- While Thermomix and Lidl are suing each other over their kitchen machines, Vorwerk, the designer of the Thermomix, launches the Thermomix Friend.
- Sold from 399 euros, this little robot wants to support its elders, the Thermomix TM5 and TM6 by offering to cook in parallel and save time on the creation of complete menus.
- The idea is tasty, but the number of recipes involved is still limited. And the Thermomix Friend cannot work independently of the TM5 or TM6.
A new friend comes to the table. Its name: the Thermomix Friend. It is started by Vorwerk. As war rages between food processor maker Thermomix and Lidl, accused of patent infringement with his robot low cost Mr. Cuisine Connect, Vorwerk wants to innovate in a hypercompetitive universe. Resembling a mini Thermomix, sold from 399 euros, the Friend responds according to its designer “to the expectations of customers who want to save time, in multifunction and ease of use”.
To save time, of course, but not to save money. Because despite its affordable price, the Friend was not designed to replace the original device, much more expensive, but to supplement it.
Anyone who has ever used a Thermomix knows how practical this multifunctional food processor can be in a kitchen with its 7,000 step-by-step recipes. But also limited. With him, it is difficult to cook dishes for more than four people, but above all, it is impossible to prepare several recipes simultaneously. To start making the monkfish with red butter, you have to wait until the pistachio bread is finished. Not practical. Solution: the Friend.
Taking the appearance of a mini-robot, the device which uses the same bowl as that of the Thermomix TM5 and TM6 “will allow cooking in parallel”, explains Nathalie Gamby, responsible for customer relations at Vorwerk France. Suddenly, the Thermomix Friend plays the extension of the Thermomix TM6 launched in April 2019. It is a slave robot. Connected via Bluetooth, the two devices can thus work together. During a recipe, all you have to do is press “Send” on the screen of the “master” Thermomix to go to a parallel preparation step on the Friend.
Top time lasagna
This is all the easier as the two robots share the same bowl, the famous and unique Thermomix container with a capacity of 2.2 liters which is used to make all the recipes. Thus, after having mixed ingredients on the TM6, it is possible to simmer them on the Friend, while a new recipe is started on the first robot. Example: we will use the Friend to simmer the bolognese sauce and at the same time we will prepare a bechamel sauce in the TM6 for a lasagna recipe. Mamma mia !
40 compatible recipes to start
So the Friend seems ideal in some circumstances, but not in all. The reason ? This robot is not multifunction. You can of course adjust the cooking temperature and duration, simmer ingredients, steam up to 120 ° C, but the appliance does not mix. Its blades only turn in one direction, where on the TM5 and TM6, they turn in both directions, depending on whether you want to mix or cook. In addition, the Friend cannot weigh in.
Above all, as we have seen, it cannot operate independently of its “master” robot. However, we would have liked to be able to use it for simple recipes like those for a pancake batter, thus avoiding having to call the TM6, which is much more cumbersome. But no. Another drawback is that there are currently only 40 recipes compatible with Friend. Vorwerk promises many more quickly. Finally, if the owners of the old-generation TM5 robot will be able to use Friend’s services, due to the lack of Bluetooth on board the TM5, they will not be able to transfer the recipes automatically. It will be necessary to enter the different stages manually.
Three thousand new advisers
According to Vorwerk, the newcomer should allow complete menus to be completed in less than an hour, where more time is currently needed. Sold at 499 euros with its bowl, or at 399 euros without, the TM6 accessory device (sold 1,359 euros) is only marketed through advisers at the option of “Tupperware” type meetings, or workshops digital (developed due to Covid-19). There are currently 10,000 Thermomix advisers in France, according to Vorwerk, against 7,000 in January 2020.
The strong development of this brigade, which introduces the brand’s products to potential buyers, can be explained in two ways. Increased competition from cheaper robots (including that of Lidl sold “only” 400 euros) would have caused a fall in sales of the Thermomix, which preferred to strengthen its sales force rather than lower the price of its robot. Another argument: the renewed interest of the French for food processors due to the pandemic. While restaurant doors remain desperately closed, 26% of French people have decided to cook more and 52% to adopt new eating habits during the last 12 months, according to Vorweck, determined to meet this new demand.