Kitchen specialist, Designer Habitat, more than doubles sales of VonShef brand of health-led gadgets

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Fast Track 100 business Designer Habitat – the kitchen and homeware specialist – has more than doubled sales of its VonShef brand of health-led gadgets since last year, thanks to the continued trend for ‘clean eating’ and influential health gurus, such as Deliciously Ella.

Mark Januszewski and Craig Foster, Designer Habitat low res

Business partners Mark Januszewski and Craig Foster

The Manchester-based company, which sells its two in-house brands – VonShef and VonHaus – to consumers, recorded a 129 per cent increase in sales of juicers, pressers, blenders, smoothie makers and whisks between July 2015 and January 2016, compared with the same period the previous year. The surge in consumer interest also saw the number of units sold rise by almost 160 per cent.

It comes as consumer analyst Mintel reveals that, nationally, sales of kitchen gadgets have soared by 41 per cent during the last five years, increasing from £635 million in 2011 to almost £900 million. In particular, sales of liquidisers, juicers and blenders have increased by 145 per cent over the last five years to reach an estimated £225 million in 2015.

The huge hike in sales at Designer Habitat has been attributed to the ongoing popularity of healthy eating, spurred on by a new crowd of celebrity chefs and ‘clean eating’ advocates who champion smoothies or juices that are rich in fruit and vegetables in place of sugar-laden treats.

Mark Januszewski, CEO of Designer Habitat, believes that the trend for superfoods and improved access to nutritional advice means consumers are now much more savvy when it comes to homemade meals.

He said: “Traditionally, retailers like us see a spike in health-led products in January, when the ‘new year, new you’ mantra is in full swing after the Christmas blow-out. However, 2015 was particularly interesting as we noticed a consistently high number of sales being processed for juicers, blenders and smoothie makers.

“This surge in popularity is not only down to the increased desire among consumers to keep their health in check, but also the ever-growing trend to ‘tweet and eat’ – preparing and sharing a smoothie recipe is a staple of many a social media account, for example.

“It’s also become very fashionable and cost-effective to stock your kitchen with the latest time and money-saving gadgets, as it far outweighs the price of purchasing healthy snacks on the go.”

Januszewski said: “When it comes to consumer trends, we have our finger firmly on the pulse and are constantly developing products that tap into whatever the latest craze is.

“Maintaining efficient logistics and clear lines of communication with our suppliers allows us to have quick turnaround times and bring new products to market within tight timeframes. We’re now looking forward to monitoring what catches the public’s imagination this year and creating innovative products to meet demand.”

Launched in 2009 by former school friends Mark Januszewski and Craig Foster, Designer Habitat has gone from strength to strength, supplying retailers in the UK and Europe, while selling direct to the consumer via its own e-commerce site, Domu, as well as through Amazon and Tesco online.

Among the health-themed products experiencing a rise in sales were the VonShef 4-in-1 Blender and the VonShef Citrus Juicer, as well as a selection of smoothie makers.

Now, Designer Habitat is looking forward to expanding its existing offering by adding more SKUs and new product ranges. As part of its strategy for 2016, the company is planning to grow its Gold Coast collection, which is a range of home fitness essentials, such as dumbbells and free weights.