the importance of this channel.

over £500 million per year, up 15% on the previous results, but the biggest concern comes from the growth in severe violent incidents against staff. BRC members reported that career criminals intentionally use violence and abuse when challenged over stealing. Commenting on the findings, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the BRC, said: “Retail directly employs nearly one in every 10 workers in the UK, and millions more indirectly. Retail already faces its own challenges, with margins shrinking, and against that backdrop the pressures that retail crime exerts are having a stronger impact. That is why we are working to build a new model for co-operation around

tackling retail crime, and encourage decision-makers throughout the country to apply the priority these issues deserve. “In particular, the figures on violence present a deeply concerning picture. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, and our members are completely clear that keeping their staff safe and providing an environment in which they can work free of fear from threats and violence, is their first priority. “Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But they are now spending record amounts on crime prevention, which is a drag on the economic viability of shops and not infinitely sustainable.”

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES INDUSTRY-LED RETAIL SECTOR COUNCIL The Government has created an industry-led Retail Sector Council which will aim to encourage growth and positive change in the industry as it adapts to changing consumer behaviour.

T “The research showed that, despite four in five shoppers using a retailer’s mobile app, only 51% of brands have invested in this technology.”

It was also found that 61% of retailers are neglecting to use marketplace platforms, such as Amazon or eBay, to sell their products and reach a wider customer base. Latest figures show that eBay commands an audience of 170 million shoppers, while Amazon continues to dominate online retail on a global scale. The potential for retailers to take their share of this market is therefore significant. Chris Fletcher, Visualsoft’s head of onboarding, said: “Despite huge growth opportunities for retailers that use multichannel technology, more than half of the UK’s leading brands are failing to invest in these invaluable platforms – a worryingly large figure. “We know that consumer behaviour is changing, with an increasing number of customers starting their purchase journey on Amazon and eBay. Our data shows that mobile devices account for over half of online transactions in the UK, so making it as easy as possible for customers to shop in this way is more important than ever. Retailers need to ensure they maximise sales by making the most of all available marketing tools. This could be particularly important with Easter just around the corner and future spending-holidays in the retail calendar on the horizon throughout 2018.”



MARCH 2018

he initiative was officially launched 7 March 2018 by Retail Minister Andrew Griffiths and Richard Pennycook, Chairman of Fenwick, The Hut Group and Howden Joinery Group. The formation of the Council follows other government action to create “a Britain fit for the future”, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The Council will meet regularly with industry to discuss the challenges the retail sector faces and will review how retailers could best adapt to changing consumer behaviour, the business environment and opportunities such as the development of new technologies to improve customer service, the chance to grow skills through a sector push on high-value training and ways to boost sector productivity and its economic health. Senior management from industry organisations such as the British Retail Consortium and

USDAW, and well-known retailers such as Amazon, the John Lewis Partnership and Boots will sit on the Council. “Together with government” they will provide expert advice to the sector and contribute to its future direction. Richard Pennycook, co-chair of the Council, said: “Retail is one of the largest private sector employers in the country, and the Council will provide strategic oversight of the challenges we are facing by seeking positive change and increased productivity. “We will be working together with industry and government to deliver our vision for the future of retail.”

Designing the technology behind great cookers Visit the website for details on the full cooker range for 2018 or call 01949 862010 to order a trade information pack


KICHENAID KETTLE RECALL AFFECTS UK PRODUCTS W hirlpool UK has issued a product recall on a number of KitchenAid kettles after reports of handles becoming loose. It follows a recall in America involving, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 40,200 sold in the US, 47,300 units in Canada and 1,600 in Mexico. “The handle can loosen and separate from the kettle, causing hot contents to spill, posing a burn hazard,” the US recall notice stated. According to consumer body Which?, 23,138 UK models are affected and the global recall affects more than 310,000 kettles.



harp Home Appliances’ new range of larder, freezer and 70/30 split combi cooling models will be amongst the first of the brand’s products to incorporate noncombustible metal-backed panelling as it moves towards standardising the design throughout its cooling ranges. To highlight the initiative to consumers, Sharp has introduced a logo indicating that products are metal-backed so they are easier to identify as safer and more flame-resistant than plastic-backed alternatives. Product Manager Zoe Thomas said: “This design modification is an important update, considerably reducing the risk of fire spreading at the back of the fridge. Whilst standard PP back-panelling cannot start fridge/freezer fires, there have been legitimate concerns that it does little to contain them. “With our initial introduction of aluminium foil, and now for 2018, metal back-panelling as standard, we’re continuously addressing the issue, acknowledging the importance of regularly reviewing our designs to make them as strong, robust and safe as possible.”

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “Consumers in the UK will be asking why it took Whirlpool so long to inform them about these dangerous kettles, when a formal recall was announced in North America almost a week earlier.” According to Trading Standards, the recall affects

certain serial numbers of the KitchenAid Kettle model 5KEK1722, manufactured between January 2013 and June 2017. The advice to consumers is to stop using the appliance immediately and to contact Whirlpool, which will provide a free replacement.

“GET UNSAFE PRODUCTS OUT OF PEOPLE’S HOMES”, DEMANDS WHICH? Consumer body Which? has written to ministers giving them 90 days to publish an action plan for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards, launched last month.


he move coincides with the “consumer champion’s” publication of figures showing that faulty white goods such as washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers are the cause of more than 60 house fires a week. The new analysis, looking at fire data obtained through Freedom of Information requests, reveals that the number of fires has stayed at a similar level for five years, with malfunctioning kitchen appliances reportedly causing close to 16,000 “potentially deadly fires” across the UK since 1 April 2012. Which? said it believes Government action to keep potentially dangerous goods out of people’s homes falls “woefully short” of what is needed. The organisation said the action plan for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards “must set out both the true scale of the product safety risks that we face in the UK and the immediate steps that the Office will take to avert further devastating fires. The plan must also include the action that the Office will take to remove the remaining one million fire-risk Whirlpool tumble dryers from people’s homes.” The move forms part of Which?’s new

campaign to ‘End Dangerous Products’, which calls for fundamental reform of the UK’s antiquated product safety regime to keep dangerous products out of homes. The data analysis published by Which? shows faulty washing machines and tumble dryers to be the most high-risk appliances, causing more than a third of fires (35%) between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. Other high-risk appliances for the same period include cookers and ovens (11%), dishwashers (10%), fridges, freezers and fridge freezers (8%). The figures also reveal a number of brands that cause concern, including Beko, Hoover, Haier and Whirlpool-owned Hotpoint and Indesit. Which? carried out an extensive analysis of the data, which it has published on its website, but conceded that a number of brands have questioned the reliability of the statistics, pointing to the lack of forensic certainty. The organisation said in a statement: “The fire officer records the most likely cause of the fire in their professional opinion, based on information available to them at the time. The cause is not forensically investigated and it therefore cannot be considered as definitive or certain.”



he Government’s new Office for Product Safety and Standards has teamed up with BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, to launch the first Government-backed Code of Practice (PAS 7100) for product safety recall in the UK. The Code of Practice includes details on how a business can monitor the safety of products and plan for a recall, and how Market Surveillance Authorities such as local authority Trading Standards can support businesses in their monitoring of incidents and their implementation of corrective action. It is the first major initiative for the new Office, which was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in January, and follows a recommendation by the Working Group on Products Recalls and Safety to introduce such a Code to further strengthen the UK’s product safety regime. The Code of Practice was created by the BSI with the assistance of leading retailers, consumer interest groups and industry bodies, including Samsung Electronics, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA), the British Retail Consortium, Electrical Safety First (ESF), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCO) and techUK.



