Induction - Why is it slow to catch on in the US?


(John) #1

Recently I acquired a portable induction hob for use in a weekend lake/ski cabin that does not have a full kitchen (there was one, it was gross I ripped it out) At home I have gas and old French copper (my ne plus ultra) but this induction hob is pretty great - I work in housing development/design and am amazed that this has not become a norm – especially in senior and student housing arena and in locales where gas utility is not available. There are so many upsides for safety, energy efficiency, handicap accessibility (not hot, clearances etc) Yet the only induction ranges I see on the market are high-end $$$ - the box stores don’t have them in stock even up the mountain where ‘nobody’ has gas. Given that portable induction hobs start around $30 on amazon (the one I bought was more expensive commercial version) and there are some cheaper drop in 2 burner types for under $200 I am surprised that more affordable options are not commonplace in the housing market. It seems they solve quite a few challenges without much downside. What’s the resistance.


#2

The cheaper ones are no good. I have tried two of them, one from ALDI and another from Amazon. I would have written off the technology had I not previously used a high-end induction range.

Specifically, though, some things are just slow to take off in the US for whatever reasons. (And vice versa.) For example, Thermomix, weight measurements, and, before the Instant Pot, I would have even put pressure cookers in that category. Maybe induction companies need a good marketing campaign like Instant Pot. Or maybe we are just drawn to cheaper prices. I feel like quality is valued more over price in Europe than in America, but I have drawn that conclusion from a very limited sample size.

As far as having to replace your pots and pans, I never understood why that is such an issue here and not an issue in less wealthier countries.


(For the Horde!) #3

Well, you know what is slow to take off too? Wine in boxes and high quality beer in cans. We are slaves to tradition. :smiley:


(Bruce) #4

The lack of a major marketing campaign by any of the manufacturers has to be a big factor. I haven’t seen any.

As far as the builder’s market, what probably has to happen is some manufacturer has to go to a builder with a proposal. And it has to make economic sense to both the builder and the manufacturer. In my experience, builders tend to go for lowest end appliances, light fixtures, etc.

I don’t think the cookware issue is insignificant. I have a lifetime accumulation of pots and pans :roll_eyes:. I had 7 cast iron pieces and even fewer stainless. I had a steel and a carbon steel skillet but mostly I had cheap aluminum (used to buy almost exclusively at restaurant supply stores) and anodized aluminum. I needed new pots. I think most people don’t have all-clad cookware, much less fancy cookware from Europe; what we read about people using in the cooking forums here and on eG is not typical of what most people have or what they’re interested in spending. And when it comes to inexpensive cookware, it’s all aluminum stuff.


#5

Before we bought a house, I thought “builder-grade” meant a high level of quality. I learned very fast that it was quite the opposite.


(John) #6

Yes i think you hit it on head for martkeing. NuWave QVC style marketing does not fly younger folks. I am amazed how many people have no idea what induction is -messaging matters. I am curious to try the “cheapo” sub $50 units. I suspect from reviews they are at least an improvement over electric coil which still gets specified in much housing.


(John) #7

Two of my favorite things! also both very useful in the mountains where there is no trash collection and the township dump has hours like Brigadoon


(John) #8

True - nonsick coated aluminum carries much of the lower end market - induction capable cookware can be had pretty cheaply but not at the lowest price points and many people are not comfortable a the 2nd hand and mis-matched batterie . OTOH apparently lots of people just love to “upgrade” nearly my entire collection of “fancy” cookware is thrift store scored (except most of the antique copper - that was ebay and actually cost me real $$$ )


(Bruce) #9

Thanks. I didn’t do a very good job of expressing myself in my last paragraph; I appreciate your points. Obviously it’s tricky to generalize about the cook-ware buying public. I think most people not only never go to someplace like Sur la Table or W-S, they don’t even go to Bed Bath and Beyond. I’d wager the biggest cookware sellers in the US are Walmart and Target, maybe including K-Mart where they still exist. I don’t know about Target as there isn’t one close to me, but 98% of the stuff I’ve seen at WM is aluminum.

I like induction and most people like it when they try it but tell the average cook about it and say, ‘oh, and you’re going to have to replace most of your cookware’ and they’d say No Way.


