An article from Quartz (qz.com), says US microwave sales are declining, while sales of other appliances, like toaster ovens have boomed. Why? Writer Roberto Ferdman hypothesizes that not only is market saturation of microwaves extremely high, but many “Americans just aren’t using them as much anymore. A shift in eating habits—which favors freshness and quality over speed and convenience—has left a growing number of microwaves (EU) dormant on kitchen counters.” He also cites consumer concerns about radiation and lower nutritional values of foods.
According to the article, when microwaves were experiencing their boom years, the food industry adapted, creating entire product categories just for microwave cooking, including microwavable popcorn (EU). But how will the food industry adapt to the shift away from microwave use? Food industry expert and Prospector contributing writer Jill Frank comments, “The landscape of appliances in the home kitchen is at a crossroads and product developers should take note. Ask yourself if your new product will be be able to keep up with the changing landscape of the consumer kitchen.”
Indeed, Ferdman writes that sales of frozen ready meals have started to decline. And microwave popcorn is also trending downward in sales, while bagged, ready to eat versions are experiencing a sharp uptick. But, he also writes that microwaves aren’t completely dead. While Americans are increasingly interested in cooking fresh food and learning the finer points of haute cuisine, microwaves are still in 90% of households.
Have you seen a shift away from developing microwavable products? We’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below.
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