NEW YORK–With the International Home & Housewares Show now over, and so many products being introduced there, here is a selection of what a few companies debuted at the show, across all housewares categories. Green was a keen theme, as was convenience and entertaining. A number of companies also used the show to introduce—or reintroduce—their companies themselves to attendees.
The International Home & Housewares Show marked a sort of relaunch of Applica, which merged with Salton at the beginning of this year. Applica presented its products in an event held at the Art Institute of Chicago, which included demonstrations of new products under the George Foreman, Farberware and Russell Hobbs brands (all once the property of Salton) and Black & Decker. Among the new products are the Black & Decker iron, which uses a digital laser technology to control the temperature; and the Juiceman Pro, which features a 1,000-watt motor, an LCD display and a three-step safety process along with the ability to make juice from a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Speaking to HFN during the event, Evanghela Hidalgo, president and general manager of Applica’s Americas division, said the purchase of Applica by Harbinger Capital Partners in 2006 “was a turning point. The energy they brought changed the rules of the game.” The merger with Salton “allowed us to go after consumer segments we didn’t have,” Hidalgo added. “It gets us into houses we weren’t in. There was no overlap in the brands in the two companies.”
Base Brands launched both its company and product line to attendees at the show. “We’re trying to think of what is convenient for the consumer, because we know they’re not going to give up convenience,” said Ken Kreafle, president. For those consumers trying to rid themselves of the single-use water bottle habit, Base Brands offers WaterWeek, which includes five colorfully designed 16-ounce water bottles that can be placed in a tray that fits in the refrigerator. Made of BPA-free plastic, the WaterWeek bottles can replace those single-use bottles. Melaboo is a line of biodegradable housewares products that is made of 60 percent bamboo fiber and melamine compounds. Products include kitchen tools, bowls and plates, and colanders.
The company also offered a number of trash cans. The 40-liter compactor step bin allows the consumer to compact trash up to 50 percent due to the ability of the lid to compress downward without having to touch the garbage. BagIt allows one to hide grocery bags inside the can with built-in hooks. The Recycle bins are in three sizes—38-, 50- or 56-liter—and have either two or three bins inside to separate trash from bottles and/or paper.
The vacuum manufacturer highlighted its sustainability efforts in introducing the Bissell Little Green vacuum. Begun two years ago, the sustainability program involves the recycling of parts of Bissell vacuums through a closed-loop system, which crushes the product, bails the recycled parts and sends them to the company’s reprocessor in Mcallen, Texas. Here the materials are separated into different streams and transports them to Bissell’s suppliers, which then used them to manufacturer new vacuums.
The Bissell Little Green is scheduled for wide distribution in April, for a retail price of $69. In another feature of the sustainability program, the company is reducing the sizes of its packaging. “Everything we develop is looked at from the sustainability perspective,” said Jim Krzeminski, Bissell’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and product development.
C.C.A. has taken traditional whiteware one step further with the introduction of its Diner line, a simple white dinnerware set with oversized bowls and mugs rimmed in color. Retailers were drawn to it at the show, according to Kariona Lam, sales manager, because it has the ever-popular white body made more interesting by a touch of color. Red and blue have proven to be the most popular accent colors. The pattern mixes well with C.C.A.’s existing Retro line of solid color dinnerware.
Extending its line of products for the kitchen, Chef’s Planet added a new multipurpose prep tool for the kitchen, the PrepTaxi Measuring Scoop, and builds off of the company’s food scoop, which is what it started out with when it was founded about five years ago, said Audrey Parker, executive. Now only having a food scoop that allows the cook to get the chopped and diced items to the pan or bowl easily, the PrepTaxi Measuring Scoop has removable measuring panels for convenient measuring. It can hold up to 2 cups of prepped foods and is dishwasher-safe. The company also took a look at the classic mortar and pestle and redesigned it so it could be held in one hand, and has an ergonomically designed pestle and a pour spout. “It’s smaller so the item you’re crushing can’t get away,” Parker said, which happens with larger versions. The company also showed its oil pourer, so chefs can get the perfect stream of oil into their saute pans without spills or drips, and a dish soap cruet, with a dripless spout and stylish and simple design, and three new fragrances for its 100% All Natural Hand Soap line: rosemary and sage, clover and pear.
A coffeemaker has to produce good-tasting coffee. But it does not hurt if the product also provides a good value to the consumers.
Parsippany, N.J.-based Emerson is introducing a 2-in-1 drip coffee and espresso machine that is designed to offer a great-tasting product, but at a price that many consumers would deem affordable. The product has a 1.5-liter detachable water tank and operates on a high-quality, 15-bar pressure technology. It also features a built-in milk frothing nozzle for cappuccino.
It will retail for under $100, said Danielle Rooney, product manager of kitchen electrics. “This product delivers a high-quality coffee or espresso at a great value to the discriminating connoisseur,” Rooney says. “We offer the attributes of a top-line machine at a value price. We think that consumers will find it as a great alternative to much more expensive machines.”
G&S Metal Products
G&S showed ThermaWare, an insulated food server that can keep foods hot or cold for up to six hours. Its handles lock the lid closed to prevent spills. The company also showed insulated bakeware, including a cake carrier that has ice packs in the bottom. The company has seen growth in its line of covers for bakeware, said Nils Pederson, director of marketing, and so introduced color into its cover line. “It allows the retailer to go off-shelf,” he said. “It’s fun, and the color gives it another reason to promote it on the endcap throughout the season.”
Officials at Haier say they are all about making it easier for consumers. So, the New York-based company is introducing a number of products that give consumers many different options that can enhance the food preparation experience.