#10

Just came from Walmart. They had a large section of Pioneer Woman, calphalon, lodge, nordicware, and cheapo stainless steel. All induction compatible. In fact, it looked like they carried less aluminum than non-aluminum.


#11

I know this topic is discussing US, but I think the major concern for most people is energy cost. In France, gas is cheaper than electricity. Day in day out, the cooking cost with electricity is much higher than gas. The cookware issue is 1 off cost. My place is built in a zone that we could not have gas. I was initially very disappointed because I like cooking with fire. Husband said we still have the possibility to get gas bottles if I really want to cook with fire. My transition to induction, I have given up a wok (bottom not flat), a small aluminium sauce pan and a Bialetti moka pot (aluminium). The rest of my cookware, are either stainless steel or cast iron.


(Bruce) #12

It’s been at least 2.5 years since I was looking for pieces for my first induction unit; I’m either out of date or there’s a big difference in WM stores! I did not even know Calphalon was making anything stainless. I’ll try to remember to look next time I go.


#13

I was pretty surprised myself. Just thought I would walk down the aisles and see. This was one of those super Walmarts, though, not a regular one. Even around Baltimore, inventory can vary wildly between Walmarts.


#14

I think they are still perceived as expensive - and I suppose they are compared to gas and slightly more expensive than glass ceramic. I bought mine from IKEA and checked the US site and they do stock them in the US. Quality seems good - no problems ands impressed after 2+ years.

I do wonder if one big difference in the US is that you still have a lot of ranges. Many countries seem to have consigned these to history replacing them with the seperate cooktop and built in wall oven. Could it be US houses are bigger and have large kitchens so a big range works. No need for a space saving “european style” wall oven. And thus less demand for induction cooktops.


#15

My neighbours have them too, after 8 years, still going solid.


(John) #16

In the single-family home suburban market, sure, and I think this would be late to adapt as builders and owners area loathe to install anything “odd” that could compromise a sale. I am thinking in other niche markets though - urban rental housing, student housing etc where a full range seems like overkill and space & safety matter. Something like this seems like it would find more application.
https://www.wayfair.com/Cuisinart-27-Induction-Cooktop-with-2-Burners-ICT-60-L1018-K~CUI3537.html?refid=GX99081540082-CUI3537&device=c&ptid=304289748418&network=g&targetid=pla-304289748418&channel=GooglePLA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMItv611-nD2QIVWMDICh3tIAW7EAkYCSABEgJTxvD_BwE
I suppose you still have to figure out a solution for an oven though
Also in rural areas where there is no natural gas service and much housing stock is made up “mobile homes” and/or vacation homes.

I guess I will find out soon enough If I try to rent the mountain house for weekends (if I ever get the renovation done) and lack of traditional range scares people off


#17

I’ve been cooking on an induction range with a convection oven for years and cannot imagine going back to a gas or conventional electric stove. There is a bit of a learning curve with induction because the temperature adjustments are so precise. Going from boil to simmer is amazingly fast. Cleanup is a breeze.
As for the need for new cookware, it shouldn’t be a big issue. One probably has enough to start with and really, how many pots does one need?
One way for induction to become more popular is to have it featured on cooking and home improvement tv shows. That’s a job for the appliance manufacturers’ marketing department.


(John) #18

Now that is a loaded question LOL!


(For the Horde!) #19

“need” can be perceived as the most loaded question in human history. Do you NEED to send your kid to piano lesson? Do you NEED to sign your name at the end of every email? Do you NEED to have more than 2 cookware (a pot and a pan)?


#20

I think the answer is there. They are low rent, low cost markets. The builders “cost engineer” everything to provide the basics that meet code and do no-more. An induction top is far more expensive than gas, or a solid element electric cooktop.

I was chatting to a developer at a BBQ and discussing solar panels. He was putting them on his new townhouses - but literally putting in the smallest he could - next to useless. However, they get a tick/points on the council eco-standards assessment and the units pass the planning department.

Here in Australia there are a lot of “off the plan” apartment sales. They obviously include appliances, finishes etc etc. But, once you start specifying the actual type of products you would like the price starts to rise as only the most basic appliances and finishes are included.