MARCH 2018


BERTAZZONI EXPANDS UK DISTRIBUTION Italian brand Bertazzoni, which established a UK subsidiary in May 2017, has said it is realising its distribution potential, having partnered with several companies in the region.


ardiner Distribution, KA Distribution, KTS (Kitchen Trade Suppliers Ltd), MCD, Sinks & Things and Swift Electrical will be supporting the appliance manufacturer in achieving a greater reach into the kitchen specialist and independent retail sectors. Maurizio Severgnini, managing director at Bertazzoni UK and Eire, said: “Each of our distribution

partners have successful and established networks and forming such a comprehensive, nationwide system was part of Bertazzoni’s strategic plan to achieve good territorial coverage across the UK. “We’re very pleased to be at the stage of announcing our distribution partners just nine months after establishing a UK subsidiary and things are really going to step up a gear in the coming months.”



istributor of technology products Exertis is to hold its second ‘Plug in to Exertis’ channel event on 19th April at Silverstone Circuit. Plug in to Exertis will feature focused areas applicable to business: AV, PC, Print, Components, Enterprise and Mobile; and to consumers: Smart Tech and Networking, Premium Audio & TV, Gadgets & Accessories and Gaming. Each area will host an exhibition space with solutions and products from Exertis’ range of vendors and a seminar programme on selected technology topics delivered by industry specialists.



len Dimplex is instigating the first step in a strategy to deliver growth across its brands with a number of key senior appointments. Ian Greig joins as Chief Operating Officer, Glen Dimplex Consumer Appliances (GDCA) with responsibility for manufacturing and supply chain operations across all brands within the Division. He was previously Group Head of Supply Chain at Britax Group Ltd. Mark Davison, in a move first reported in December 2017, has joined the business in the newly-created position of Managing Director, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (GDHA). He is responsible for “driving the business to deliver its targets and ensure brands under his remit continue to prosper in the digital age.” He was previously Sales and Marketing Director at Aga Rangemaster

Gavin Ferguson

Appliance brand Caple has appointed Gavin Ferguson to the newly created role of national contracts manager. He joins Caple from Smeg, where he worked for nearly ten years, most recently as national contracts manager.

Vicky Philemon joins in the new position of Managing Director, Morphy Richards with responsibility for driving the business to further growth. She was previously Vice President for Consumer Products Group at Black & Decker. Harry Kyriacou is appointed Director, Strategy and Commercial Excellence, and will be responsible for “creating synergies and execution across areas such as commercial policy, digital excellence and international expansion.” He comes from Whirlpool, where he was Category Director, Dishwashing EMEA. Stephen Pilkington is appointed to the position of Finance Director, GDCA, with responsibility for driving the commercial performance of the Division. He joins from O2, where he was Finance Director, Consumer Division.

CE manufacturer HUMAX has announced the appointment of James Sandison as James Sandison national accounts manager, with a brief to manage sales of smart home and connected solutions, supporting national account partners. He will report to sales director Rob Peacock.




ationwide sales agency Big Red Sales is now handling the UK sales for digital audio brand REVO. REVO joins Sennheiser, Vogel’s, Piega, Loewe, Morphy Richards and Dual in the Big Red client stable. The brand had previously handled UK sales internally. REVO’s Commercial Director and joint founder Colin Urie said: “With the increasing growth of our product line-up we realised that we needed to step up our UK sales effort. After Big Red was brought to our attention, one look at their range of premium brands made it obvious that they would bring some serious sales muscle to the table and would be a great fit for us.” The Big Red team will manage sales of REVO’s five-model range, which includes the recently released SuperCD and SuperTone products. Founder of the sales agency John Reddington said: “REVO products fit extremely well with our other prestigious brands and will give our 800-plus retailer base even more opportunity to sell well-engineered and highly desirable products, whilst bringing much needed margin to the bottom line.”

“The new look management team will spearhead a move to a more coherent structure for the business that will enable the Roberts, Morphy Richards and Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (Belling, Britannia, New World, Stoves and Lec) businesses to operate more collaboratively,” said GDCA. GDCA Chief Executive Andy Griffiths will work closely with the management team, taking added responsibility for Glen Dimplex Ireland and Glen Dimplex Europe as he continues to streamline and grow the business internationally.

West Yorkshirebased JP Distribution has announced the appointment of Graham Bucktrout as Managing Director, effective 1st May 2018. He succeeds Tony Oates, who last November announced he would retire from the business in spring 2018.

MARCH 2018

Graham Bucktrout








anufacturers of smart devices such as televisions, toys and speakers found in millions of homes will be expected to integrate tough new security measures that last the lifetime of the product as part of Government plans to keep the nation safe from the increasing risk of cyber threats. The initiative is a key part of the Government’s five-year £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy, which aims to make the UK “the most secure place in the world to live and do business online.” Estimates show every household in the UK owns at least 10 internet connected devices and this is expected to increase to 15 devices by 2020, meaning there may be more than 420 million in use across the country within three years. Poorly secured devices threaten individuals’ online security, privacy, safety, and could be exploited as part of large-scale cyberattacks. Recent high-profile breaches putting people’s

data and security at risk include attacks on smart watches, CCTV cameras and children’s dolls. Developed in collaboration with manufacturers, retailers and the National Cyber Security Centre, the Government’s Security by Design review lays out plans to embed security in the design process rather than bolt it on as an afterthought. The Government will work with industry to implement “a rigorous new Code Of Practice” to improve the cyber security of consumer internet-connected devices and associated services, while continuing to encourage innovation in new technologies. Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “This will help ensure that we have the right rules and frameworks in place to protect individuals and that the UK continues to be a world-leading, innovation-friendly digital economy.” The Security by Design review outlines practical steps for manufacturers, service providers and developers. This will encourage firms to make sure:

 All passwords on new devices and products are unique and not resettable to a factory default, such as ‘admin’  They have a vulnerability policy and public point of contact so security researchers and others can report issues immediately and they are quickly acted upon  Sensitive data which is transmitted over apps or products is encrypted  Software is automatically updated and there is clear guidance on updates to customers  It is easy for consumers to delete personal data on devices and products  Installation and maintenance of devices is easy

SHORTCUTS Producers and producer responsibility organisations have teamed up to create “Information for Recyclers – I4R”, a one-stop platform aimed at providing a range of information and guidance on how to handle hazardous substances in electronic waste: Staffordshire-based housewares and electricals distributor RKW has become an approved supplier for small domestic appliances to the Sirius buying group. Sirius Buying Group has elected domestic appliance group CDA as an Approved Supplier. The CDA Group brings the Amica, Matrix and CDA brands to Sirius. Whirlpool Corporation has been recognised as a leading employer in the UK and Europe by the Top Employers Institute, an organisation which certifies employers who create excellent conditions for their workforce. German TV and audio brand Loewe has appointed Pulse Cinemas as its exclusive distributor for the custom install channel.



MARCH 2018

Electrical Safety First has opened applications for its Safety Innovation Award and is inviting applications from businesses that have developed an innovative product or project that has, or will, make a difference to improve consumer safety. The closing date for entries is 27th April 2018.

Alongside these measures for IoT manufacturers, the report proposes developing a product labelling scheme so consumers are aware of a product’s security features at the point of purchase. The Government said it will work closely with retailers and consumer organisations to provide advice and support. Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “Companies must ensure that the safety of their customers is the absolute priority when smart products are designed. If strong security standards are not already in place when these products hit the shelves, then they should not be sold.”



iss-based distributor Midwich has launched a new leasing service which expands the Group’s existing range of financial services available to customers. The new service, branded ‘Dedicated Leasing Service’, will offer customers competitive rates for lease and hire purchases across Midwich’s spectrum of Document Solutions and Audio Visual product portfolios. To support the service, the distributor has selected five trusted finance providers with both industry and technical knowledge. The service will assist customers in providing leading technologies across markets such as retail, higher education and corporate, as leasing is becoming increasingly attractive to those wanting to accelerate the acquisition of new technologies, opting for regular fixed repayments.





uying group Sirius will hold a member convention on the first day of this year’s Exclusively Electrical & Exclusively Housewares shows in London, a decision which has led the show organisers, Brooke House Exhibitions, to expect many new retailers of small domestic appliances to be drawn to the 2018 events. Steve Jones, Sirius Commercial Director, said: “Due to the success of Exclusively Electrical over the past few years, we feel it presents a great environment for our members to see what SDA and housewares are available to them.” Exclusively Electrical & Exclusively Housewares will be held 12 – 13 June at the Business Design Centre, London. The Sirius event will be staged on the Atrium level of the Gallery Hall above the Exclusively Electrical show.


is mounting a high-profile digital media campaign designed to educate consumers on the need to protect their steam irons and steam generators against limescale build-up. JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST LIMESCALE is accompanied by an Anti-Scale landing page which brings together key assets with detailed product information and ‘where to buy’ links.

Whirlpool is running a consumer cash-back promotion offering up to £150 cash back on a range of cooking, cooling, laundry and dishwashing appliances. It runs until 29th May 2018.

Hoover has become the new sponsor of ITV’s James Martin's



istributor PJH has invested in its national transport fleet with the aim of improving vehicle efficiencies and service levels, and significantly boosting the availability of its Next-Day Delivery Service. The initial investment has seen the addition of 63 new vehicles for PJH’s Cannock and Manchester depots, spanning a range of models.



lectrolux brand AEG has launched an app designed to support kitchen installation professionals. It is suitable both for Apple and Android mobile phones and allows installers to scan or search a range of AEG kitchen appliances to find the correct and quickest way of installing them. Supporting assets include: Installation videos, Installation drawings, User manuals, Technical specifications.



ational sales agency Big Red Sales has presented Jeff Griffiths with an Audi TT coupe in recognition of his salesmanship in winning the firm’s Sales Agent of the Year competition. Griffiths, who is in his second year with Big Red, beat his 10 colleagues to the top prize in a sales-based contest which ran throughout 2017.

Saturday Morning show, in a deal that will run until the end of the series in June.


is extending and expanding its sponsorship agreement with FC Barcelona, and Barca central defender Gerard Piqué becomes a global ambassador for the brand’s ‘Eat Like a Pro’ initiative which aims to tackle child obesity. Beko is now established as a main partner of the club and takes on the official title of FC Barcelona’s official Training Partner.

Smeg UK

has announced a retail promotion offering a stand mixer (model ref: SMF01, worth £349.95) with purchases of its range cookers. The promotion runs until 31st May 2018.


Community Kitchens campaign, a competition which the British cooking brand has been running successfully since 2015, has reopened for entries. The £10,000 campaign offers community kitchen projects, charities and organisations the chance to win kitchen appliances to support their work.

LG Electronics, Official Partner of The FA, has joined with the National Schools Partnership (NSP) to launch the nationwide LG TWINWASH™ Football Challenge for children under the age of 16.


has announced that Timbercroft Primary School in Plumstead, London and Shawhead Primary School in Shawhead, Dumfries (pictured), were the winners of its first Cookery Club competition. Each school was presented with £2,000 worth of cooking appliances.

MARCH 2018




In-wall addition to KEF REFERENCE speaker family KEF’s in-wall Ci5160REF-THX, which the company says is “setting a new standard for custom installation speaker design”, like all KEF’s REFERENCE range, comes with the REFERENCE Build Certificate signed by the craftsman who built it. It also meets KEF’s ‘Extreme Theatre’ standard, as well as having THX Ultra certification. The Ci5160REF-THX holds a suggested retail price of £7,500.

Sony XF90 Series 4K HDR TV Sony’s 55-, 65- and 75-inch XF90 4K HDR TVs, introduced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, are now available to authorised retailers across Europe. The XF90 Series features the 4K HDR Processor X1™ Extreme, Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range™ PRO 6x technology, and the brand’s newest technology, X-Motion Clarity™, which helps keep fast action smooth and clear.

MOT912 Motus wall hood from Caple Caple has added this eye-catching black glass and stainless steel wall-mounted chimney hood to its collection. The 90cm MOT912 Motus, which can be fitted with an optional stainless steel flue, has four speed levels with a maximum extraction rate of 757m3/h and a maximum sound level of 62dB. A 10W LED strip-light enhances the design and provides task lighting.

Magico launches its “most affordable” loudspeaker for UK The new Magico A3’s features include a fully braced and anodised aircraft-grade aluminium enclosure with carbon Nanographene cones, a beryllium tweeter and Magico’s elliptical crossover network. UK RRP £11,998 per pair.

020 8971 3909 |



MARCH 2018


De Dietrich induction hob offers extended range of cooking methods The latest addition to the De Dietrich cooking collection is the horizon zoneless induction hob with ‘HoriZone Play’, a feature that accommodates a choice of accessories that sit securely on rails connected to the hob and can be slid across its surface as required during cooking. A wooden chopping board is supplied with the appliance and a grill and plancha come at an additional cost. The appliance is available in 90cm, 80cm and 65cm widths. |

Dualit’s Domus range promises “the perfect tea and toast” Dualit’s Seymourpowell-designed Domus kettle and toaster range, available in black or porcelain-coloured finishes, incorporates 2- and 4-slice toasters with Dualit’s Perfect Toast Technology for quick and even browning, and a 1.5-litre kettle with the brand’s patented Sure Pour – a feature which puts less pressure on users’ wrists and reduces the amount of water wasted through dripping.

Teka WISH cooking line

New builtin hobs from Blomberg A new range of built-in hobs from Beko’s Blomberg brand, exclusively available to kitchen specialists and Euronics agents, incorporates an 80cm induction model and a 75cm gas-on-glass model. The gas-on-glass hob (pictured) features high-efficiency gas burners which provide time-savings of up to 35%. The appliance fits into a 60cm cut-out. 01923 818 121

German brand Teka’s new cooking line, Teka WISH, incorporates the features and benefits of upmarket brands, but at a significantly more competitive price point. Included in the range are ovens, compacts, hobs and hoods in a co-ordinated finish with stainlesssteel trim, so the ovens and compacts are ideal for use in bank-style installations. 800 8 77 88 99

ESSE stove offers “plug & play” convenience The new ESSE Vector requires no installation or maintenance and can be used in any room with a 13amp socket. Unlike a fan heater, it is silent and draught-free. A single top-mounted dial switches the power on or off and varies the temperature. It is available in a graphite finish, fabricated from premium grade extruded sheet aluminium, and provides both radiant and convective heat.

MARCH 2018




What a pickle… Consumers seem to have the will to lead a healthier lifestyle, but evidence shows they need help – an opportunity that electrical retailers can embrace. GC reports


hen a friend informs you they breakfasted on a smoothie containing raw broccoli, spinach, kale, banana, mango, coconut milk, olive oil, wheatgrass, spirulina, maca, ginger and, the Peruvian-labelled “Gold of the Incas”, lucama, you know they’ve succumbed to some sort of freaky health regime. But, predictably, after the season of overindulgence, and with the promise of spring ahead, the turn of the year triggers a new purpose in life for even the sloth-like amongst us. It’s time to get fitter, healthier and trimmer. The UK is a nation obsessed with food. At some time in our lives the vast

majority of us will follow some type of health regime, whether it be vegan, vegetarian, low fat, low calorie, low carb, or some sort of eating plan concocted by those who claim to be food & nutrition experts. According to a survey by insurance firm Aviva, 41% of men and 64% of women have dieted in the last year. The same study also showed that nearly half of UK adults have tried to increase the amount of fruit and veg they eat, while 46% have tried to cut down on sugar and 27% to limit fatty foods. But a lack of time and cooking skills may be hindering the nation’s progress in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Almost a third of people said they would

“Cooking from scratch is gaining ground as a commonsense approach to a healthier lifestyle”



MARCH 2018

not be comfortable cooking a complete meal without a recipe, 19% of UK adults admitted they don’t know how to boil an egg, and 37% of people are “too busy” to prepare healthy meals. What a pickle!

INDUSTRY EFFORT Juggling the demands of everyday modern life can be a tall order for many individuals. Work, family, friends and financial constraints – 67% of people said they find healthier food more expensive – mean keeping numerous balls in the air, and this is where today’s kitchen appliances can play a big part. “Health and fitness is something that we, as an industry, should be working to promote, for the benefit of all consumers,” states Bertazzoni UK & Eire managing director Maurizio Severgnini. “As many people say, good health starts in the kitchen, and as a kitchen


Hoover Vision oven with in-cavity camera and interactive touch-screen on door

appliance manufacturer it’s important that we’re supporting healthy eating and showcasing how to prepare healthy food.” Severgnini believes that, as consumers become more health conscious, their purchase considerations will change to incorporate appliances and technology that help them stay hale and hearty. “Retailers need to be aware of this, prepare for these changing expectations and know how to market the products accordingly,” he asserts. “This trend of healthy cooking in the home is something that is only predicted to increase. The impact of this on the market will be that, as people become more experimental with the fresh foods they prepare, they will be looking for multifunction ovens that can offer them everything they need in one well-designed unit.” The “huge” consumer interest in health and fitness is “certainly a trend” and something retailers need to be aware of, believes Gorenje UK product manager Richard Mackey, but he advocates the wisdom of ascertaining if it’s something the customer is interested in before using it as a conversation-starter or deal-closer. “But if they are,” he says, “pointing out the relevant features of appliances on the shop floor is a great way to upsell. Steam ovens, or multifunction ovens with steam functionality, are great for consumers that may lack confidence in the kitchen but are looking for healthier cooking methods.” Mackey adds that Gorenje has noted increased interest in steam ovens, and also in technology that can help keep fruit fresher for longer. “Features like this certainly shouldn’t be overlooked as they can really help when it comes to those doing a weekly shop and who need to ensure fresh produce makes it to – if not beyond – the use-by date.”

everyday task, and one which may well remain depressed if millennials don’t bite the bullet and get some practice in. According to a survey by the Co-op, 27% of this age-group are simply not interested learning how to cook. Bazeley cites another potential issue that retailers should think about, and it is that of the UK’s increasingly ageing population. For many older consumers, she believes, “simplicity and ease of use are critical.” And she rightly points out that this is another opportunity for appliance sellers. “A number of cooking appliances now benefit from automatic programmes and, specifically with built-in ovens, recipe-function benefits, giving consumers that aspire to be confident, healthy cooks the chance to try a range of different recipes and broaden their culinary skills.” Such features may also benefit the aforementioned unenthusiastic millennials.

“The great advantage of steam cooking is that it is the passport to a healthy future”

Tefal’s ActiFry XL low-oil fryer

CAN’T COOK, WON’T COOK? There are those who can cook and those who can’t, and for all the talk about healthy lifestyles and British consumers’ love of cooking, there are also those that have no immediate intention of turning their hand to the skill. Indesit Brand Manager Sara Bazeley quotes research showing that only 22% of consumers feel they have “great knowledge of” and “experience with” food and cooking, a figure which is surprisingly low given that we’re looking at an

Tower T12031 1.6L Soup Maker With a generous 1.6-litre capacity, this soup maker is a quick and easy way to prepare hearty meals for the whole family. The stainless steel blade and powerful 1000W heater both blend and heat users’ ingredients, allowing them to easily achieve both smooth and chunky textures, while the intelligent control system helps ensure safety when creating great-tasting soups. Powerful, efficient and sturdily built, this soup maker can also be used to make smoothies or purees and is a great way to eat healthy without compromising on flavour!

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MARCH 2018




Steam combination cooking. Tasty, healthy and nutritional. So your customers no longer have to waste time in deciding between traditional and steam cooking, the new De Dietrich Combi Steam Oven offers both Multifunction Plus and Combi Steam options using technology inspired by professional chefs. De Dietrich’s steam cooking process does not require any special installation and offers two cooking applications: Steam Expert Mode and Culinary Guide with over 100 pre-programmed recipes including 38 for Combi Steam cooking. All De Dietrich appliances come with a comprehensive free 3-year parts and labour warranty and are available from AB Distributors.

0845 600 3310 |

TREND-WATCHING If the supermarkets can capitalise on healthy lifestyle trends then electrical retailers can too. The supermarket close to where Get Connected is based was quick to turn its ‘event’ aisle into a health zone before the New Year dawned, with an assortment of small appliances such as blenders, grills, steamers and choppers – anything that could be perceived to aid those embarking upon a new health regime – accompanying the sportswear that replaced the

“Health & fitness is something electrical retailers would be well advised to actively promote in-store”

focusing on appliances that deliver “genuine” healthy eating benefits. “Low-oil fryers provide a major sales opportunity,” he adds.


Beko’s Starkey maintains that consumers are not only engaging with the concept of a healthy lifestyle but encouraging others to do so too. This is evidenced by his reference to the “huge” involvement of social media. “At the time of writing, #healthyeating has over 21 million posts on Instagram,” he affirms. “Consumers want to actively promote their healthy eating and cooking habits and, in turn, appliances with healthy cooking capabilities have become more sought after.” Numerous cooking programmes, blogs and campaigning by celebrity chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, the latter of whom regularly commands media airtime and column inches, have made a perceptible impact on the consumer psyche. As a result, the idea of “cooking from scratch” is gaining ground as a common-sense approach to a healthier lifestyle.

Weight Watchers Cook healthy food without compromising on delicious taste, thanks to the Weight Watchers range of kitchen electricals. From air fryers to health grills, the range is filled with products to make healthy eating simple, straightforward and fun! With easy-to-follow instructions and SmartPoint recipes included, cooking great-tasting home-cooked food has never been easier. Whether creating nutritious meals for the whole family, or healthy alternatives to traditional snacks, the Weight Watchers range includes something for every health-conscious consumer to enjoy using. 60cm induction hob from Indesit Aria collection

Christmas jumpers. And it will do so again post-Easter, this time with the aim of targeting the body-conscious, for whom the prospect of looking like a beached whale on some far-flung golden sands looms large on the horizon as the summer holiday season approaches. The return of the small appliances on this occasion being accompanied by beachwear and refreshed ranges of sportswear. For electrical retailers, Iain Starkey, Senior Marketing Manager at Beko, offers this advice: “Consider refreshing your displays to make your collection of blenders and choppers really appealing to those looking for food preparation gadgets to help them achieve their healthy eating goals. Whether it’s protein shakes, egg white omelettes or a power smoothie, people are increasingly looking to prepare healthy meals at home.” Commenting on the contribution of small kitchen appliances in helping consumers to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Dominik Pytel, Marketing Director at Groupe SEB UK, maintains health & fitness is something electrical retailers would be well advised to actively promote in-store,



MARCH 2018

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Tower T17005 3.2L Air Fryer Requiring little to no oil and holding up to five portions in its generous 3.2-litre capacity, this 1350W air fryer is ideal for both everyday family meals and dinner parties. The innovative rapid air-circulation combined with a powerful 1350W provides results in next to no time, and the adjustable temperature control, ranging from 80-200 degrees, helps cook a variety of ingredients to perfection. The 30-minute timer offers accuracy when cooking, while the easy-clean body and dishwasher-safe parts make this air fryer ideal for fast, convenient and top-quality cooking.

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Jennifer Taylor, Head of Brand at Hotpoint, for whom Oliver is brand ambassador, says research has concluded that consumers are more likely to follow health claims and trends when they are endorsed, and along with the celebrity chef, Hotpoint wants to help people discover that cooking from scratch is “fun, quick and good” for all of the family. “Education is certainly a key driver for making consumers aware of the quality and nutritional content of foodstuffs,” Taylor adds. “TV programmes are indeed partly responsible, with research finding that 22% of under 35s agree that watching TV food shows inspires them to cook.”

STEAMING ON… Taylor believes many consumers are now waking up to the serious health implications of obesity and are adopting alternative cooking methods to promote a healthier lifestyle. “These alternative cooking methods include steam cooking, which is an integral method in providing healthy and delicious meals.” “Steam ovens, or ovens that have a steam cooking feature, are a great talking point as steam cooking certain foods is an alternative, healthier way to prepare meals and there’s often no need for fat or oil. Explaining this to a health-conscious customer can have a real impact on purchasing decisions and subsequently, loyalty to the retailer,” says Daniel Dewey, product manager, built-in appliances, Hoover Candy UK. “The great advantage of steam cooking is that it is the passport to a healthy future, as well as one of the tastiest and healthiest cooking methods around,” asserts Catherine Balderson, Brand Manager for Whirlpool. “The nutritional and taste benefits of steam make it an attractive alternative to conventional cooking and, with the introduction of combination ovens, provides impressive functionality, allowing for crisp and brown results. “Steam cooking is here to stay, with a steady and increasing following. This is seen both in the development and profusion of compact built-in oven formats with steam, microwave and hot air combinations.”

“If the supermarkets can capitalise on healthy lifestyle trends then electrical retailers can too”


Hotpoint Class 9 combination steam oven (MS 998 IX H)



MARCH 2018

Caple product manager Luke Shipway says his brand has found that steam oven sales have risen as consumers have become more aware of the health benefits of the cooking method, and wok cooking has also become increasingly popular, he adds, stating that “it is ideal for creating a variety of healthier dishes and this has led to demand for gas and induction hobs that incorporate a wok burner.” Hoover Candy’s Dewey says an increased interest in sous vide is expected. “Like steam cooking, it’s a fast and healthy method that involves precise temperature control and cooking vacuum- or bag-sealed food in a water bath. Generally speaking, sous vide is considered a premium food preparation method, so is more likely to be sought out by consumers looking for quality appliances.” Smart appliances, specifically ovens, have the most potential for increasing consumer confidence in the kitchen, Dewey believes, “because the functionality can help educate consumers on how to cook certain dishes.” He cites as an example the ability of products to connect direct to food bloggers’ websites and to provide guided video tutorials. “Because of technology like this we expect smart and connected cooking appliances to make up a significant proportion of sales in 2018, influenced, of course, by the features they have that allow consumers to try new dishes and cooking methods.”

