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Food processors: Efficiency, bigger capacity lead trends

The latest releases are more effective at extracting juice. They come with large feeders or chutes.

 

China suppliers are releasing juicers and blenders with improved performance under efforts to boost product distinctiveness.

Many makers now offer juicers equipped with larger feeders or chutes. Such parts allow use with whole fruit, and have large-capacity pulp receptacles.


Food processor
The XB9115G stand blender from Guangdong Xinbao has a 700W motor and 1.3L glass jug.

In addition, products are being optimized for use with apples. Units feature higher extraction efficiency than previous versions, with some exhibiting a 30 percent increase.

A number of new models have blunt blades fitted with a tooth profile that squeezes fruit without fully crushing. These parts are kept at a 60-degree angle, which is optimal for juice removal.

Further, most companies are improving the PCB control switch structures to allow operational speeds of 15,000 to 22,000rpm.

Most juicers utilize micromesh filter baskets. The components employ materials processed by one-step laser forming, improving durability and ease of cleaning.

For blenders, multifunction models dominate the line. To enable ice crushing, select versions have high output power and blades with optimized designs. Multiple edged components can also be incorporated.

Suppliers are equipping releases with S-shaped blades as well.

Such parts are generally 1 to 1.5mm thick and made of 304 stainless steel. Further, efficient motors capable of high rotational speed can be installed.

Some new blenders include a grinder. This is interchangeable with the blending jar and is installed on the power base.

Further, most units have various accessories. These include keep-fresh and steam lids, manual citrus juicers and drinking cups.


Products & prices
Industry overview
Production hubs
Products & prices

Multifunction juicers with stainless steel blades make up the majority of China's output in the line. They usually come with pulse rotation capability, toggle switches, and detachable parts that facilitate maintenance.

Some makers are releasing products with attractive housings, spill-resistant spouts, and stainless steel blades and filters. These models are targeted at the midrange and high-end segments.

Jars made of 100 percent stainless steel have begun to replace traditional plastic or glass versions. Although metal types cost about 15 percent more, they boast superior durability.

Safety is a major concern for the line. Most products feature heat protection systems, with some also equipped with clamp switches, and built-in or double-lock devices.

Mainstream juicers utilize food-grade ABS and stainless steel as the housing material. Units have 1 to 2L juice jars or 2L pulp containers.

Energy ratings of 170 to 300W are typical, with some models even reaching 800W. Products intended for processing whole fruit generate at least 300W.

Prices are mainly determined by the housing and blade material, power and functions. The quality of electrical parts such as wires and switches also affects quotes.

Low-end products have 1.2mm-thick ABS housings and cables with a diameter of 0.5mm. Blades typically come in 202 stainless steel that may rust after extended periods of use. Filters utilize steel that is prone to bending and dents.

Motors are capable of 8,000 to 11,000rpm and range between 170 and 300W in power. Units can usually be set at only one or two speeds.

The shells of midrange products are made of 1.2 or 1.5mm ABS, die-cast aluminum or stainless steel. Models generate 300 to 600W of power, and can reach 11,000 to 15,000rpm with up to six speeds. The speed controls are stepless. The wires used have a diameter of 0.75mm.

Releases at this price point have blades made of domestic or imported 304 stainless or CrMn steel. The latter is five to 10 times more rigid than those of low-end units. Such parts stay sharp even after extended use.

Midrange juicers boast a higher juice extraction rate than less-expensive versions. Quotes are $16 to $30.

Typical high-end products utilize 1.5mm-thick stainless steel as the housing material. Motors reach 15,000 to 22,000rpm, and generate 600 to 800W with more than six speeds. Blades are usually made of imported CrMn.

Upscale releases have a high extraction rate, stepless speed controls, heat protection systems and 0.75mm-thick wires. LCDs are optional. Quotes are $31 to $40.

In addition, some China makers offer models that combine juicer and blender functionality. Such products can also perform chopping, slicing and grinding. Prices range from $7 to $60.

The latest blenders, meanwhile, utilize heat-resistant and durable materials that increase energy efficiency while lengthening service life.

Models are available in a capacity of 0.25 to 1.6L. Power is between 200 and 520W, while speed settings rangefrom one to 12.

