Our Recap of the International Home & Housewares Show

We just returned from the 2019 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago! This massive tradeshow spans four days at McCormick Place in Chicago, and features over 2,000 exhibitors highlighting new products, trends, and more. While the entire show focuses on more than just kitchenware, there is plenty to see from new brands and enduring names like KitchenAid.

There are a ton of things we’ll be covering related to new products and trends to watch in the coming weeks, but today we want to give a brief overview of some of the most noteworthy trends, products, and themes we saw.

Smart…Everything

It’s probably no surprise that the smart home trend continues. More and more companies are offering a variety of products that are smart home compatible, like air fryers, multicookers, and coffee machines. And, more is on the horizon — connected products are unlikely to be slowing down in the near future, and we’re expecting to continue to be surprised by what “smart” means in the kitchen. A few of the smart and/or connected devices we liked include:

  • Smart beer making
  • Smart meat thermometer
  • Smart food scales
  • Temperature-controlled mugs

Fancy Coffee for Everyone

IHHS 2019 had no shortage of coffee (which you wouldn’t know by the never-ending, absurdly long line at the convention center’s Starbucks) and brands seem to be vying for coffee drinkers who want more than a regular ol’ cup of Joe. My first day at the show I wound up drinking so many samples from booths like Keurig, De’Longhi, and Krups, and all of them were delicious (though I had a case of major caffeine overload).

These new products are pretty exciting for consumers, as it’s becoming simpler and more affordable to have coffee shop-quality coffee drinks at home. For instance, the Keurig machine with milk frother produced a tasty latte-esque drink fairly quickly, even though it doesn’t brew and froth at the same time. Versatility and taste are the names of the game in the newest and forthcoming coffee makers. (We’ll be talking about this topic more in-depth very soon!)

Accessibility

I’m personally a fan of companies and products that emphasize accessibility. Not only are accessible products important for significant portions of the population, accessibility makes for a better experience for every consumer. For far too long, individuals with disabilities have had to make do with products that ignore specific needs, but in practically every field accessibility has become a priority — meaning better products overall. One great example: The 1st place winners of the Student Design Competition are accessible products. Kevin Chiam Yong Sheng’s Folks Kitchenware for the Blind is a great design that addresses a very real need.

The Year of the Air Fryer?

Anyone who thinks the air fryer is a passing fad need only spend a few minutes at IHHS to be corrected. Air fryers were EVERYWHERE. Cuisinart, De’Longhi, and Hamilton Beach were just a few of the brands to showcase air fryers. For consumers, this means more options and lower prices thanks to supply and demand, and it also means that more brands are likely to combine features (like Cuisinart is doing with their toaster oven/air fryer combo).

Cookware

Of course we geeked out over cookware. And there was plenty of it to be excited about. We’ll be diving more in-depth into some of the trends and forthcoming products from big names, but here’s a little taste. Colorful cookware abounds. Our favorite pan, the saucier, is seeing big growth under names like “essential pan” and “rounded saucepan.” A ton of new lines are available now or will be soon.

Cookware companies are making note of consumer desires to buy A) pieces over sets and B) high-quality cookware that doesn’t have to be replaced every few years. These two selling points were discussed in keynotes, sessions, and plenty of literature — which is fantastic news for home cooks. With more brands focusing on this and with more “disruptors” (like direct-to-consumer brands) offering products to customers, shoppers win in both selection and price.

Colorful Offerings

Cookware isn’t the only thing flaunting color in the industry. Pantone’s Color of the Year this year is “Living Coral,” and variations of this and plenty of other gorgeous hues appeared all over the place. Small appliances, textiles, cookware, and dishware are just a few of the products that embraced color.

Happy Birthday, KitchenAid!

KitchenAid had a beautiful booth with lots of goodies and a new limited edition color, Queen of Hearts, to celebrate their 100th birthday. Additionally, the eponymous brand introduced new products like countertop ovens, new designs for their ceramic bowls, and more. We’ll be reporting more on the latest from KitchenAid’s limited edition lineup and new products very soon.

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