In the “do we really need this?” department, Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux LLC is showing off a prototype refrigerator with a flat-screen computer in its door for surfing the Web.

The company, known here by the brand name Frigidaire, suggests that the refrigerator-computer will be perfect for the kitchen manager – the politically correct term Electrolux uses for homemaker – to plan meals, shop, send e-mail and even watch TV. The appliance contains a touch-screen interface and a bar-code scanner for keeping track of food purchases. Screen Fridge made its premier at the international trade show Domotechnica in Cologne, Germany in February.

Electrolux says the Screen Fridge, which has a 233MHz PC and runs Microsoft Windows 95, is getting a good response from food retailers.

“This development takes the Internet right into the room where people spend much of their time and make most of their weekly purchasing decisions: the kitchen,” says Graham Drage of Electrolux’s New Business unit.

Now if they can get it to cook and wash dishes, they’ll really have something.