Most products are 1 to 1.5L, generate 300 to 350W of energy, and have two or three speeds and ABS shells.

Low-end blenders come with ABS housings and PC jars. The power output is between 200 and 300W.

Products in this category have two or three speeds. Blades are typically made of local 202 or 304 stainless steel. Prices are $7 to $12.

Pulse settings, stainless steel housings and glass jars are standard among midrange models, as are 300 to 600W motors with three to five speeds. Blue LEDs are optional.

Some makers use imported 304 stainless steel for blades, while others employ CrMn steel. Quotes are $13 to $20.

High-end releases are multifunction units capable of grinding and ice crushing. These have 600 to 800W motors and more than 10 speeds.

The majority of upscale units utilize imported stainless steel for the housings and blades. Die-cast aluminum is an alternative for shells. Prices range between $21 and $60.

Industry overview

China is home to an estimated 500 suppliers of juicers, blenders and food processors. Of these, more than 80 percent are export-oriented manufacturers. Small and midsize operations dominate the line.

Companies offer juicers, blenders and other motor-driven small kitchen appliances such as hand mixers, vegetable cutters and soybean milk makers. These products have similar mechanisms and structures.

Privately owned suppliers make up 70 percent of the industry, with foreign-invested enterprises accounting for the rest.

Operations of the first type are mainly small or midsize, while the latter are typically large.

Small companies have annual revenue of $1 million to $3 million. There are fewer than 200 workers.

Such makers usually turn out one or two appliance types, with a monthly output of less than 50,000 units. Some only perform assembly while subcontracting other processes to local specialists and outsourcing components.

The number of small operations with plastic-injection and spray-painting capability, however, is increasing.

Midsize companies have in-house R&D teams and invest a significant portion of revenue in product development.

Such suppliers generate between $3 million and $5 million per year.

These are 200 to 500 employees. The monthly production capacity is generally 50,000 to 150,000 units.

Some established midsize makers reach $10 million in annual sales. They have in-house molding facilities, and can manufacture upscale products to avoid the fierce competition in the low-end segment.

At large companies, yearly revenue can top out at $50 million. These operations have strong R&D capability and typically boast multiple factories for various types of small kitchen appliances. The monthly production capacity is up to 500,000 units. There are more than 1,000 employees.

Most large makers are vertically integrated, making components such as plastic and metal parts, blades, PCBs, motors and molds in-house. Some have separate workshops for specific components.

These companies usually adopt imported high-speed or fully automatic machinery. A number are capable of lead-free PCB processing.

Some large suppliers export under in-house brands.

In addition, sizeable makers utilize imported materials. Fu Li Bao Electric Appliance Co. Ltd, for example, employs plastic from Japan.

Foshan Geuwa Electric Appliance Co. Ltd and Shenzhen Kavbao Household Commodity Co. Ltd procure stainless steel from South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

In contrast, many small companies use mainland China-purchased materials to lower costs.

The traditional markets of the US and the EU are still the main focus of domestic suppliers of blenders, juicers and food processors. Shipments to these areas are typically of midrange and high-end products.

Exports to emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East, on the other hand, usually consist of low-end and midrange units.

China's small kitchen appliances industry is seen by many suppliers to be recovering from the effects of the global economic situation. Some enterprises experienced an increase in exports of about 20 percent in the second half of 2009.

Although most companies plan to keep prices stable, a number expect quotes to rise between 5 and 10 percent to meet higher material outlay.

This is due to plastic costs, which were affected by increases in global oil prices. With expenditure for nickel escalating, quotes for 304 stainless steel grew $147 per ton. The average price now ranges from $2,800 to $3,400 per ton.

In June 2009, ABS rates were at $1,840 per ton.

Production hubs

Shunde district and Cixi city in the provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang are China's main production hubs for juicers, blenders and food processors.

Most Shunde suppliers are midsize and large locally owned or foreign-invested. These operations offer midrange and high-end models, with the former dominating output. Units from the area are typically made of steel because of the material's abundant local supply.

Cixi is home to more than 200 makers of the line. It has strong plastic and molding industries, and low labor costs. There are also a number of plastic-processing and molding factories in nearby Yuyao and Taizhou.

This article "Food processors: Efficiency, bigger capacity lead trends" is originally posted in Global Sources.

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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