Today Drop and Kenwood announced a new Wi-Fi connected multicooker food processor called the kCook Multi Smart. The new countertop appliance, available this month in France for a retail price of €799.9 (about $980), is the first of a series of products that the two plan to develop in coming years under a new partnership also announced today.
The new product isn’t the first multicooker from Kenwood, a division of De’Longhi Group (and not to be confused with Kenwood of Japan), but is the first to be connected and utilize a smart kitchen software platform. The new appliance, which uses the Drop software to follow step-by-step cooking guidance when cooking a meal, has access to hundreds of machine-integrated recipes from a digital recipe database which are browsable to the user through the Drop app.
The kCook Multi Smart also comes with a scale created utilizing Drop’s technology (Drop’s original product was a smart scale) to enable app-monitored ingredient measurement as part of the cooking experience. The inclusion of a scale is interesting in that this part of Drop’s portfolio is currently part of a multiyear legal battle with Perfect Company. This deal is a sign that Drop and Kenwood believe the legal case will not have an impact long-term.
In talking about the partnership, Kenwood CEO March Welch said he believes the new multicooker is the first connected kitchen product to really nail the consumer experience.
“The dialogue and discussion has been how to give the consumer a first class experience when trying to use a connected product. My personal view is today in the kitchen nobody is doing a good job with that, and I think our product is the first product that truly enhances the consumer experience.”
For Drop, the deal represents a significant milestone in that it is the first partner product developed from scratch based on the Drop platform. While the company inked earlier partnerships with large appliance brands such as Bosch and GE Appliances, those deals were non-exclusive integrations of the Drop software with appliances already in the market. With the kCook Multi Smart, the Drop software and scale technology are an integral part of the product experience.
The deal is also important in that it puts Drop on the countertop, where categories like the multicooker are growing quickly. Countertop appliances also generally have lower price points and faster replacement cycles than built-in appliances, which is important for companies like Drop that build businesses around software licensing models.
The deal could also have a longer-term impact as the two companies have indicated that the kCook Multi Smart is only the first of a number of products they will co-develop under the Kenwood brand. And while the deal is currently only for the Kenwood brand, it will be interesting to see if it will eventually extend other brands under the De’Longhi Group, a multinational appliance conglomerate with roughly $2 billion in annual revenues.
You can see the new kCook in action in the promo reel below: