Urban Indians are migrating to bigger refrigerators that are bottom mounted, enhancing space and efficiency. Let’s explore this trend
May be because of the hot and sultry conditions in many parts of India, or the fact that we are voracious eaters, refrigerators, historically, have been a must-have gadget in our kitchens. From the days of the humble Kelvinator fridge, with heat dissipating metal grills at the back, and a mini freezer cabinet, we have come a long way.
In the late 90s, self-defrosting technology replaced the much dreaded button that our grandparents had to activate to ensure that the fridge doesn’t look like an igloo. In a few years, the capacity of the average fridge increased as the grills became concealed, and the freezer cabinet became a separate unit.
Getting smarter year after year
Just before the IoT revolution, double door refrigerators made an entry into the Indian market and brands like Samsung allowed you to sync them up with your smart phone to get alerts when things were running out inside so you could trigger an online order alert. Samsung went a step further and smartened its refrigerators by including a display screen that showed you what was inside, and also allowed you to watch TV on your refrigerator while you cook.
It didn’t stop there. The same company recently launched in Nordic, a Family Hub Refrigerator that comes in-built with a native dating app which analyses the contents inside your fridge, and if you happen to be single, hook you up with other singles with similar food interests. But somewhere in this journey of three decades, a fundamental flaw was not addressed. Until now.
Moving the freezer to the bottom
While the percentage of vegetarians in India versus meat eaters can turn out to be a controversial discussion, processed meat consumption in India is embarrassingly low compared to global average. In this scenario, our need for a freezer definitely comes must lower in the order compared to the regular cooling compartment.
Of course, there is the ice and frozen food that can be stored, but the importance of such commodities comes after the cooling unit which gets opened and closed at least 20 times in a day. Isn’t it a surprise then, that the most accessible part of the fridge is the least used?
Most manufacturers of late, have realized this challenge and a few of them have moved the freezer compartment right to the bottom of the fridge, making the cooling compartment bigger, more accessible and user friendly. Welcome to the world of bottom mounted refrigerators.
Options for the consumer
The most obvious advantage of a bottom mounted refrigerator lies in its sheer design, whereby the least used items are tucked away at the bottom. There is also a perception of space in the general compartment, and as technologies have evolved, the freezer at the bottom can be converted into a regular cooling compartment, if the need arises. In terms of design, manufacturers choose between a drawer or a door for the bottom mounted freezers. Now, let’s look at a few manufacturers who have recently launched bottom mounted refrigerators:
Haier has launched an all-new range of BMRs and claims that it reduces bending of users by 90% as compared to conventional top mount refrigerators. Haier’s products claim to come with built-in smart sensors and conversion which helps in automatically adjusting the refrigerator’s cooling temperature, assisting in smart cooling as well as effective energy consumption. Shifting the freezer to the bottom has allowed the company to operate them on a Twin Inverter and Dual Fan technology with separate cooling fans for both refrigerator and freezer, along with a fruit and vegetable crisper that helps in maintaining high freshness level both in the refrigerator and the freezer. Of course, the freezer can double up as a fridge whenever needed.
If you need a really big refrigerator, in excess of 500 litres, Bosch has a range of offerings, that is clearly distinguishable with its metallic steel doors and a neatly placed control panel that lets you set dynamic cooling to the different compartments. In this case, the bottom mounted freezer is a miniature replica of the main cabinet with similar door action, although it has a centralized control panel. A relatively new entrant into the refrigerator market, Panasonic has recently launched a bottom mounted refrigerator that comes with an in-built stabilizer and incorporates what it calls a reciprocatory inverter compressor technology which is energy efficient.
From about 175 litres to well in excess of 500 litres, bottom mounted refrigerators are here to stay, and urban India has embraced them with open arms. In the months to come, we can await many more brands ride the wave and surprise us.
This story has been submitted by Vishnu Anand. He is working as a technology and business journalist under the guidance of veteran journalist Anand Parthasarathy (Ex-The Hindu).