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Crisp fruit and fresh veg: The cool way to eat healthy

Last month’s “Sustainable Planet” feature looked at the ways in which the whole range of domestic electrical appliances are contributing to sustainability through engineering for efficiency: using less energy, consuming fewer resources and reducing pollutants. The manufacturers we spoke to were justly proud of their technological achievements, and most identified refrigeration appliances – for so long the essential but unglamorous, unsung workhorses of the UK kitchen – as central players in the domestic sustainability drive


efrigeration was for many years a modest, unspectacular presence in the modern kitchen. It was the white box that performed its essential function, day in and day out, without a great deal of notice or recognition. That began to change when bigger capacities, flexible storage options and more imaginative aesthetics established its credentials as an important element in changing shopping and eating habits, and also as a powerful “statement piece” and style enhancer in kitchens, and in the open-plan cooking, eating and living areas of modern homes. That progression from modest background artist to leading player has been massively boosted by the rapid acceleration in consumers’



MARCH 2018

concerns about energy costs, pollution, food waste and wasted resources. So much so that the majority of MDA manufacturers we spoke to nationally and internationally see refrigeration appliances as an important focus in the current and future progression towards sustainability.

WHY COOLING IS COOL Why are refrigerators, freezers, fridge/freezers and, increasingly, wine cooler/conditioners, so much of an opportunity in the eco-conscious era? Firstly, temperature-controlled storage is seen as an essential in all UK homes, so every household is in the market and every householder is a potential purchaser. Added to that huge market potential, manufacturers agree it’s because refrigeration products have

the potential to make a difference in so many areas of green concern. GC distilled what manufacturers identified as the important points:

 ENERGY SAVING: Energy prices are rising, and as one of the few appliances that is on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, energy-efficient cooling is a prime opportunity for domestic savings  CAPACITY: Shopping habits have changed: more individuals and families do fewer, bulkier shops and need bigger, more versatile storage capacity  FOOD WASTE: Food waste is at epidemic proportions, with UK households throwing away 7.3 million tonnes of food and drink annually (WRAP figures), and anything that can be done


Big capacity and versatile options from Caple

to reduce this has huge benefits both for the environment and for household food bills

 HEALTHY EATING: Health consciousness and the high interest in home cooking with fresh ingredients means more fresh fruit and vegetables and unprocessed meat and fish - all needing different storage conditions to maintain their nutritional value, taste, texture and colour  LIFESTYLE: Lifestyle has an aesthetic and social dimension too, and open-plan living, smaller homes, stylish design and décor statements are all prevailing trends, with modern cooling necessarily being a part of them  PLASTIC POLLUTION: Single-use plastic is a modern scourge. In-door chilled, filtered water dispensers have the potential to cut plastic bottle usage with immediate, significant benefits for the environment (and make even more room in the fridge) 21st Century cooling and refrigeration technology – to the credit of manufacturers who have anticipated and addressed the trends – has convincing answers to all these concerns, and they and their retail partners have opportunities to present them to a range of potential customers in powerful, focused ways. As Stuart Netscher, head of category for refrigeration at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, says: “While it is true that many cooling sales are counted as a distress purchase, there are many ways to up-sell in this market and the key is to convince consumers that the added benefits you are offering will make a difference in their lives.”

FREEZING ENERGY COSTS With an “always on” appliance, energy consumption is going to be an important factor. Caple’s product manager, Luke Shipway, points out that “older, less energy efficient cooling appliances can use up to 25% of a household electricity bill,” and that “energy efficiency [is] playing a much bigger part in the buying decision than ever before.” He adds that consumers are more aware of ratings, and are looking for models with an energy rating of A or higher. LG head of UK marketing Carolyn Anderson concurs, saying consumers “place the efficiency of an appliance as a key priority. Ideally products should have an energy rating of A+ or above.”

Amrit Kahler, refrigeration product manager at Beko, says consumer interest in energy saving is evident in sales patterns: “Sales of cooling appliances with a rating of A++ or better are up 3% (GfK 2016 vs 2017).” And AEG product manager for food preservation Michael Hockney points out that the top-of-the-range CustomFlex fridge/freezer has an A+++-20% rating, making it 20% more efficient than an A+++ fridge. In common with these brands, most manufacturers we spoke to are offering cooling appliances with A, A+, A++ and A+++ energy ratings, plus further refinements such as “holiday/ vacation mode”, “eco mode”, door-in-door features to reduce loss of cold air and separately controllable temperature zones. Smeg, well known for its iconic 50s “retro” styles, but with a current 189 refrigeration models available, provides a range of energysaving technologies but is also keen to ensure consumers get basic advice on energy economy, which retailers should offer whenever appropriate. Simple but important advice such as: Keep frequency and duration of door opening to a minimum to conserve cold air; clean the condenser at the rear of the appliance periodically for peak efficiency; defrost frozen food in the refrigerator compartment to make use of the cold stored in frozen foods; avoid putting hot foods in the fridge so it doesn’t have to work harder to bring the temperature down. It’s basic stuff, but there is no point in getting the most energy-efficient appliance then working against it as it’s used in the home.

LESS WASTE, MORE TASTE It’s obvious that the basic function of refrigeration appliances is to extend the safe life of food and drink. But it may not be obvious to some consumers – especially those who haven’t bought a new appliance in the past ten years or so – that this basic function has now advanced far beyond keeping the milk from going off and the butter from melting in hot weather. Not only has shopping become a weekly – or even monthly – in-bulk task rather than an everyday quest for what’s for dinner tonight, but the accent on health, nutrition, fresh ingredients and more adventurous cooking means it’s no longer acceptable for the lettuce to liquefy, the fruit to go soft, the meat and fish to lose texture and flavour, and the vitamins to fade after a few days in the fridge. Modern cooling is about capacity – and that now means adaptable, versatile capacity – plus creation of not just cool but humiditycontrolled, foodstuffspecific, temperature-zoned environments where what we eat can keep its freshness, texture, taste and nutritional value for weeks or months.

