Highlights from the Home + Housewares Show 2012

March 20, 2012

Every year, we’re excited to hit the aisles of the McCormick Center to check out the latest products, trends, and the hottest colors at the Home & Housewares show in Chicago. This year, there were well over 2,100 companies showcasing their products—from cookware, bakeware, and cutlery, to a plethora of kitchen gadgets, coffee makers, and floor care products. A few of the key trends and products we discovered are below.

Eye-Popping Colors

In order from upper left to lower left: KitchenAid Catalina Line of Mixers, Accent colors on knife handles, Le Creuset Marsellie Blue, OBH Nordica Gazelle (Soda Machine)

Bright, eye-popping colors dominated the show floor. For those that attend the show each year, it’s no surprise to see an entire wall of different colored KitchenAid mixers when you enter the Lakeside Building. This year, the company introduced two bold new colors to their extensive palette—a very vibrant Crystal Blue and a Frosted Pearl. The Crystal Blue is part of their Catalina Collection, which includes older colors like Majestic Yellow, Tangerine, and Green Apple. The Frosted Pearl will most likely be a huge hit on bridal registries this year.

Le Creuset brightened their line with the launch of their new Marseille Blue, and Staub introduced their latest cast iron cookware color in Saffron, a dark golden hue. Several companies were also using automotive metallic paint on their products for a longer lasting shine.

In an effort to compete with KitchenAid’s well-known stand mixers, Bodum introduced their BISTRO electric stand mixer. Bodum’s booth is always one of our favorites, and we especially liked this product because of the see-through glass top and bold lime green color. The mixer has a very clean and modern look. We also liked their choice of a chimp for advertising purposes—the large screen definitely stood out at their booth.

Bodum Bistro Stand Mixer

We loved the abundance of color everywhere and believe that it encourages playfulness and sets the mood for a more enjoyable experience in the home and kitchen.

Coffee Brewers That Cater To You
It seems that each year the number of single-serve coffee makers seen at the show increases dramatically. It is no longer about having a simple coffee maker. Company’s are now offering units designed to brew to your specifications.

Our favorite was Keurig’s latest product—the Vue™. It has the same modern and sleek look as Keurig’s other Single Cup Brewers, but gives you control over the strength, size, and temperature of your coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and iced beverages, as well as new frothy café beverages (which we’re very excited about!). The Vue packs are also recyclable which provides an added bonus to this design.

Keurig Vue™

Going Green

Full Circle featured very clean, stylish, and functional products made from sustainable and renewable resources. Their name refers to its thinking about the product life cycle as circular rather than linear, so that production causes a smaller environmental impact, products last for a long time, and leave little trace when disposed. Their “Wherever Water—Lemon Water on the Go” was one of our favorites. The built-in lemon reamer makes it easy to add flavor and avoids the added calories and sugar found in juices and sodas.

Top Row: Full Circle "Wherever Water—Lemon Water on the Go"; Bottom Row: SodaStream Fizz Home Soda Maker

Since SodaStream’s debut a couple of years ago, they have become even more well-known among eco-conscious consumers. Their Fizz Home Soda Maker allows users to make their own sodas and have a green alternative to bottled beverages. The Fizz helps consumers monitor their CO2 consumption with its built-in patented Fizz Chip. This product was shown in a number of different colors.

Space-Savers and Gadgets for a Colorful Cooking Environment
Items that fold up or nest within each other were huge at the show. Consumers are looking for ways to save room in their kitchens and these products solve that problem. Robinson Home showed its Squish line of collapsible colanders and other kitchenware in an assortment of bold colors.

Joseph Joseph never fails to feature innovative and practical kitchen gadgets. Their nest utensils set includes five utensils, with magnets embedded in the handles, which nest into each other, saving lots of space and eliminating clutter. A second product that caught our eye for its functionality is the new Lotus Steamer, which folds away easily for storage. The company’s choice of vibrant colors certainly enhances the visual appeal of these products.

Left to Right: Joseph Joseph Lotus Steamer, Joseph Joseph Magentic Utensils, Kizmos™ "Get Happy" line, Squish Collapsible Colanders

Kizmos™ featured an array of easy-to-use kitchen products that are geared toward college kids, however, we believe they might be a little more fun for even younger cooks. The “Get Happy” line incorporates smiley faces on all of the products—from kitchen tools and gadgets, to cookware and cutlery.

The Emerging Adult Lunch Market

Aladdin To-Go Food Containers

Workplace trends show that more and more people are bringing lunch from home. Consumers are looking for insulated, fashionable, and functional lunch products. Aladdin has been in the portable lunch category for a number of years, and the company’s newest offering in their emerging adult lunch category are Insulated To-Go Food Containers. It’s the perfect product for taking homemade lunches and leftovers on the go.

Other lunch introductions at the show included PackIt®, a freezable personal cooler that keeps food cold for up to ten hours. They offer different sizes and a number of fun designs. Cosmodo Corp., a licensed line from Frigidaire, also featured their fashionable portable lunch bag at the show. Consumers are trying to eat healthier and like the cost savings of a homemade meal, which are major reasons this market is becoming increasingly popular.

Homz Smart Storage™ App
Apps are everywhere. Homz, who offers home storage and organization solutions, featured their newest app, the Homz Smart Storage™. It is essentially a database of all of your valuables that you have in storage. The app organizes all your possessions—whether in the basement, storage room, garage, attic, or elsewhere—fast, simply and comfortably. It makes it easy to locate the photo album you stored five years ago or even who you lent something to (and what) a few months ago. This is definitely something we could use!

Homz Smart Storage™ Application

Overall, the many exhibitors, buyers, and trade professionals at the show offered a strong and positive outlook for the year ahead. With so much to see at the show and so many opportunities ahead, we are excited about 2012 and look forward to designing products and services that will make an impact on the Housewares industry.

To check out some of the products we have designed for the Housewares industry, click here.

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