Across nearly all industries, research has shown that the rise of the eco-conscious consumer is a force that brands must respect and reckon with.
This is also true in the food and beverage industry. Recent research from strategy consulting firm Simon-Kutcher, being environmentally conscious is an increasingly important factor for restaurant consumers.
This is especially true for restaurants still cooking with gas. According to the New York Times, natural gas is bad for the environment, emitting greenhouse gases such as methane into the atmosphere. A recent study demonstrated that these emissions can occur even when the stove is off.
One force driving the eco-friendly wave in professional kitchens is global initiatives such as RE100 which brings together hundreds of businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. RE100 is led by Climate Group and is on a mission to accelerate change towards zero carbon grids at scale.
RE100 members include an impressive roster of global companies including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook to name a few.
As companies look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint both on their own and in accordance with stricter regulation policies, this has created a greater need for eco-friendly appliances such as Induction.
Even heavy-duty equipment such as large kettles or deep fryers benefits from induction technology with significantly lower energy consumption and waste.
As Lee mentioned businesses may eventually not have a choice as governments including the city of San Francisco and the state of New York have put forth legislation restricting gas hookups in new construction.
Whether is consumer demand, the increasing calls for safer work environments, or efforts to reduce energy costs, the induction wave looks to be here to stay in professional kitchens.
Demand for eco-friendly meals
Consumer demand for engaging with eco-friendly brands is especially true for younger generations who are willing to pay an average premium of 20 percent for sustainable meals as they seek out more eco-friendly and green restaurant options when dining out.
According to Simon-Kutcher, among the “Baby Boomer” generation (ages 59 to 77), 73 percent of respondents were willing to pay a 1 to 10 percent price premium.
The remaining 27 percent of respondents were happy to pay slightly more, between 11 to 20 percent, for their meals and services. These numbers decrease with age, with the study finding that 37 percent of “Gen X” respondents (ages 43 to 58) showed a medium willingness to pay, while 63 percent were only willing to pay a 1 to 10 percent price premium.
Serena Lee, the head of Global Sales for South Korea-based Dipo Induction, a manufacturer of induction appliances for professional kitchens, said she has seen the trend towards induction in commercial kitchens growing.
“One of the appeals of induction initially was its greater safety compared to traditional cooking methods,” said Lee.
“But in recent years, as consumers have come to expect brands to be more active in the fight against climate change, we get more and more sales from organizations wanting to create greener, more eco-friendly kitchens.”
Induction is also the Safer Choice
In busy professional kitchens, sometimes with a large complement of staff, safety is paramount. This is why many chefs are opting for induction cooking appliances over traditional gas or electric stoves.
Induction cooking offers several advantages for safety:
- Reduced Fire Risk: Induction cooktops lack open flames, eliminating the risk of fires from pan boil-overs or spills on the stovetop.
- Cool Surfaces: Even when turned on, induction cooktop surfaces remain cool to the touch, reducing the risk of burns from accidental contact.
- Faster Cooking Times: Induction cooktops heat up rapidly, minimizing the chance of accidents like burns or fires that can occur with prolonged cooking.
- Precise Temperature Control: Induction cooktops allow precise control over temperatures, preventing food from overcooking or burning.
- Easy Cleaning: Induction cooktops are simple to clean with no spills or splatters, ensuring a safer and cleaner kitchen environment.
According to the Nation Resource Defence Council, a program in New York found that in homes with induction cooking, nitrogen dioxide pollution in the home dropped by 34 percent and carbon monoxide levels dropped by 43 percent. Electric stoves also cut fine particulate pollution roughly in half, compared to gas stoves.
Induction cooking is undoubtedly the safer choice for professional kitchens, offering a lower fire risk, cooler surfaces, faster cooking times, precise temperature control, and easy cleaning.
For chefs and kitchen managers, considering a switch to induction cooking is strongly recommended for its safety benefits.
Moreover, induction cooktops often feature additional safety mechanisms:
- Automatic Shut-Off: These cooktops can turn off if left unattended for a certain time.
- Pan Detection: The cooktop won’t heat up if no pan is present.
- Child Lock: A child lock feature prevents accidental activation by children
- Little or no emission of heat: Unlike traditional cooking methods, induction cooking surfaces emit no eat
Studies suggest that induction cooking can offer significant energy savings and cost savings for restaurants.
While it is important to note that the actual savings will vary depending on the size and type of restaurant, as well as the local energy rates, there is no denying the growing evidence behind the benefits of cooking with induction.
“One of the appeals of induction initially was its greater safety compared to traditional cooking methods. But in recent years, as consumers have come to expect brands to be more active in the fight against climate change, we get more and more sales from organizations wanting to create greener, more eco-friendly kitchens.”
A study by the University of British Columbia “Induction cooking in restaurants: A business case for Vancouver” found that an induction range can save about 50% of
natural gas wasted in unused heat and leakages resulting from using a gas range.
Induction ranges are also 85% to 95% energy efficient compared to standard gas ranges which operate at 25% to 35% energy efficiency, the study added.
Dipo Induction’s Serena Lee said that the time is coming when professional kitchens may not have a choice but to stop using traditional cooking methods like gas.
“More and more governments are considering and some even passing legislation requiring that new construction of buildings come without any natural gas access, said Lee.
You can learn more about Dipo Induction at www.dipoinduction.com