Sharp Shapes the Superheated Steam Cooking Category with Countertop Model
Sharp Home Electronics Co. of America (SHCA) has deepened its unique niche in superheated steam cooking in the U.S., with the introduction of a countertop iteration of its superheated steam oven. The Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven, first unveiled to the public at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City March 22 at the Almo booth, will reach the market with a street retail price of $399. “With this announcement, Sharp will take a front-seat position on superheated steam in America,” Sharp Electronics Marketing Co. of America Senior VP/Sales and Marketing Peter Weedfald said.
The model follows into the market by a little more than a year Sharp’s SuperSteam+ built-in three-in-one oven, which grills with 485-degree superheated steam, regular 212-degree steam and convection heating – and it offers the same promise of food cooked crispy and browned on the outside and moist on the inside.
The new Superheated Steam Countertop Oven “is really unique in the marketplace,” said SHCA president Jim Sanduski. “We’re excited along with the retail partners we’ve talked to, and what they see as the market potential for this product.”
Weedfald said that the new model “is also a ‘steam seed’ for all our dealers and channel partners to drive steam and all its health benefits, such as reduced fat and salt,” adding that when kitchen remodeling time rolls around for consumers who have experienced the technology, it will put them in the mindset to plan for the built-in version – which offers 1.5 cubic feet of interior space versus the countertop model’s .5 cubic feet.
The new model is rated at 1,750 watts and can accommodate nine slices of toast at a clip – or a 12-inch pizza, which he said will “brown the crust – it won’t be soggy.” It is also “instant on,” with no preheating needed and no defrosting of foods before starting the cooking process. “The freshness of food cooked this way can be brought back to life after refrigeration for two or three days,” added Weedfald.
Its low-and-wide, pizzeria-oven-style countertop footprint is 19.7 inches wide by 9.3 inches high by 19.3 inches deep, and there are no specific placement requirements.
Another differentiator from your garden variety countertop oven is that it requires the addition of water – and the reservoir is ergonomically designed, located under the front dial; it holds enough water to provide an hour’s worth of steam cooking.
Five preset modes offer the most used cooking settings; they are Toast, Broil/Grill, Bake/Reheat, Pizza Mode, and Warm Mode.
Product maintenance worries have also been addressed in its design, said Weedfald; the exterior is of stainless steel, and the internal thermal baking element is protected, hidden beneath the oven floor for easy cleanup. A removable drip tray is easily accessible and rinses clean. Included with the oven is a cookbook with superheated steam-specific recipes.
“We’re opening up the market to bring superheated steam [technology] to the countertop, with this model. It’s cooking that’s about choice, not chance,” Weedfald said.