Convenience and Color in the Kitchen: Category Roundup | Gadgets

Bottle opener from Lifetime Brands' Kizmos lineBottle opener from Lifetime Brands' Kizmos line

By Andrea Lillo

As the weather turns cooler, things heat up in the kitchen, not only with turkey basting, pie baking and the other activities related for the fourth quarter, but also in terms of convenience and color.

"People are coming inside in the fall," said Peter Chapman, executive vice president, Maverick Industries, which offers thermometers for roasting, candy making and more. "You cook differently."

While it's sold year round, Argee Corp.'s Chop Keeper sees sales spike in November and December, said Ruth Goldman, vice president, sales and marketing. A cutting board with raised sides, the Chop Keeper keeps messes to a minimum in the kitchen, containing crumbs, juices and food scraps.

"Consumers dictate the trends," said Laurelle Widgerow, assistant marketing manager, Evriholder. And the rise of interest in healthy eating habits has sparked new products, she said.

For many consumers, it's about form as much as function, and several new gadgets hit that target. Lifetime's Kizmos line adds color and personality to the kitchen, and its initial response at retail has been strong. Cuisinart entered the category this year with an assortment of good-better-best items, including one that has European flair. 


Argee Corp.

The mess of chopped foods or meat juices is easier to contain with the Chop Keeper, a cutting tray with 1/2-inch raised sides. Argee Corp., a 40-plus year-old company with a history of making plastic items such as buckets and paint trays, launched the Chop Keeper several years ago, breaking into the kitchen category.

"The Chop Keeper is the only cutting board with raised sides" and is reasonably priced at $10.99 for a set of three, said Ruth Goldman, vice president, sales and marketing. The Chop Keeper's design allows the board to flex and form an easy funnel guide so items will slide right into a bowl, plate, bag or bucket.

Measuring 18-by-13 inches, the Chop Keeper is made in the U.S. from FDA-approved, knife-friendly plastic, is BPA-free and dishwasher safe. The lightweight yet sturdy tray can be used for kitchen and grilling tasks, as well as placemats to contain spills at the kitchen table.



With healthy eating on consumers' minds, Evriholder is emphasizing that area in the kitchen category. Three new products are launching in the fourth quarter: the Nana Slicer, Dressing-To-Go and Campbell's Soup'N Salad.

"These are easy, practical solutions for today's consumer," said Laurelle Widgerow, assistant marketing manager, Evriholder. Shown here, the Nana Slicer easily slices bananas or other soft fruits, making it "a convenient solution for breakfast." And to help with food-on-the-go, Dressing-To-Go is a leak- and spill-proof way to carry two ounces of dressing, while the Campbell's Soup'N Salad consists of a leak-proof, one-cup soup container and a five-cup salad container.


Lifetime Brands

The new Kizmos brand from Lifetime brings service with a smile. "Most kitchen tools and gadgets have a black handle with a steel head or a black handle with a black head," said Sid Ramnarace, vice president of SPARK, the advanced design division of Lifetime Brands. But with the Kizmos line, "the color is fun -- people automatically respond to it...When they see these items, they smile." There are currently 17 skus in the line -- including the bottle opener here -- available in eight colors and four combinations.

The brand's personality lends itself to incorporate fun marketing ideas as well. At retail, consumers can scan a QR code on the packaging to see an animated video about the line, for example. And the brand has its own Facebook page where people have uploaded images of their Kizmos on the beach, the Golden Gate Bridge and other locales.

Lifetime has also launched its Ideate program (see page 82 for more information), a web-based application that allows retailers to customize a private label kitchenware line.



Cuisinart entered the gadget category this year with a comprehensive assortment of good-better-best collections called Curve, Barrel and Twist (shown here), respectively. "I expect the good and better offerings to be the standouts in terms of retail performance because of the inherent design value of these products," said Mary Rodgers, director of marketing communications at Cuisinart. "Product design will be the most significant trend in tools and gadgets heading into the new year. As consumers continue to be more and more interested in specialty cooking and recipes, they will need more specialized tools to create a variety of eclectic dishes."

The collection will grow with the upcoming addition of two more lines, including one designed by an Italian designer and the other complementing Cuisinart's Elite line. The collection also includes a mandoline slicer with such features as a holder that pushes food into the blade to slice more efficiently and ultra-sharp stainless steel blades.



Most of thermometer and timer company Maverick's line focuses on the fall and winter cooking activities, said Peter Chapman, executive vice president. And news reports on food-borne illnesses also inspire people to be concerned with food temperatures as well.

When it comes to thermometers, people want them easier and faster to use, he said. "When people don't use thermometers, it's because they think they're a pain in the neck."

So Maverick constantly looks for ways to innovate, he said. Its new Superfast Instant Read Thermometer, for example, can determine the temperature of food in less than four seconds. Features include a super-thin tip for easy measurement and a temperature range from -58 to 672 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be launched on television in time for Thanksgiving.


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HFN Staff | News & Commentary

HFN provides detailed information on the key home classifications: Housewares, Tabletop, Floor Covering & Rugs, Furniture, Home Textiles, Lighting, Home Decor, Mattresses & Bedding, Gifts, Major Appliances and Consumer Electronics as well as Business, Finance and Retail.


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