The last decade saw a vast array of trends and innovations take over the kitchen industry – but what will 2020 and beyond hold? Director at MTW Research Mark Waddy forecasts that sales of tiles and kitchen appliances will rise by some 7% in the next three years, reaching a value of £3.64bn by 2023. “While growth is slowing, sales in 2020 are expected to exceed £3.42bn, reflecting a market that continues to benefit from changing trends and design innovations.
But what are these trends and design innovations? “Perhaps one of the most significant trends impacting the kitchen market in 2020 will be the continuation of the trend for open-plan living,” continues Waddy. This can clearly be seen by the numerous kitchen appliance and furniture manufacturers that have taken note of this trend and adapted their offerings in order to appeal to a wider range of homeowners and their ever-changing tastes.
Appliances such as hobs and extractors in particular have seen a growth in innovation, due in part to the response of the growing demand for open-plan kitchen layouts. “There is a shift towards downdraft extraction systems, which remove odours and vapours at their source [directly from the hob], and draw them downwards before they can permeate the air,” explains Bora founder Willi Bruckbauer. “This is particularly important in open-plan kitchen spaces, where a head-height extractor hood above an island can create a visual barrier and conflict with the open-plan ambience. A downdraft extractor integrated into the hob gives greater creativity of design and taps into the trend for minimal, professional styling.”
Design aesthetics aside, another draw that homeowners look for now when it comes to choosing hobs and extractors are lower noise-level ratings, which are proving more important thanks to open-plan kitchens. James Smith, business development manager at Küppersbusch, notes how “maximum efficiency with minimal noise is key on the wishlist of those in modern open-plan kitchen settings.”
Other kitchen essentials have also benefited from new sleeker designs that are well suited to open-plan kitchens – such as sinks that sit flush with the worktop and taps that are functional yet also discreet. “With everything on show, including the sink, this has driven a trend for an evermore clutter-free and streamlined aesthetic,” explains Franke’s communications manager Jeanette Ward. This has therefore given homeowners more choice – and freedom – in the kitchen. “Sinks are incorporating flexible and intelligent functionality with accessories that can easily stow away, leaving the sink area tidy and efficient, meeting that desirability factor,” Ward adds.
Homeowners have also recently proven that they’re not just after a ‘less is more’ approach in the kitchen, but a greener one too. Eco-friendly appliances have grown in popularity over the last few years, with the likes of Insinkerator helping to tackle the battle against waste in the kitchen. “Food waste disposers allow food waste to be dealt with instantly, hygienically and in a responsible manner with the further benefits of saving space and improving cleanliness in the kitchen,” says Insinkerator’s Europe and Russia marketing communications manager Anne Kaarlela. “Not only does this offer an alternative to traditional disposal methods, but by reducing food waste to landfill sites, it also helps to reduce greenhouse gases and the household’s carbon footprint.”
Food waste is an issue that more homeowners are starting to tackle head on, with appliance manufacturers adapting their product offerings accordingly – something we can expect to see continue well into 2020. Hotpoint’s senior brand manager Catherine Balderson reveals how studies have found that “in the UK, around 10 million tonnes of food is wasted per year, and a staggering 71% of the waste is attributed to households.”
In turn, refrigeration will not only become a key asset in the battle against waste, but also spearhead this year’s key trend of ‘internet of things’, which incorporates features such as “smart monitoring and longer food storage”, according to the findings from MTW Research. “Attitudes towards domestic food waste are changing and, as we become more educated on the environmental impact that throwing away large quantities of food can have, this has become a key concern for buyers,” adds Balderson.
Ways that manufacturers have sought to tackle waste include the introduction of multi-temperature storage zones, technology to keep bacteria at bay and even cameras inside the fridge. Valerie Posner, built-in cooling category manager at BSH Home Appliances Ltd, adds that Siemens’ smart models have cameras so that “you can check the contents of your fridge wherever you are. This prevents doubling up on items that can then go to waste.”
Digital innovation in the kitchen not only applies to reducing food waste, but are also now evolving to fit in with people’s changing eating habits. “The cooking market is diversifying, with users looking to create delicious, nutritional foods,” says Aga Rangemaster’s director of sales and marketing Iskender Diker. “This has largely been driven by healthy eating broadcast and media coverage, and the mass consciousness of veganism.” In turn, ovens are now highly multifunctional, and feature an array of programmes and settings that allow people to eat more healthily.
“Healthy eating requires healthier cooking methods and advancements in technology,” continues Diker. “Nutritional cooking options such as steaming or sous vide, for example, are now viewed as preferential options, rather than novelties.” Following on from functionality comes form, and 2020 will see one colour in particular dominate throughout the kitchen, continuing on from recent years. “Complementing the restrained kitchen design trend in 2020, black appliances will grow their market share,” says Waddy.
“Black is going to be an even stronger colour in the kitchen in 2020. So far, its use has been largely as design accents, but it’s now making its way to full doors, work surfaces and cabinetry,” says Pronorm’s product designer Gerd Meier. “Matt textures are crucial to the design aesthetic and the latest anti-fingerprint technology make the black surfaces practical to use and easy to keep clean.” Insinkerator’s Kaarlela additionally notes that there are a “growing number of new appliances finished in the bold statement shade.”
The colour black isn’t just limited to appliances and cabinetry, however, and can also be seen adorning splashbacks and feature walls in the form of tiles. “Monochromatic tiling is set to represent a growing trend in kitchen design in 2020, with this style offering a good compromise between personalisation and discreet aesthetic,” explains Mark Waddy. With more subdued hues looking to be a popular choice, homeowners are opting to put their own flourish on kitchen ceramics through the use of textured finishes. “As tile technology has progressed, texture has become a more dominant theme over the last few years and now we are seeing the next level of products come to the fore with more exaggerated relief tiles,” adds Ceramique Internationale’s director Peter Vann.
With appliances proving smarter and sleeker, kitchens more open, and black taking more of a starring role in the kitchen, 2020 in the kitchen industry looks set to be focused around both form and functionality, with homeowners wanting products that look and act smart.
Words by Danielle Lett