Tovala eases consumers into smart oven concept

Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix™ indicates that consumers have strong interest in purchasing smart kitchen appliances. Among security system owners (those already in the smart home market), 38% expressed strong intention to purchase smart kitchen appliances in the next three months. The COVID-19 pandemic is boosting consumer interest in smart kitchen gear, as people at home want to eat better and cook better.

As both a tech company and a food company, Chicago-based Tovala has an opportunity to satisfy this growing consumer interest in smart food preparation. The company manufactures smart ovens, which it sells for $299, and it produces fresh food meal kits ($11.99 each) to go in the oven. Tovala also provides software to scan the food information on the package, ensuring that the contents are cooked correctly.  

Tovala recently completed a funding round of $30 million on top of investments made by Comcast Ventures and Tyson Foods; last June, the company had raised $20 million in Series B funding. Tovala is riding the wave of people who, due to COVID-19, are spending more time at home and want to eat fresh foods, but don’t want to take the time to shop or read recipes.

As a tech firm, you might assume that Tovala views other electronics companies as competitors, but the startup is wisely partnering with the big fish. Tovala, for example, has a deal with LG to embed its software in LG ovens, and this could be the first of other similar partnerships as global electronics firms size up the smart appliance sector.

“LG and Samsung have long been eyeing the connected kitchen as a growth opportunity, but appliances are simply not something that consumers replace frequently,” said Stuart Sikes, Senior Vice President at Interpret. “We expect consumers to embrace smart small appliances in the near-term, which will increase demand for smart dishwashers, ovens and refrigerators in the future.”