In 2010, Philips introduced the Airfryer, a new kitchen appliance at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), an important consumer electronics fair in Berlin. The AirFryer is an egg-shaped device that allows consumers to fry a variety of foods conveniently and easily, including French fries, snacks, chicken, and meat, among many other foods.
The AirFryer was developed using the patented Rapid Air technology, which results in frying crispy fries that contain up to 80% less fat than a conventional fryer. Because the device uses only air to fry the foods, it produces fewer smells and vapors than traditional frying, it is easy to clean and safe for daily use.
The Airfryer was listed in the top five inventions of the 2010 IFA. Alongside Philips’ marketing managers, Fred van der Weij, who invented the technology, was present when the award was presented to the company. Fred owns APDS, a small product development firm founded in 1990, and under which the Airfryer was developed.
Several years prior to this success, Fred was not happy with the results he achieved with the fat-free fryer he bought via a television sales ad. As an engineer and food aficionado, his discontent triggered his desire to solve the problems he was encountering with his fryer.
He started working on a better version of this popular appliance. By 2007, he had found a way to optimize the fryer so that it worked properly. At that time, however, he did not have the financial means or business insight to market the product properly. Coincidentally, Fred met Hans Brocker. After working for Braun as a commercial director for 24 years, Hans started a company that guides inventors in marketing their ideas.
He immediately recognized the potential of Fred’s invention and became a shareholder of KCS, the daughter company of APDS, which was tapped to manage the new product. The partners first tried to secure a bank loan and external investors, but were not successful. Eventually, Fred developed the prototype himself by teaming with Chinese partners who were part of the network to which Hans had access.
They subsequently filed for a patent. Two years later, the prototype was ready and Hans and Fred developed the product strategy. They were considering whether to produce the product themselves or sell the idea. Because Fred had connections with Braun, they first presented their invention there, but Braun was not interested. As their next step they contacted Philips.
Since 2005, Philips had been trying to develop a fryer that makes the frying process healthier. They had the technology, but were struggling to transform it into a consumer product that was consistent with the Philips credo of sense and simplicity.
The product they initially developed was too complex and too expensive. Early in 2009, KCS, the small company owned by Fred van der Weij and Hans Brocker contacted them. They had developed a product that not only used appropriate technology, but could also be translated into a consumer product that is simple and user-friendly.
Godwin Zwanenburg, the Innovation Lead at Philips Consumer Lifestyle, presented the idea to his commercial team, and they decided to sign a letter of intent so they could start the investigation phase. In this phase, various aspects of a potential product undergo rigorous testing for safety, technical specifications, applicability, and quality.
The product passed every test, and Philips decided to sign a licensing agreement with the inventors. They subsequently created the Airfryer, an appliance that uses 80% less fat than a traditional fryer by implementing Rapid Air Technology. The appliance was fashioned according to the typical look and feel of Philips’ products.
The Airfryer was launched in September 2010 at the IFA and immediately attracted significant attention. It was featured in magazines and on television and was listed among the top five inventions of the fair. After this introduction, the Airfryer was demonstrated and promoted in various shops in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany.
Philips expended great effort to persuade customers to fry their food in a healthier way. To do this, they included a recipe booklet with the product and created a Web site where recipes were available to give owners and potential buyers inspiration. Sales took off and Philips began thinking of its next steps.
They were planning to introduce the Airfryer in other European countries, Australia, the Middle East, Russia, and the Americas and tailor the product for different electricity nets and cooking habits.
From their perspective, the inventors also had ambitious plans. They aimed to introduce a new version of the Airfryer for the professional market. This product would process a larger amount of food in a shorter time.
Because Philips does not target the professional market, the licensing contract allowed the inventors to explore this market niche. They were, however, required to notify Philips and share all royalties and profits.
For Philips, finding an externally developed invention such as the Airfryer was like finding a needle in a haystack. It was important, therefore, that independent inventors find their way to the company, so that inventions with a strong market potential would not remain unexplored.