Fish, Veg and dairy zoned for longer freshness from GDHA

There’s never been a better time to tell customers what modern cooling technology can do. “As there’s more of a focus on healthy eating and cooking at home,” says Bertazzoni UK & Eire manging director Maurizio Severgnini, “consumers will be looking for larger format refrigerators. However, it’s not just about the physical size of the unit. It’s also about the practicality of the internal layout. Fridges that offer adjustable or foldable shelves allow users the flexibility to organise their fridge to perfectly suit their needs.”

LG Signature with storage options for modern living

MARCH 2018



COOL PLANET Whirlpool’s Grand Side by Side

Catherine Balderson, Whirlpool brand manager, notes a “demand for larger-capacity refrigeration appliances to accommodate less frequent but more bulky grocery purchases,” but at the same time, she says, “increased housing prices and faster growth of smaller households are driving the demand for more compact designs.” She advocates solutions such as side-by-side freestanding pairings of fridge and freezer, that provide “advanced space management” and offer more overall storage than the traditional side-by-side fridge/freezer.

WHATEVER YOU WANT “In the age of complete customisation,” says AEG’s Michael Hockney, “people are looking to tailor every product to their specific requirements.” He cites AEG’s CustomFlex fridge/ freezer, which, has customisable compartments, plus the TwinTech cooling system, “ensuring produce is stored at the optimum temperature with

for longer as this means the fridge and freezer temperatures are independently controlled.” He adds that “super freeze and cool functions enable food to reach optimum temperature fast, which also help it to last longer.” GDHA’s Stuart Netzcher emphasises: “It is important that retailers really understand the demands of the family home and get to know the individual requirements of the customer – if you know they are shopping for a large, possibly multi-generational household it makes it easier to upsell to a larger, potentially more expensive appliance. For example,” he adds, “explaining that a Total No Frost appliance genuinely helps with food preservation and that paying a little extra for a quieter fridge/freezer will be a bonus in openplan living.” Smeg, as well as offering multi-zone customisable storage for optimum freshness, also mentions a further technological advance in fresh food storage: “Natural Plus BLU light is perfect for helping to prolong the life of fruit and veg, something customers do increasingly ask for.”


KitchenAid: The bold statement piece is a lifestyle choice

the correct humidity levels, meaning fruit and vegetables stay crisp and fresher for longer.” The LongFresh fridge also has a Zero degrees compartment specifically to keep meat and fish looking and tasting good for longer. Whirlpool’s cooling ranges also feature Activ0° compartment, “which maintains the ideal environment for storing meat and fish at approximately 0°C, ensuring food stays fresher for longer, conserving its appearance, texture and nutritional properties. Should extended space be required,” says Catherine Balderson, “this compartment can be converted to standard refrigeration temperature at any time.” Whirlpool also offers SENSE FreshControl technology, to “ensure fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables, as well as meat, fish and dairy products, stay fresh for up to four times longer.” Beko’s EverFresh+ technology claims to “keep vegetables crunchy and fresh for up to 30 days.” Caple’s Luke Shipway says “a fully air-cooled double refrigeration cycle will keep food fresh



MARCH 2018

Cooling has also benefited from advances in smart technology and the connected home. Steve Macdonald, marketing director of freestanding, Hoover Candy UK, where the Wizard family of smart appliances was developed, says “technological advancements including Wi-Fi connection have led to new ways to improve the overall energy efficiency of an appliance,” citing consumption monitoring via an app and control functions such as holiday mode. And GDHA’s Stuart Netscher, advises that “technology remains a key driver within the cooling market with Total No Frost products, external electronic control and connected appliances growing in prominence.” Clearly, the control and monitoring of refrigeration appliances as part of a connected home is growing in importance, and many manufacturers have developed, and are developing, ways to integrate cooling into the new generation of connected homes.

Classic French Door design from Fisher & Paykel The RF540ADUX4 from Fisher & Paykel is still one of the best-selling French-door fridge freezers in the UK. The classic design line and clever features such as the slim line water dispenser make this a real family favourite. The slimline water dispenser makes it easy to fill almost any sized jug or vessel with cool filtered water as the water comes out at an angle. There’s no container in the door either, so you still have full storage space in the doors.

GETTING THE MESSAGE The cool story may be convincing, but there are still myths that have to be confronted. It is, for example, rather discouraging to see a recent “lifestyle” column in a national newspaper with the headline: “There’s no point putting fruit in the fridge, just stop buying it”. The writer may have been playing it for laughs, but the erroneous arguments were there: advice to put fruit in the fridge to avoid food waste is just a “bossy diktat” from WRAP and DEFRA; there’s no room for fruit & veg in the fridge; chilling fruit “robs it of flavour.” The industry knows very well that none of these arguments carries any weight against 21st century cooling design and technology. But if a so-called “influencer” with access to a national audience is still using them, they should be challenged. “How old is your fridge?” “When did you last look at cooling appliances?” “Where have you been for the last ten years?” seem to be appropriate questions to start with. The industry talks a lot about “education” of the consumer, and in the case of cooling there’s a great deal of education to be done, both with first-time purchasers setting up home, and those who, coming back in the market looking for a replacement or upgrade appliance, may be unaware of the massive technological strides the humble fridge has achieved.



HOMES ARE EMBRACING SMART DEVICES In February Amsterdam plays host to the ISE Show, and this year’s event featured an interesting presentation on where the smart home market is going.


