The one place I don’t want to face challenge is when I’m home. I know the average consumer feels the same. The housewares industry is listening. It’s making it easier to do just about everything and I was excited to see just how much easier my life is going to be at the International Housewares Show in Chicago, March 15–18 at the McCormick Convention Center.
Housewares designers are paying close attention to how people live and use equipment and are developing items that fit in their routines.
"It's a growing trend in industrial design," said Vicki Matranga, design programs coordinator for the International Housewares Association, which produces the show. "Designers are creating things that make a difference in everyday lives. They observe people in action to find what's missing and design products to fill those needs."
Here are some trends I was excited to see.
Easy to Cook
Gourmand or not, professional appliances are being adapted for personal use and invading the home kitchen helping skilled and unskilled cooks create meals like chefs. SousVide Supreme was the first company to develop a sous vide water oven that created an explosion of interest in the consumer market for a cooking technique that was once only used in restaurants and by professional chefs. SousVide Supreme is launching its latest innovation—a sous vide vacuum sealer. This inventive product is uniquely designed to make vacuum sealing foolproof for the home cook, for both sous vide preparation and other everyday food storage needs. Because food is vacuum sealed, the nutrients, flavor and juices are locked in. Chefs depend on it. Guys are crazy about it. Women, especially busy ones, are just realizing it’s potential.
Kenwood’s Cooking Chef actually stirs for you while cooking at precisely the right temperature which ideal for meringue, risotto, truffles and ganche. Maybe now I can make those dishes!
Gunter Wilhelm's steel and stylish cutlery and cookware are changing the dynamic in the kitchen with stick-resistance stainless steel pots and pans and well-balanced high-carbon stainless steels knives.
Easy to Serve
I love the new portion control plates from Livliga. These dishes help you eyeball a healthy portion and stop you from topping off your dinner. The Perfect Slice cuts cake servings with precision and KlearBar dispenses the right-size beverage at the sink and purifies water. KlearBar is pioneering a whole new exciting category.
Easy to eat
I’m grateful for any product that makes me feel like I’m at home on the go and I hope to see more of that. Especially if it means I take my morning smoothie with me. I love the The Yonanas Maker, a small kitchen gadget that emulsifies frozen fruit ONLY into a guilt-free creamy frozen dessert that is just like soft-serve ice cream—in seconds—without separating the nutrients we need.
If you are like me, you are always eating on the go. Hamilton Beach’s personal blender makes it possible to take your smoothie with you wherever you are. It’s a single-serve blender with a no-spill travel lid.
Easy to clean
Housekeeping gadgets, especially robotics, are getting more impressive and specialized each year. The smart home is here. Ecovacs launched a new FAMIBOT, the first multi-functional essential home robot controlled by an iPhone or Android app. This robot, connects to your home security system, as well as other household electronic and purifies your air as well.
If retro is more your style, the original Fuller Brushes are making a comeback for traditional cleaning.
Easy to Keep
I’m so impressed with the science of storage. I’m looking forward to seeing techniques for space saving and longevity. I heard about Berry Breeze, a new innovative battery-operated oxygen generator that helps keeps produce in a “living” stage two to three times longer while maintaining freshness and its nutritional value. There’s an economical bonus, too, because the machine helps avoid spoilage of food.
In the bathroom, Better Living Products offers an array for smart bathroom dispensers and accessories that can save time, money and waste.
For tea lovers, Tea Boxes by Mark Feldstein & Associates craft exquisite wooden storage boxes to organize and preserve your favorite teas.
Easy to Breathe
Living in NYC, with little control over the air I breathe outdoors, I value any product that can help me control the air-quality in my living spaces. Winix makes a full line of air-cleaners and air-filters. They use true- HEPA filtration to ensure that their products are working to keep your air clean and fresh.
Smart gadgets make me happy; Freidrich Air Purifier purifies air with five chambers and can detect changes in your air-quality and will adjust its cleaning level accordingly.
Eva-Dry Mini-Dehumidifiers are perfect for using in closets and pantries to remove moisture that can damage clothing and food-goods. No need to worry about musty smells clinging to your favorite garments. They even work in gym bags.
For the less tech-savvy among us, DēLonghi makes elegant and easy-to-use air purifiers that feature a minimal option touch screen display.
Surface germs and bacteria can affect our air quality as well; Verilux uses CleanWave UV-C light to tackle biological contaminants without liquids or chemicals. As a bonus, you can take many of these products with you on your travels to disinfect whatever space you land in.
Easy to be Green
Going green is not a preference anymore, but a necessity. A room I find is often overlooked when it comes to ways to be green is the bathroom. Brondell’s bidets strive to eliminate a percentage of the 34,000,000 rolls of toilet paper Americans use daily.
Out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, Full Circle crafts beautiful scrubbing brushes based on the idea that resources should be cyclical and long lasting.
KleenMaid is introducing new eco-friendly cleaning appliances and products.
Easy to be Fashionable
Fashion is constantly evolving; I am always looking ahead to the next big thing. It’s Exciting Lighting produces a smart and stylish aleternative to traditional lighting fixtures for your home. Instead of hard-wiring a lamp to one spot, they use LED technology to make your home lighting choices as malleable as the home-fashion industry itself.
Kitchens are the center of a home, and I want mine to be as beautiful as it is functional. According to Hudson Home Group Executive VP Rick LaPine, kitchens are the new runways of the fashion world.
Inflatable beds may not be what comes to mind when I say beautiful, but that is only because you haven’t seen InTex inflatable furniture yet. Whether you are camping out or staying in, these beds seamlessly blend comfort, style, and versatility.
I’m looking forward to living easier in 2014! WF
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.