By Frances Leate, Editor of Utopia Kitchen & Bathroom magazine
It’s a hard life this magazine editing business, I must admit. Last week I was invited to the biggest consumer products fair in Europe, IFA 2017, set in the buzzing German city of Berlin.
My hosts were Beko – the self-confessed ‘champion of the middle classes’, who manufactures a whole host of good quality, affordable kitchen appliances from washing machines, cookers and fridge freezers to juicers.
Having just bought a Beko 9kg capacity washing machine myself, I was keen to know more about this forward-thinking Turkish company, who sell a staggering 12 million kitchen appliances in the UK every year.
Beko has a huge exhibition space at IFA 2017 (running at Messe Berlin until September 6th), showcasing their very latest innovations and award-winning products. As well as ambitious plans for expansion (they’re hoping to double in size over the next few years) the company are hoping to be carbon neutral by 2025.
The company is also number 74 on patented technologies in the world (pretty impressive for a kitchen appliance brand) and at the forefront of the ‘connected home’ revolution.
New products in the pipeline for Beko include washing machines that know when their filter needs changing, sending an alert to the manufacturer before they break down, a cooker capable of learning hundreds of recipes by heart and a fridge that can tell you what is (and isn’t) in it while you are out food shopping (my husband struggles to do that, so I for one am very impressed).
While I quite like the idea of washing clothes or cooking a meal from the ease of my iPhone (while beavering away on the next issue of Utopia at the office) the reality is, those days are probably a good few years away yet.
As well as sustainability and new technology, Beko’s CEO Hakan Bulgurlu has another agenda firmly at the forefront of his mind – one inspired not by making money, but by a firm sense of social responsibility.
“By 2025, 70 million children will be suffering from childhood obesity,” explains the father of three. “That’s why healthy eating is at the heart of our business. We want to make people’s lives easier with innovative technology but also, crucially, we want to make people healthier – we want to save people’s lives.”
Hakan has felt compelled to do something about the growing numbers of children worldwide classified as obese. So, during the Beko conference at IFA last week, the company launched their ‘Eat Like a Pro’ global campaign with the support of players from Barcelona FC and healthy eating Instagram queen, Ella Mills aka ‘Deliciously Ella’, who shared her incredible story with industry insiders and journalists covering the event.
“I had hit rock bottom,” admits the British entrepreneur, who currently has well over a million social media followers who watch her cook up a never ending array of delicious but healthy recipes. “I became very unwell in 2011 with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I was bed ridden and had to take medication, I was struggling both mentally and physically. That’s when I started researching about diet, nutrition and lifestyle. I didn’t have anything to lose at this point, but I couldn’t even cook, I had no idea what healthy eating even was so the solution for me was to start a food blog and document my journey.”
And the rest is history – the British author and cook is widely thought to be one of the wealthiest food bloggers in history!
With the help of Ella and Barcelona FC players, Beko’s campaign will reach homes, schools and communities all over the world, delivering their ‘healthy eating’ message.
“What’s so great about this campaign is that we have world famous footballers on our side, they are huge role models for young people,” says Hakan. “If I tell my kids to eat broccoli, there’s a good chance they won’t listen, but if Lionel Messi tells them, they’re going to do it!”
Well, it has certainly been a fascinating insight into this impressive appliance brand, and one thing is for sure, I’ll never look at my Beko washing machine in quite the same way again…Beko | beko.co.uk