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Novelty, design show up at Housewares preview


NEW YORK —The housewares industry had a rough 2007, but is looking to advance in 2008 and beyond. Evidence of that came at the International Home and Housewares Show Preview held at the New York Hilton on Jan. 8. The preview showcased product trends that vendors will build on as they highlight new and hot items at the 2008 International Home and Housewares Show, running from March 16 to 18 at Chicago’s McCormick Center.

Among the trends evident at the preview, design continues to be critical. Nostalgia Electronics makes it central to the selling propositions in items such as the ‘50’s reminiscent Dough-NuMatic donut maker. Novelty also played into the pirate ship design of a Nordic Ware cake pan.

Style and function combined in the Linden Knife Rack, an opaque faced countertop or wall-mounted item providing consumers a safe place to store—and show off—four favorite blades and Vornado’s Flippi fan, the head of which directs air flow or nestles into its base, the better to blend with room decor.

Ergonomics were critical for a new Dawn kitchen cleaning line, from Butler, that includes a battery operated power brush. While not a design story, Fuller Brush represents the flip side of the Dawn drama, as it featured a cleaning gels line for windows, steel and wood.

Pacing style trends, World Kitchen introduced 12 new patterns for its round and square dinnerware.

Individualized products continue to be important as demonstrated in New York by Tribest’s Apollo 250-watt, easy clean and store personal blender. The Hamilton Beach’s Dual Wave blender offers the flexibility of two blades that can operate single-serve processing jars or a single 80-oz. pitcher. Cristel, a French cookware maker, pre-introduced its detachable handled cookware at the preview, useful for both food preparation and storage, and Olisio showed off its Frisper, a scaled down, easy store vacuum sealing system.

Helping consumers manage small spaces is a growing design trend that Progressive explored with its Collapsible Prep Bowl line—dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe and collapsible for storage—and that Fold-Tuk tested with the 5-in-1 cooking bowl—able to brave varied environments, including ovens up to 500 degrees. For kids, ZipBin is expanding its soft storage/play set line with, among other items, a wheel-shaped container that rolls out a toy car ramp and includes two mini racers.

Outdoor living trends hike on, so Alfille introduced a temperature controlled butter dish to preserve bread spreads on backyard tables.

Of course, housewares and DIY have had a growing overlap, particularly among consumers who aren’t comfortable putting holes in their walls. Foot Flush International’s Twist N Lock addresses that reluctance with a line of tile or glass mounted suction cup bathroom toilet paper and towel holders, and other utility items. From the Idea Factory, RinseAce is a showerhead with an attachable hose/sprayer that rinses children’s hair, washes the dog and even cleans the shower itself.

Tote maker reisenthel exemplified the environmental trend. Its disposable bag alternatives ranged from a take-anywhere, roll-up, hook-fastening cloth bag that can hang on a keychain or purse, to the carry cruiser, a wheeled shopping/laundry cart with a collapsible handle washable sack. The Tersano Lotus Sanitizing system preserves nature by cleaning with oxygenated water rather than harsh chemicals, while the architec cork cutting board derives from a sustainable and antibacterial material.

Food trends continue to drive housewares, and Zojirushi, noting that two-thirds of U.S. consumers eat rice at least weekly, launched its first three-cup induction rice cooker/warmer, which uses electronics to ensure superior preparation. Preparation excellence also is the goal for CDN’s first thermometer designed to monitor both oven and food temperature simultaneously, while Breville’s Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster uses a computer chip to regulate toasting time. For gourmet convenience, Chef’N’s Condiment Fork helps consumers spear jarred pickles and olives without wetting their fingers.

Vinophiles can both chill and show off their vintages with Wine Enthusiasts VinoView system via a convex display door. For tea lovers, Bodum debuted the Kenyan Tea Press with futuristic styling that also ties into the design trend.

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