SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2010 > Induction Cooking

Thanks to the many advantages it offers, cooking with the efficient induction technique is ­becoming more and more popular in Europe and Asia. Photo: SCHOTT/W. Feldmann

Induction Goes Mainstream

Whereas induction has the potential to become the preferred high-tech cooking device for cooks all over the world, some markets are developing at a somewhat slower pace.

Richard Lane

Induction ranges that rely on an electromagnet to heat iron or steel cookware remain a mystery to most cooks. The heat ­arrives so quickly that anyone used to chopping the last of the onions while the pan heats up is in for a big surprise.

The induction method is often referred to as ‘cool cooking’, because the kitchen does not actually experience a rise in temperature. Instead, the energy is transmitted through the SCHOTT Ceran® glass-ceramic cooktop panels and doesn’t actually create heat until it gets to the bottom of the pot. Induction cooktops are also more efficient than other traditional heating systems because they cook food faster and lose less heat in the process, an aspect that consumers and restaurants alike truly appreciate. With the “green-consumer movement” and efforts to conserve resources gaining in importance, induction cooking technology is currently becoming more popular in Europe and Asia for the most part. The housing boom in Spain has helped generate a significant market volume for induction in this country. French consumers, on the other hand, are showing higher acceptance of induction because it offers benefits similar to those of gas, like fast cooking and quick control. Despite the fact that Germany has been a late adopter because this market has been dominated by radiant cooking for years, the trend is shifting towards induction due to the marketing power of large manufactures in the industry who have embraced the technology.
Photo: CookTek
In the United States, induction cooking is still a relatively new concept and currently accounts for only about 1–2% of the market, although demand is fairly stable. Despite the fact that induction prices have fallen, it seems as if this technology continues to be marketed here in high-end brands that are considerably more expensive than traditional gas and electric units. Apparently, neither consumers nor professional users in the U.S. are as aware of the benefits this technology offers as their European and Asian counterparts. For this reason, the U.S. market tends to focus its innovations on high wattage burners that improve the speed to boil in radiant cooking.

Although the technology has always been quite expensive and therefore mainly been offered as an option for high-end product lines, costs have come down just recently. This has encouraged other commercial and residential manufacturers to enter the market with more reasonably priced units. The perfectly flat surfaces of Ceran® glass-ceramic cooktop panels allow induction systems to be a lot easier to clean today. And thanks to the low heat radiance around the induction cooking zones in combination with the low heat conduction of Ceran® cooktop panels, if something spills on them, it won’t burn onto the glass. The glass is heated up only from the cookware making the area around the pot/pan fairly cool and easy to clean. Just as importantly, Ceran® induction cooktop panels not only offer a high level of functionality, but are also quite stylish in terms of their design. Perhaps this is why nearly all of today’s open plan show kitchens feature induction cooktop panels from the world leader.

What chefs from around the world have to say
about induction: