IH+HS Best in Show: Aiming for the Aspirational

Health and wellness, small-space living and products that offer multiple functions dominated introductions in Chicago last month
April 13, 2017HFN Staff

DanskKitchen UltraStoneDansk Kitchen’s Ultra Stone cookware is induction ready, as well as dishwasher safe.
By Andrea Lillo, Allison Zisko and Joanne Friedrick

The health and wellness theme delivered a large dose of introductions at the International Home + Housewares Show last month, as products across all categories strive to make cooking good-for-you meals more convenient.

The trend of small-space living also has led to introductions that perform multiple functions and take up less space. Companies delved into their design archives, as consumers are drawn to the stories and heritage of their brands. Other trends mirror what the market is seeing in home furnishings overall, including sophisticated neutrals and warm metallics such as chocolate and copper, and natural elements such as wood and wood-like accents.

Outside influence, such as social media and television shows, is having a tremendous effect on how consumers currently view cooking. The amount of cooking awareness worldwide is “phenomenal” because of social media, Chef Tyler Florence told HFN. “People want the ability to cook authentic food,” from brining to planting.

Professional and specialty cookware are on the rise, as people want to cook their favorite cuisines or dishes seen on social media, and desire the cookware to go with it.

Zwilling’s Ballarini brand debuted its Professional cookware line, targeting both professionals and consumers. It comes in aluminum, nonstick and carbon-steel constructions. The company’s speciality pan introductions included Wustoff egg poachers and a Staub chicken mattone pan with press. Mastrad debuted its O’Plancha grill with domed lid, based on the plancha style of high-heat cooking in Spain.

Meyer’s Anolon brand expanded into food prep, debuting a culinary torch, double boiler and frother. It targets a “more technique driven” chef, said Jeffrey Kruskall, vice president of new business development for Meyer Corp.

For the aspirational chef who wants to cook with high heat like chefs do on television, Clipper’s Chopped line offers a 10-piece set for under $200. One interesting feature of the open stock selection includes silicone-rimmed lids with holes that perform like colanders. “It’s for home cooks who want a high-end feel at a value,” said Kyle Koenig, director of sales. Its Allrecipes brand has a stainless-steel salad spinner that is nice enough to use as a serving bowl.

Florence debuted his cookware with U.S. manufacturer Vita Craft, and the company’s cookware shape from 1939 was the jumping off point for the design, he said. The font on the bottom of the pan mimics the one used decades ago, for example. But this cookware is made for today, constructed of five-ply stainless steel and aluminum, and induction friendly.

KalorikinductioncookingplatesKalorik’s induction cooking plates
Induction Heat

Induction cookware and small electrics are resurging after a quiet period. More manufacturers offered cookware made for induction cooktops, confident this small segment, which is extremely popular in Europe, will grow in the United States.

“Induction is the kitchen of the future,” said Florence.

Berndes debuted its Vario Click Induction Non-Stick Plus line, which has a Radiance coating with ferromagnetic stainless-steel particles to support the induction process. Offering consumers a way to test induction cooktops without a major investment, Kalorik introduced Induction Cooking Plates in red and black, which also add an extra burner in a busy kitchen.

Under the Dansk Kitchen line, new Ultra Stone aluminum cookware is also induction ready, as well as metal utensil safe. It features a gold coated interior with a faceted exterior in several colors. It also is dishwasher safe, a feature that more cookware introductions had at this show.

World Kitchen’s Revere and Columbian Home Products’ Granite Ware both reintroduced historic cookware designs that incorporate features for today’s chef.

Hudson Home Group’s Fleischer and Wolf line debuted Sagano, made of cast aluminum and cedar, as well as a marble and black ash group of cookware and accessories.

Bold colors continued as well, and included TTU’s Epicurious brand, which added sage green and a gray hue called caviar. TTU also unveiled G Zero, which had one curved, colorful handle that the company said required 30 percent less effort to use than a traditional frying pan.

MideaTasteMaker multicookerThe Midea TasteMaker multi cooker includes a removable bowl with a honeycomb surface for even heating.
Small Electrics

The next generation of air fryers and multicookers featured prominently at the show, targeting smaller spaces and wellness. The multicooker category continues to push the envelope on just how many features can be incorporated into a single machine. The All-Clad Prep & Cook from Groupe SEB is a six-in-one cooking food processor that makes risotto, steams fish and chops ice. Ronco’s Air Fryer Plus’ eight functions include baking and rotisserie options.

A multiuse tool, Braun’s MultiQuick 9 Hand Blender is an immersion blender, but attachments allow it to also whisk, crush ice, chop and blend like a food processor.

In a what’s-old-is-new-again move, Spectrum Brands, Cuisinart and Zojirushi touted bread machines. Spectrum is using Pinterest and videos to show users that bread makers can make preserves, too, and its gluten-free setting, as well as that of Zojirushi, is a nod to changing dietary trends. Cuisinart turned its bread maker on its side to reduce the footprint.

This year’s version of the T-fal ActiFry has a paddle that helps move the food for more even frying, while Philips’ uses a starfish-shaped pattern at the bottom of its TurboStar model to aid circulation and speed up the cooking time. Gourmia’s smart version is Wi-Fi enabled for remote cooking and comes with a cook cam, so users can watch the cooking process. Gourmia also uses an app and camera with its FryHigh Auto Rotisserie Multi-Fryer. And look for sous vide to continue its growth over the next year or two.

Cold brewers from KitchenAid, Cuisinart and others reinforced the importance of this newest take on coffee culture.

In the gadget world, there are even more ways now to use the ubiquitous Mason jar. Masontops and Kraut Source, both making their first visit to IH+HS, offer the tools for turning jars into fermentation stations. Tribest offers the Mason Jar Personal Blender and Kikkerland has zippered storage bags that replicate Mason jars.

Bradshaw International, which licenses the T-fal brand from Groupe SEB, launched a 45-SKU tool set in black with on-trend green accents. Another comprehensive tool set debuted from Robinson Home Products—its Metropolitan line in stainless or copper finishes has 23 pieces.

Whether in appliances or tools, matte is the finish du jour. And for Millennial shoppers—and those of us who remember the ‘70s—there’s KitchenAid’s Avocado Cream color.

GaiaGroupdinnerwareGaia Group’s newest dinnerware offers an aquatic colorway.
Topping the Table

Tabletop introductions were either earthy and rustic or brightly colored, highly patterned and slightly techno in their finishes.

The newest flatware handle designs look like stone, have an antique patina, or, on the other end of the spectrum, sport a rainbow-hued PVD finish. Oneida presented an industrial chic theme in its new American Loft collection; one pattern is inspired by a construction I-beam, another by a galvanized bucket, and a third by the handle of a wrench. And there were also plenty of metallic finishes, in gold, copper and bronze.

Dinnerware introductions followed suit. Many of them were handcrafted, or made to look as if they were, with organic shapes and dimpled or speckled surfaces. Crackled finishes and reactive glazes are popular, and calming, aquatic blues and greens are a dominant colorway. But busy patterns inspired by mosaic tiles and textile designs were also prominent at the show; many of the newest items feature a pattern on one side and an embossed solid color on the other.

Dinnerware in general took a backseat to accessories and serving items, such as the wood and metal tiered stands and lazy Susans from Gibson; the hexagonally shaped acacia wood and marble serving pieces from Libbey; a multitude of copper-accented, silkscreened wood and marble trays and platters from Patina Vie by Thirstystone; and the American Farmhouse collection of wood and galvanized metal serveware from Boston Warehouse. Beverage dispensers are still going strong, according to vendors such as Home Essentials and Jay Companies, and keep evolving with new material combinations and functionality.

The long-popular barware category continues to get a boost from beer, particularly craft beers. Growlers, which enable one to take home a special brew, are now available from dozens of vendors and in several designs, materials and sizes.

Water bottles continue to proliferate; iridescent and rainbow hues are the newest look, while temperature maintenance remains a key functional attribute.

LifetimeBrands knifesharpenerLifetime Brands entered the small electrics category with this knife sharpener assortment.
A Cut Above

Wood has become the material of choice for knife handles in the cutlery category, and a few manufacturers have eliminated the rivets from the handle design for a different look and to prevent water from seeping into the handle, vendors said. Dishwasher-safe was one of the buzzwords in the cutlery category at this show, and it applies to new knives as well as at least one cutting board.

Lifetime Brands introduced Knife Armor, a sandblasted coating that prevents rust and enables it to go through the dishwasher, to its suite of cutlery in various brands, while Totally Bamboo touted its dishwasher-safe bamboo boards.

Sharpening and storage were also key attributes for Lifetime’s cutlery new products; it introduced electric sharpeners in a rainbow of hues, its first venture into electric appliances. Specialty blades, such as those designed with all the attributes for making sandwiches, were offered by Wusthof and Chicago Cutlery.

Gold has become a popular finish in metallic bakeware, while ceramic bakeware is becoming increasingly decorative and trend-conscious, with pastel shades and plenty of fun typography to transmit a touch of the baker’s personality.

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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