32 Elsewhere, on the subject of smart technology

L-R: Hoover Freestanding Fridge-Freezer; H-FRIDGE 700 MAXI; AEG Combi Bottom Fridge-Freezer A true connection

in this product sector, Mr Cutler believes that smart functions have to enrich the user experience and enhance day-to-day life; “when they don’t, they can become very ‘gimmicky’ very quickly”, he says. “When developing our smart features, the first

thing we address is the long-term tangible benefits to the user, with lots of understated but handy features – like being able to switch your appliance to energy-saving holiday mode whilst on route to the airport via your smartphone!”

Connected appliances play a big role in benefiting consumers when it comes to food wastage and energy efficiency. Milo Cheney, Cooling Product Manager –

Multidoors at Haier Hoover Candy, comments: “For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) fridge freezers can provide helpful energy-saving tips via Hoover’s hOn app and can monitor the weather and outside temperature, ensuring the appliance is running at optimal efficiency – saving consumers money and using less energy.”

And Richard Bass, Head of B2C Business Unit

at Hitachi Europe, is in agreement that some smart features offer serious benefits, although he adds that other functions have limited appeal. “We believe the focus for technology should be

on the overall performance and the ability to keep food fresher for longer,” he comments. The Hitachi brand is currently focusing on

multi-door products; its flagship model is a four- door with added features aimed at being more environmentally-friendly, including a vacuum compartment – which seals in freshness and ensures food retains its goodness (as well as removing the need for single-use plastics) – and a selectable zone so the consumer can switch between fridge or freezer use. In terms of the aesthetic, Mr Bass confirms how

design is also important; Hitachi’s pleasing-to-the- eye frameless design plays on the idea that consumers are keen to make their refrigerators visible these days, compared with the hidden built-in trend of recent years. He continues: “Large refrigerator designs are

significantly improved nowadays from the ‘big white box’ era and customers are happier to make their appliance a centre part of their kitchen again.” Mr Bass also confirms the launch of a new range of refrigerators in the UK later this year.

Fresher food Looking back earlier in 2021, Electrolux introduced a new range of freestanding cooling products under the AEG brand – from freestanding cabinets to Combi Bottom Fridge-Freezers. TwinTech technology, found across all AEG

NoFrost fridge freezers, preserves fresh ingredients with humidity levels inside the fridge compartment kept separate to the freezer; this

Bertazzoni fridge. Right: Hoover AI technology

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