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A chimney in your kitchen

The electric chimney is fast replacing the exhaust fan in the kitchen, its utility and appeal contributing to this changeover...


The kitchen is a space that has to have an aesthetic appeal, as well as be easy to maintain. Chimneys then, are must-haves in the urban kitchens of today. Current brands available in the market vary in size and features. Arul Anand, State Head, Kaff, that brands itself as a one-stop solution for all kinds of kitchen convenience appliances, explains the demand cycle and the consumers' complete shift from exhausts to chimneys thus. "99% of modern kitchens today are adding chimneys and most of them will be shifting from exhausts to chimneys - the larger percentage comprising urban users."

Nitesh Mathur, General Manager - Sales, Franke Faber India Limited, explains what exactly electric chimneys do, "Indian food preparation involves spices and flavours. Just a simple preparation spreads fumes. An exhaust fan will remove the fumes from your kitchen but not before it gets into your eyes or stains the tiles. An electric chimney, on the other hand, is your ticket to cooking wholesome tadka meals. Currently, our top 10 cities contribute to 80% of Faber chimneys' sales and this trend is spilling over to emerging cities quite quickly."

The Indian chimney market has a mix of local and foreign players and the price of the different models ranges from Rs.5,000 to Rs.50,000. From a consumer's point of view, the choice of a chimney in a modern kitchen is guided by maintenance factors. As Sushma Ramaswamy, Systems Analyst, Business Intelligence in a software company in Chennai says, "We kept the size of our cooking range as the benchmark while choosing the chimney. However, individual features influenced the choice to a great extent. Though cleaning is still a messy affair, I need not change filters as I used to do when I was in the U.S. However, I have to let it soak for hours and I have to do the scrubbing myself, not leaving the responsibility to the maid."

Cleaning of the electric chimney, as Sushma says, is a laborious process. Arul however tells us, "Kaff uses the cassette filter where the sound decimal is very minimum. It is a user-friendly filter as well, which is easy to clean."

Mathur adds, "The noise levels in Faber chimneys are below 55 db. Advanced features like Silent Key(SIL-K) i.e. chimneys with higher suction at lower noise levels are available in select models." Installation includes a pre-sales visit when the position of chimney and duct length with hole position is decided and the process takes just an hour.

The size of the organised market for chimneys, hobs and built-ins is about Rs.350 crores, of which Kaff enjoys a 33% share and Faber has 50%, they tell us. Since penetration levels are low, the market is expected to grow significantly with time, and many new players are expected to enter as well. Faber is looking to strengthening its position in the segment. Says Mathur, "The market is expected to grow at 25% CAGR. We are planning to invest in technology for quicker TAT(Turn Around Time) in service. Increasing the franchise network from 52 to 120 in 2011 is on Faber's agenda. "

Arul opines, "Apart from the pricing, there are factors like reaching out to the mass market, creating awareness, offering solutions to customer needs..." Most brands have manufacturing facilities in the country; however, some designer ranges are imported. Says Arul, "The chimney market is booming in India. Kaff welcomes competition for industrial growth, it will be a great advantage for us because competition will create a buzz about the category."

Today, tomorrow.

Current:

Traditional hoods

Future:

Aesthetically advanced hoods(Eg. hoods that look like chandeliers), hoods with air-conditioning(Klima)

Current:

Mechanical controls

Future:

Electronic controls with touch buttons and advanced features(Media interactive like radio, TV)

Current:

Noise levels

Future:

Advanced features like Silent Key(SIL-K) ie. chimneys with higher suction at lower noise levels

Current:

Standalone product purchase of chimney or hob

Future:

Built-ins(appliances integrated with kitchen cabinets and workstations)

talktoretailplus@yahoo.com

VIJAYALAKSHMI SRIDHAR

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