The company is offering a 0.9-cubic-foot Smart Steam Convection Oven with a stainless-steel interior that allows consumers to use regular steam for creating more healthy meals. The product, which will have a suggested retail price of under $300, begins shipping in July.
Haier is also introducing a direct-line portable ice maker, with a water filter for cleaner ice. The product also has an LCD timer and can hold up to two and a half pounds of ice. It has a suggested retail price of $350 and will ship over the summer. The company’s new 12-bottle capacity dual zone wine cooler, available in June for $169.99, features a double pane insulated glass door and a temperature range between 45 and 65 degrees. “This is among the smaller, more compact dual zone wine coolers on the market,” said Karin Chung, product manager, compact appliances for the company. “It gives consumers more precise cooling options and fits easily under the cabinet.”
Tapping into the pro-environment craze, Harper Brush has launched an eco-friendly mop, with yarns made from recycled soda bottles. Highly absorbent, it is said to be more durable and long-lasting than cotton. New push brooms from Harper are also made of recycled fibers. In addition, the company featured a line of feather dusters (made in Texas) and an extensive microfiber cleaning program encompassing mops to dusters to cleaning supplies.
The focal point of the booth, however, was a new pink broom, part of the company’s breast cancer awareness program.
“We’re excited to be here,” said Patricia Adam, marketing director, during the show. The pink broom definitely garnered attention at the show, she said, and “the microfiber’s been popular as well.”
Libbey came to the show with a full lineup of price-sensitive decorative accessories, such as oversized glass vases, a segment of the glass business in which it sees great potential. “We have a lot to offer in this niche, with our handmade capabilities in Crisa,” said Brenda Bennett, vice president of consumer marketing.
The company continued to mine the entertainment category, with several new drink sets, rocking glasses called Rocktails and an expansion of Selene serveware, which retails in the $19.99 price range. “I think that bodes well in the marketplace. People might not want to spend $50 on a cake plate,” but they may be willing to spend $19.99, Bennett said.
The company’s personal-care line got a boost in both the shaver and epilator segments. In shavers, Panasonic introduced the Arc IV Nano Electric shaver and the trademarked On the Go Hair/Beard Trimmer. The Arc IV Nano is the first shaver from the company to feature four blades. The additional blade provides a broader cutting service, allowing more hairs to be cut on the first pass. The On the Go Trimmer offers an ergonomic design, stainless-steel blades and five length adjustments by way of a pop-up head.
Also new is the Epiglide Ultra wet/dry epilator, which has tripler-spinning discs. This technology incorporates three epilating heads that also rotate horizontally to provide 360-degree epilation. According to a Panasonic statement, the swirling motion of the heads, plus the increased disc surface area, means that a user can epilate without worrying about the direction of hair growth. The new product can be used on dry or wet skin, with or without foam.
The cleaning company launched its Green & Clean line at the show, which is made of either sustainable or recycled materials, said Rick Ensslen, vice president of marketing. Most of the line is made of bamboo, but where plastic is involved, the company used recycled plastic with wood chips, he added. The line contains about 24 items, which include stick goods and other cleaning products. And for consumers who want “to clean in fashion and style,” the Smart & Sassy line offers two fun designs, Daisy and Contempo, and which are available in stick goods, buckets, kits, microfiber and more. The company is also getting into gloves more because “it makes sense for us,” as well as deeper into buckets and step stools.
The company has launched Shine Therapy, a program of hair dryers with a cartridge that sprays conditioner on the hair while the user dries. The line also includes a hair straightener with plates that have conditioner fused into them. Also featured during the show was new packaging for Remington’s Titanium line of shavers, which displays the whole product on an angle. A new package for the Tempt line of shavers for young women was also unveiled, which allows a shopper to open the package and see all of the shaver’s components.
Remington has also addressed men with short hair with the Shortcut Clipper, which allows these men to cut their own hair. The user simply moves the clipper over his hair and receives an even crew-style cut. The new product is slated to be in stores in either June or July.
Celebrity chef Emeril LaGasse demonstrated the new Emerilware Bread and Baguette Maker on the opening day of the show, March 16. Speaking to HFN after the demonstration, LaGasse said launching a bread maker with T-Fal was based on the time when he received a bread maker as a holiday gift. The new product makes 14 different styles of bread, mixes bread dough, can make dough for both pizza and pasta, and includes a recipe book. It can also make three different sizes of bread.
“There’s nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread in the home,” LaGasse said. “There’s an excitement about that smell, and so many people have told me, ‘I miss fresh baked bread.’ This is something the whole family can do. The machine also takes dietary considerations into account.”
The Canadian housewares manufacturer took a bold step during the Housewares Show by launching a brand, Delfino. The label includes a group of upscale kitchen electrics and involves Toastess’ entry into new product categories—larger-format drip coffeemakers, induction cookers and digital convection ovens. The products under the Delfino name are made of brushed stainless steel. The Programmable Coffee Maker & Grinder Combo automatically grinds beans and brews a cup of coffee. The Delfino Induction Cooker transfers 80 percent to 85 percent of the heat directly to the vessel, without any loss of heat to the surrounding area. The Digital Convection Oven provides even air flow that circulates around the food as it cooks, which results in consistent baking.
“Delfino offers retailers a brand with broad consumer appeal that integrates design and features of the more expensive brands at more competitive price points,” said Bill Booth, Toastess’ vice president of sales and marketing. “The market has been moving to higher price points over the past number of years, as retailers have concluded that selling opening-price-point small appliances doesn’t support a healthy bottom line.”