Induction’s hot, gas is not, says Dealerscope Magazine

By Alan Wolf, YSN

A long-favored fuel type by chefs of all stripes may be running out of gas.

According to a report in the industry journal Dealerscope, environmental and health concerns over the use of natural gas in the kitchen are heating up across the country, giving electric and, more recently, induction cooking a leg up in some quarters.

While gas ranges are favored for their high searing temperatures and still account for some 47% of all category sales, induction models are quickly gaining ground, the publication reported. A recent survey of dealers, designers and manufacturers suggests that the electromagnetic technology now comprises 44% of orders, while a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) indicates that induction is rapidly replacing traditional electric cooktops, the magazine said.

See: Home on the Range: Gas Cooktops Under Attack

Fueling the changeover are troubling reports about the impact of cooking with gas. Research by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that unburned natural gas contains 21 toxins including benzene, which causes cancer and birth defects, while municipalities across the country are banning gas appliances in new construction due to their emissions of methane, a major contributor to global warming.

See also: Gas Ranges are Goners in New York

What’s more, gas is an inefficient heating source, as only 40% of the energy used in ranges is transferred to food, compared to 74% for electric and 90% for induction models. Induction elements also heat food more quickly while remaining cool to the touch, Dealerscope said.

Although some states including Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee have passed pre-emption laws that prohibit bans on gas appliances, there’s no denying consumer preference for electric and induction alternatives. As Paula Pennington, senior product manager for Hamilton Beach Brands, makers of portable induction cooktops, told the publication, “More people are using electric induction versus gas due to safety concerns, and it’s more energy efficient.”

Induction’s growing popularity can also be attributed to its more affordable pricing. Once limited to ultra-premium brands, the technology is now offered by most mainstream appliance manufacturers, and the price delta between induction and electric ranges is shrinking. Dealerscope cited a Frigidaire Gallery stainless steel range that retails for $1,298 with an induction cooktop and built-in air fryer, compared to $898 for the company’s stainless plain Jane electric model.

Induction models also provide dealers with a new high-margin product opportunity in iron cookware, which is required for the cooktop’s magnetic field to create an electric current and generate heat.

Serena Williams, senior VP at Meyer Corp., makers of Circulon, Farberware, KitchenAid and Rachael Ray cookware, sees induction as an inevitable trend. “The transition to induction cooking has been gaining momentum as consumers have become increasingly aware and knowledgeable about its benefits relative to both electric and gas alternatives,” she said.

Hat tip to Dealerscope.