was given by David B. Hofmann, managing partner in the consultancy company mm1. Hofmann cited a study by the OECD which states that, by 2020, there will be 38 smart devices in each home in the industrialised world, such as Smart TVs, speakers, thermostats, home hubs and security systems. Hofmann said the smart home or connected home was booming for several reasons. First, there are many players in this sector including Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung and Microsoft. Consumer interest and awareness in smart homes is growing quickly – there has been a four-fold easier to say something than use increase in Google searches for this topic since 2013. Other reasons for several clicks on a smartphone keypad. market growth include falling prices, companies offering all-in-one solutions, Voice is a game-changer in the smart and the fact that many smart devices and systems are designed for do-ithome market.” yourself installation. The US leads when it comes to smart devices, with 25% But despite the growth of the smart of homes now using them. The figure for the UK is a little under 10% (8.2%). home market, Hofmann said challenges But why are consumers embracing smart technology? Hofmann said remain. “Although many smart devices are designed for DIY installation, there was a misconception about the motivation for purchasing smart you need someone in the home who is tech-savvy.” There is also a devices. “It was thought,” he said, “that saving energy and reducing energy mismatch between what consumers see as the barriers to smart homes, bills was the driver for smart devices, but in fact, consumers buy smart and what smart home companies think they are. Top of the consumers’ list products for comfort and security. I use a smart thermostat to warm my was cost: many people thought that smart devices were too expensive. bathroom in the winter – so in fact, I use more energy. Intelligent Other reasons given for resisting smart devices included: lack heating systems only account for around 2-8% of savings.” of familiarity; cannot see a need for them; security issues. Surveillance and security are very important for smart Companies marketing smart home technology put prices home consumers, and prices of HD cameras have at the bottom of their list when it came to reasons for “It’s easier to dropped significantly, added Hofmann. consumer resistance. “There’s a chasm between say something than Sales of smart speakers are exploding, with consumers and companies and this needs to be use several clicks on around 26 million units expected to be sold in the narrowed if the smart home is going to become US alone this year. In 2015, the figure was around mass market,” says Hofmann. a smartphone keypad. 800,000. The speakers are operated by voice Voice is a gameANOTHER TAKE ON REALITY control, which consumers really like, says Hofmann. changer in the smart Hofmann also talked about another growing trend: “The voice interface means you are hands-free. It’s home market.” augmented reality or AR. AR mixes computer graphics with real-life images. “AR is important and will change the way we interact and use applications in our daily life,” he said. “With more computing power in our smartphones it’s getting easier to provide information in a live experience. It will be interesting to see what comes next, especially with the battle between Google and Apple, who have both developed competing AR platforms.” Hofmann described how Ikea was now using AR for marketing, with an app that enables users to select images of furniture and put them into live images of their home. Someone wanting, say, a new couch, could use AR to “place” the furniture in their living room, select the colour they want and then click to place an order. App development can be expensive, but this technology will become increasingly affordable and retailers (including those in the consumer electronics market) who embrace AR are likely to reap the benefits of increased virtual footfall and increased real sales. Incidentally, the BBC is launching an AR app for its BBC2 series Civilisations, which started this spring. The BBC is working with around thirty museums and the app will enable users to explore historical artefacts from UK museums in virtual exhibitions.

MARCH 2018




FROM THE BENCH PROFIT FROM CALIBRATION The proliferation of software-driven entertainment equipment provides opportunities for discerning viewers and for service technicians. Alan Bennett discusses the possibilities


ost aspects of TV and audio equipment operation and performance are set by programmable presets held in software. Thus, there has to be a factory default which usually suits competitive showroom display; ‘average’ home viewing conditions and typical programme material are also catered for. Very often the gear (especially high-end models) can benefit from programming and set-up by an expert.

FINE TUNING AND FETTLING Calibration consists of resetting the equipment’s parameters and operational modes to suit the ambience, dimensions and environment of the viewing/listening room, and the tastes and preferences of viewers. The more expensive the TV - or whatever - the more appropriate is calibration, although in the case of TV sets any type can benefit from careful setting up. Top-end screens have more comprehensive facilities for calibration, whether by users or professionals. Test equipment typically consists of a portable PC, a test-pattern generator disc and, for TV, (depending on how far you want to go) a screenmounted light sensor: more on these below. For audio amplifiers and processors, a disc or stand-alone sound generator; and for these and loudspeakers a good ‘ear’ and hearing ability. Various calibration apps are available. Calibration may be ineffective or impossible without the right choice and positioning of screens and loudspeakers. Thus, the TV needs to be of a size proportional to the viewing area, and mounted if possible at right angles to the main window. A projector must have a throw-ratio (throw-distance versus screen size) appropriate to the room it’s going into, one that can be darkened. Loudspeakers need to be reasonably symmetrical about the screen in either case, while subwoofers may need careful positioning to avoid spurious effects, as we shall see. Ideally, the installer should confer with the calibrator at the outset where these functions are separately handled. On big projects a builder may be involved...

TVS AND PROJECTORS Unlike the old days (see last issue) picture geometry is not an issue with direct-view screens, though image size and aspect ratio may need attention. The primary aim here is to establish true white (Illuminant D6500, a broadcast and film standard) as the default, and set the associated parameters of contrast, brightness and gamma, the latter associated with the correct rendering



MARCH 2018

of greys throughout the brightness range, which also impinges on colour reproduction. Next comes the precision adjustment of colour tones and graduation. While this can be subjectively judged and set on a flesh-tone from a video disc, it is best and most accurately done, as with grey-scale and gamma trimming, by means of a colorimeter or spectroradiometer incorporating brightness and colour sensors; it’s strapped to direct-view screens or views a projected image in total darkness. Advanced TV screens, e.g. HDR and 3D ones, have special requirements of the calibration equipment, if necessary catered for by software releases or updates from the latter’s manufacturers. These are the most important and critical aspects of TV calibration. Others include setting of noise-reduction and sharpness presets, motionhandling and frame rate, the latter separately for movie and TV-studio material (see my column in last August’s issue, available in the Archives section of our website.) Projection TV calibration involves all the above plus some specific ones related to the optical section. Best mounted on the ceiling or back wall of the viewing room, the projector may need keystone correction to its image – where this is done electronically rather than optically overall image texture and definition is impaired somewhat – then the lens shift, zoom and optical focus must be optimised either manually or, where provision is made, via the remote control. Complete TV calibration outfits of software, sensors etc. are provided by several specialist suppliers, and conform to ISF and THX standards.

AUDIO EQUIPMENT Unlike display devices, audio amplifiers and processors lend themselves to fully-automated set-up, so advanced types are equipped for this. Typically, they feature a multi-section and very directional microphone for placement in the ‘sweet spot’ for listening. In the set-up mode (installation menu) the processor addresses each loudspeaker in turn with a range of tones and frequencies, individually adjusting channel delays and levels to equalise the perceived sound from each. This takes into account speaker positioning, room size and acoustics. In theory this is easily carried out by the user; in practice I find that some of them need help with it, along with a check of wiring, connections and speaker-aiming angle. High quality subwoofers offer facilities for adjustment of phase, gain and crossover frequency, the latter best initially set to 80Hz. These are also governed by the AV processor’s equalisation program. It’s often said that a woofer can be placed anywhere in the room because its sound is not directional; in fact there can be resonances and unevenness – peaks and troughs in the perceived bass range due to room acoustics and ‘standing waves’. These can be substantially altered by even a small repositioning or re-pointing of the subwoofer.

OPPORTUNITIES The grocers and the multiples do not offer installation or calibration services, while much equipment – as we know to our cost – is bought via websites, leaving an opportunity for specialist service providers. Maybe you can go for it? A typical expert TV calibration with instruments is charged at about £300. Equipment suppliers can be found on a search engine, while Cedia ( supports installers and calibrators in various ways. Pictured: CalMAN by Spectracal

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Get Connected Magazine - March 2018  

The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade publication for independents, multiples, kitchen specialists a...

Get Connected Magazine - March 2018  

The sharpest, freshest, most relevant and commercially aware electrical trade publication for independents, multiples, kitchen specialists a...