MONTVALE, NJ— Building off the success of its built-in SuperSteam+ wall oven, Sharp has launched a countertop version that combines superheated steam and conventional radiant heat in all cooking modes.
The use of superheated steam in major appliance ovens has been offered by Sharp since 2004 and the company has sold more than two million units worldwide during that time. According to the company, using a combination of radiant heat and superheated steam vapor allows the oven to reach the temperature needed to brown food while allowing food to retain its authentic flavors and textures.
“Our creed is ‘Simply Living Better’ and we want to provide consumers with products that meet a certain lifestyle while also simplifying their lives,” said Peter Weedfald, svp/sales and marketing with Sharp.
Officially known as Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven, the unit heats water to 212° Fahrenheit, the temperature at which steam is created. The steam is injected into the oven cavity where the radiant coils heat the oven cavity up to 485° Fahrenheit. This, company officials said, allows for the browning of various proteins while also keeping the food moist and tender.
In addition, the superheated steam also allows consumers to quickly cook a variety of frozen foods, such as pizza, and also reheat foods without the loss of moisture.
“We tested cooking a fully frozen 12-inch pizza in the oven and it fully cooked in only 15 minutes,” Weedfald said.
While Sharp has sold more the two million wall ovens equipped with superheated steam technology, company officials said they would embark on a consumer education campaign as the new countertop oven rolls out to retail. This effort, they said, will be a multi-pronged approach that will include information on product packaging, point-of-purchase materials, videos, educating retail store personnel and social media.
In terms of retail distribution, Jim Sanduski, president of Sharp Home Electrics, said the unit has initially garnered attention from a larger number of independent appliance dealers. With a retail price of $399, the unit could also find a home in multi-store regional home electronic chains as well as some national electronics retailers that currently carry major appliances and countertop appliances, he said.
Among the features of the new countertop oven is instant-on, which allows the unit to be immediately ready to cook. Its 12.5-inch x 12.5-inch broiling pan is 39% bigger than a standard quarter-size sheet pan, according to the company, and the unit’s low-profile keeps the heating elements closer to food to allow for a faster cooking process.
The oven is equipped with a 6.8-ounce water tank that is good for up to 60 minutes of cooking and its cavity can accommodate up to nine slices of toast or fit a 12-inch pizza. A hidden baking element beneath the flat oven floor can be wiped clean and the drip tray is designed for easy removal.
Five cooking modes are offered with the countertop oven— toast, warm, pizza, bake/reheat and broil/grill.