Holiday Helpers

By Andrea Lillo

The holidays are here, and to help make meal-making easier -- and fun -- manufacturers recently debuted gadgets at retail with eye-catching hues and designs. "Style and color are working well for us across the board and specifically in the gadget category," said Manny Gaunaurd, president, Imusa USA.

Previously, Admetior saw success with its turkey-shaped poultry pop-up timer, and so introduced even more animal timers this season. "What better gift to bring for the holidays than something so useful and fun to use," said Eric Halberg, general manager.

For the meat lover, another gift item is Microplane's Meat Tenderizer. "It's perfect for the holiday host who can use it to prepare budget-friendly, tougher cuts of meat with success," said Tracy Panase, marketing manager, Microplane.



Targeting the Hispanic market, Imusa continues to benefit from the consistent entertaining-at-home trend, Gaunaurd said. Among its top sellers for the season are the wooden molinillo, pictured, a traditional Latin specialty item for stirring Mexican hot chocolate; and brightly colored lemon and lime squeezers that "always experience a sales boost in the fourth quarter from all of the holiday cooking," according to Gaunaurd. The company added a cast-aluminum citrus squeezer with a silicone grip, which "has been a huge success," he said. And its line of Asian products, including the three-piece bamboo tool set, is also "doing exceptionally well this quarter."



Microplane moves into the meat category, offering its first-ever Meat Tenderizer, crafted from a made-in-America etched blade. In contrast to hammer-and-mallet-style meat tenderizers, which typically feature pyramid-shaped metal spikes, Microplane's Meat Tenderizer employs the precision of a raised razor-sharp blade to easily cut into tough meat. Its open back behind the half-circle blade makes it easy to clean, and the comfortable soft touch handle has an easy grip. Its sliding translucent cover becomes integrated into the handle when in use.

"Many retailers encouraged us to use our technology for sharp tools to design a better gadget for tenderizing game and other meat, such as flank and skirt steak," said Panase. "It makes a practical and affordable gift for avid cooks who covet products from Microplane, and it's terrific as an affordable gift for that hard-to-buy-for guy."



Coupling fun with functional, the Chef Pals series of meat thermometers/alarms from Admetior use animal sounds to alert the chef that a meal is cooked. Designs include a turkey for turkey, a cow for beef, a pig for pork, a chicken for poultry and a fish for fish, each calibrated to a pre-set temperature designated by the USDA for that particular meat, and with the corresponding animal sound (the cow has three presets, for medium rare, medium and well done). Not only will each alarm sound at the end of cooking, but a red LED light will flash.

"When designing Chef Pals, we wanted to ensure that it would be a great fit for nearly every kitchen in America," Halberg said. "Every item has its own unique identity that makes you laugh every time you cook." In addition, each thermometer has a Try Me button, so the consumer can test each sound at retail, as well as extra batteries. They retail between $16.99 and $23.99.

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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