Founded | 1883
Headquarters | Wuppertal, Germany
Top Executive | Fredrik Lundqvist, CEO Thermomix USA and Canada
Product Category | Cooking appliance
Vorwerk, a German direct sales company founded in 1883, is growing its operations in the United States, introducing a revolutionary way to bring people back to the table. The Thermomix, Vorwerk’s multi-use kitchen appliance, has been inspiring home cooks around the world for over 50 years and is now making a splash in American kitchens. Perfect timing, as all of us are more than ready to enjoy a great meal with the ones we love.
The simple act of sharing a meal with friends and family has become more precious than ever before, after far too long spent apart.
A Legacy of Family and Innovation
While perhaps an unfamiliar name on this side of the pond, Vorwerk has a nearly 140-year history in Europe, primarily as a provider of small home appliances. You could say it’s the $3.4 billion company most American ears have never heard of. The company is family owned and operated to this day, serving 60 markets around the world with two core businesses—Thermomix and Kobold vacuum cleaners.
Fredrik Lundqvist, CEO of Thermomix USA and Canada, has been with the company for most of his career, most recently spending 10 years in Asia successfully launching Thermomix China. He now operates the American and Canadian business from Thermomix’s North American headquarters in Thousand Oaks, California.
“I’ve been with the company for 18 years and appreciate how the founding family continues to make an impact on the daily activity and future of Vorwerk even today. Their vision and commitment as a family business has guided the company since the beginning and is one of the key factors to its success.”
A company which now taps into modern technology to meet consumers’ evolving smart kitchen needs, Thermomix’s early beginnings were inspired by a desire to make cooking simpler. In the 1960s, one of the products in the Vorwerk line was a blender. One of the Vorwerk sales managers, Hansjorg Gerber, was watching a sales demonstration that involved using the blender to make soup—adding ingredients, lighting the stove to heat the water, transferring the blended recipe to the stovetop, and he wondered if one appliance could replace all those individual steps.
“I like this story because it really shows that the Thermomix was born, not somewhere in an innovation lab, but with our customers in a real situation,” Fredrik explained. “Thermomix was born over 50 years ago out of a very simple idea, combining a mixer with a heating element. That one great idea spurned the success of what’s now a global business.”
That first Thermomix, the VM2000, was the first Vorwerk product to combine food processing and heating. Over the next five decades, the Thermomix would evolve to do so much more. Today, the latest Thermomix, the TM6, is a Wi-Fi-enabled “kitchen assistant” with 24 cooking functions—from simple blending to sophisticated temperature control cooking—capable of delivering consistent, restaurant-quality results at home.
The all-in-one countertop kitchen appliance—featured in Oprah, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, Goop and more—can execute over 80,000 recipes from start to finish with the ability to weigh, prep and prepare meals in a variety of cooking modes—from a simple sauté to a high brow sous vide. Cookidoo®, the company’s digital cooking platform, is the hub for an ever-growing library of Thermomix recipes, all accessible on the appliance’s 6.8-inch full-color touchscreen display screen. Home cooks simply choose their recipe and follow the step-by-step directions as the Thermomix automatically adjusts the cook time, temperature and speed for each step. But Fredrik is quick to point out, that even with all its technology and capabilities, Thermomix is still a simple piece of German engineering intended to make meal preparation easy and enjoyable.
“Over the past 50 years, Thermomix has spearheaded innovation in simple, healthy and delicious meal preparation and opened the door to the smart cooking category with our two most recent models,” Fredrik said. “Despite the high technology, it’s still a simple tool anyone can use, and which adapts to you and your family. You can follow recipes step by step from the screen or cook creations on your own with your personal style.”
One Product, One Kitchen, One Customer at a Time
Very few companies in the direct sales industry offer a single product, but Thermomix believes their one-product approach allows them to prioritize their customers and deliver exceptional service.
“Thermomix’s one product approach is unique: Instead of creating more items to clutter a kitchen, we can focus on our commitment to consumers and ensure they find daily value in their lives with easy-to-make and delicious healthy meals. Ideally, we hope you’re so excited you will want to join us or recommend to your friends,” he said. “We are committed to offering very durable products that are also future focused.”
The growing team of U.S. Thermomix Independent Consultants joins the broader field of 100,000 consultants worldwide. Rather than a traditional starter or business kit, prospective consultants simply join the company when they’re ready to share Thermomix with friends and family. Some consultants own a Thermomix already; others participate in the company’s TM4U Program and earn the appliance through four personal sales within the 90-day Smart Start Period. Once a consultant joins, they’re provided with mentorship, education and tools to start sharing.
“The one thing that really defines our culture is our openness; anyone with a deep appreciation for food can be successful here,” Fredrik shared. “Our consultants come from very different backgrounds. Some are excited with the prospects of earnings and professional growth, while others are here just because they love cooking, and they want to learn more. Whichever the case, all enjoy and appreciate the sense of community. We’re all very passionate about food and that makes for an excellent culture.”
Thermomix is primarily sold through consultants. All other sales are directly through the company website, but even those sales include pop-up suggestions to choose a consultant to work with because that’s where the true magic happens. As consultants share Thermomix in cooking demonstrations filled with all the sounds, smells and flavors of that experience, customers can fully understand the product and all that it can achieve. “Thermomix isn’t just bringing family and friends back to the table, these live, in-person cooking demonstrations are bringing consultants and customers back to the personal interactions that are the hallmark of direct selling,” said Fredrik.
“After so many Zoom meetings and telephone conferences, we’re thrilled to come back together once again,” he said. “We believe it’s important to see, feel, and smell Thermomix in action and are working on new concepts—such as experience centers—where our consultants can meet amongst themselves and with prospective customers. A passion for food and human connection are the key ingredients for Thermomix success around the world. I know it’s the right recipe for us here as well in the U.S.”
As Thermomix grows stateside and adapts “the recipe” for American customers and consultants, Fredrik is both excited about what can be learned and confident in the company’s approach to building a new market.
“With just a few years under our belt, we’re excited about Thermomix’ prospects for success in America,” he explained. “Direct sales originated in the U.S., and the whole world has a lot to learn from this market and from this industry. We want to make the best of the company’s international success by tapping into the incredible opportunities in the North American market. We’re not going to be a German company. We’re going to be an American company with German roots.”
From the October 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.