For Philips, licensing agreements on external inventions mean quick entry into the market, without spending a lot of time and money on their own R&D. For the inventors, on the other hand, it is a good way to commercialize and market their ideas; indeed, most do not have the much-needed capital, resources, networks, and market leverage.
For these reasons, Philips is currently working on a strategy to make it easier for external engineers and inventors to find their way to Philips business developers. Once inventors reach them, for example, through a portal on the Internet, they receive a reply within two weeks that includes a clear evaluation of the technology and the way to proceed.
In this way, Open Innovation can create a win-win situation for both inventors and multinationals. Collaborating with smaller firms is a way for established companies to innovate that becomes increasingly important to stay ahead of competitors.
The Airfryer became a major commercial success: It was the number one brand in low-fat fryers in 2015. Managers originally thought that the Airfryer would sell well in Europe, but the real successes were booked in other continents due to the variety of food that could be fried with the Airfyer.
Its versatility is one of its best selling points. The market for low-fat fryers is growing rapidly but still has a large growth potential, as the awareness among consumers is still low. Philips is promoting the use of the Airfryer by working with chefs, developing recipe booklets and promoting social media around the Airfryer. It is an innovative product: Consumers have to be educated about its potential.
What type of appliance is the Airfryer?
It is a countertop appliance that uses Rapid Air technology to fry food with 80% less fat than a traditional fryer, resulting in healthier and tastier meals.
What kind of food can be fried with the Airfryer?
Just about any kind of conventional or unconventional food: from vegetables, fish, and meat to pastries, breads, and pizza; from fruit to potatoes and much more. The process works by circulating hot air inside the appliance where it meets the food. This combination results in faster cooking times and less oil consumption.
Why are air fryers bad for you?
Air fryers use Rapid Air technology, which circulates hot air inside the appliance where it meets the food. This combination results in faster cooking times and less oil consumption. The heated air is responsible for turning food into crispy and tasty snacks.
What does Rapid Air technology do?
This type of technology uses hot air to cook food without using any oil at all. It creates crispy surface on certain foods such as potatoes, vegetables, fish and meat. The traditional way of cooking these foods is by deep-frying them in a large amount of oil which leads to additional fat intake along with many unwanted calories.
What country invented the Airfryer?
The Airfryer was invented by four Dutch inventors: Frank van Hout, Jaap van Veen, Peter Waalkens and Max Stoter, who first started working on the idea of a low-fat fryer in 2006. They then developed the first prototype for Philips in 2008 and started testing with the company’s product experts in 2009.
What are all these numbers and letters on the Airfryer?
They represent specific systems that control and monitor how the appliance functions. There are many different types of sensors and systems used to give optimal results when frying food. The Airfryer has an air circulation system with a flow rate of 2.5 m3/h.
What are the benefits of using an Airfryer?
There are many health benefits and advantages of having an Airfryer at home. The main one is less grease and fat in the food, which means that you save a lot of time and energy cooking. At the same time, your home will have a better environment thanks to less oil being used during frying.
What is the original Airfryer?
The original Airfryer is the first smart countertop fryer from Philips. It combines Rapid Air technology with a built-in timer and temperature sensor, allowing you to make delicious snacks in minutes.
Are air fryers worth the hype?
Air fryers are a great invention that helps to make healthy fried foods a reality. The process by which they cook food is similar to how slow cooking works, however, people would have to be properly educated about the product before going for it.
What does the Airfryer look like?
It is a smart countertop appliance that uses Rapid Air technology to fry food with less fat and calories than in a traditional fryer, providing crispy and tasty snacks in minutes. Its design includes two cooking chambers plus two circulating baskets for conveying hot air inside the appliance where it meets the food. A temperature sensor monitors how hot the oil is at all times.
Philips Airfryer is a smart countertop appliance with Rapid Air technology that can be used on any kitchen top. It creates great tasting food and snacks in minutes, such as, fried chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, french fries and more. The air fryer is safe to use in your home whether you are cooking for yourself or for your family thanks to its automatic shut off function. With the help of the Philips Airfryer you can now enjoy tasty and crispy food with less fat and calories.