If John Lewis’s recent consumer statistics are anything to go by, you’re more likely to get a juicer and packet of kale in your Christmas stocking than chocolates
According to the retailer John Lewis, sales of kitchen appliances have more than doubled in the run up to Christmas. No surprises there: we all want to be bakers and baristas these days. But John Lewis also reports that alongside the usual breadmakers, stand mixers and coffee machines, a new trend in popular kitchen gadgetry is emerging: the health food appliance.
The department store has recorded a 93 per cent rise in sales of what they describe as ‘health-inspired’ kitchen appliances such as juicers, steamers and smoothie makers, and simultaneously Waitrose has seen a huge boost in sales of non-Christmassy fruit and vegetables such as mangos and kale. Knee-deep as we currently are in the Christmas food preparations, is it possible that the dread of all this eating we’re about to do is affecting what we’re buying in the run-up to Christmas? Are we subconsciously planning for our New Year detox even as we’re stocking up for our Christmas feast?
Will Jones, buyer for small electricals at John Lewis, says that the figures could be symptomatic of a broader national health trend. “As a nation we’re becoming more considered in our choices about the food we eat and how it’s made. We’ve seen a number of new healthy cooking kitchen gadgets making their way onto the market in time for Christmas, and we expect them to be bestsellers.”
Topping the list of the most popular health gadget gifts are two popcorn makers: the Gourmet Gadgetry Retro Popcorn Maker and Eddingtons Popcorn Maker (below), sales of which are up 54 per cent on last year. Though you may not think it, plain popcorn is actually one of the lowest calorie snacks: a 25g serving of unpopped kernels makes a large bowlful of air-popped corn, containing only around 200 calories and just over a gram of fat.
Dr Carina Norris, nutritionist and author of four of the ‘You Are What You Eat’ books says “It’s only what we add to popcorn – butter, toffee and the like – that bumps up the calorie, fat and sugar count. If you pop your own popcorn at home, without oil, you can flavour it up with just a tiny pinch of salt, some cinnamon if you like it sweet and want some festive flavouring, or even a sprinkling of smoked paprika, depending on how much of a kick you’re after.”
Besides popcorn makers, John Lewis also reports that juicer sales are up 143 per cent on last year and smoothie makers are 60 per cent more popular than Christmas 2012. Grills, steamers, blenders and low fat fryers are all doing well too as we apparently start committing to a better way of life post-Christmas.
Both men and women are driving this trend for healthy kitchen appliances, it seems. The Vitamix blender (pictured, top) is another product in demand, with sales up 70 per cent this Christmas. “Men are buying it as fast as women,” says Jones. “Its robust look and two horsepower motor means it has the tech to impress as well.” After all, if you’re going on a health kick, you’ve got to be able to brag about it too, right?
Supporting the theory that we’d rather get healthy than indulge are Waitrose’s figures on the soaring sales of vegetables such as chard and kale ahead of the festive season. We’re buying 32 per cent more of these green powerhouse veggies than we did this time last year, as well as 17 per cent more avocados and 30 per cent more mangos.
However, there may be a less virtuous reason for these nutritious purchases, suggests Nicola Williams, buyer for Waitrose. “People are looking to green juices to strengthen their bodies in the party season”, she says. Perhaps, then, this smoothie machine and vegetable stockpiling is nothing but a Christmas party hangover-inspired self preservation technique. Still, at least our intentions are good.
Read this article as it originally appeared in The Telegraph