Home Inspired Trend: Housewares Reinforces Connection to Consumer Lifestyles
April 3, 2024

Inspired Trend: Housewares Reinforces Connection to Consumer Lifestyles

By: Mike Duff

Contributing Editor

Lifestyles are diverse today, but The Inspired Home Show presented an array of products that can support living at home with all the variations and preferences evident among consumers.

Indeed, over a generation from the Great Recession through the COVID-19 pandemic and into the macroeconomic turmoil of the past couple of years, housewares have become a foundation of consumer lifestyles as they have become more closely aligned with the home for work and play.

Many of the trends that emerged from the pandemic continue to has a significant impact on the housewares industry, and that has been recognized, whether it generated coffee or barware or home office product sales. Yet, the trends that emerged from COVID-19 confinement continue to evolve in the post-pandemic environment due to dynamics that have arisen since the coronavirus has become less of a consideration.

One trend current circumstances have made more acute is tighter living spaces. With housing prices and mortgage rates high in the United States and beyond – just ask folks living in Toronto – consumers have to make choices. Young people moving into popular urban environs are likely to face tiny accommodations or space sharing. Yet, even those not in urban locations can find themselves unable to afford spaces that grow with their needs. Then, the pandemic prompted consumers to do more at home, both in terms of work and leisure activities, threatening clutter. Those factors continue to represent opportunities for housewares brands.

Independent Living

Young people starting out in independent life paths have to squeeze through the shortage of affordable housing in many of the places they’re likely to work. Still, a lifestyle has to begin somewhere and usually somewhere cramped. So, the GoodCook All-in-One Pan (pictured above) combines nine cooking vessels in one so that consumers can braise, boil, fry, steam, strain, sauté, sear, stew and serve using one pan, allowing rookie home cooks to prepare a variety of dishes without the need for multiple pieces of cookware. The All-in-One Pan also represents an opportunity for those beginning to cook for themselves to use one set of cookware for many of the meals they might want to try while learning.

Brod & Taylor Sourdough Home

Cooking changed during the pandemic. Not only did people become better at it and, in many cases, more willing to try and whip up more exotic cuisines to expand their expertise. As such, today, more and more unusual products have come along to support that expertise, although it is still a good idea if they’re easily storable or small enough to take up as little counter space as possible. So, the Brod & Taylor Sourdough Home is sized at only 8 inches wide by 10 inches deep by 11 inches high but allows bread makers to control the temperature of the sourdough starter while keeping it readily available. As inflation ramped up in 2022, bread maker sales gained, too, as more consumers considered the financial advantages of baking their own, as have those who are on gluten-free diets, given that their baked goods typically cost substantially more per loaf.

Gourmia Panorama Digital Air Fryer

Inflation, healthy eating and increasing capabilities have given air fryers a new boost. The Gourmia Panorama Digital Air Fryer adds new technology to an appliance with a 7-quart capacity that offers consumers 12 one-touch preset cooking functions, state-of-the-art bladeless fan technology, and a clear front and top, at least up to the control surface. In an Inspired Theater session at the show, Nick Stene, senior industry manager at Euromonitor, noted that advances in air fryer design and capabilities have people in some parts of the world considering if they need a conventional oven anymore, especially those living in crowded urban environments.

Gibson Sur La Table SKE Cast Aluminum Cookware

The trend for folding and removable cookware handles has become more prominent in the U.S. as consumers do more with the kitchen. In one instance, Gibson Homewares’ Sur La Table SKE Cast Aluminum Cookware includes easy-to-use removable handles for space-saving storage. Sometimes for cooking, too, as the cookware is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit when used without the handles.

In close quarters, being able to easily store even gadgets can be helpful. The Chef’n Pepper Corer is a two-in-one kitchen tool that comes in two pieces: one to handle larger varieties, such as bell peppers and one to handle smaller varieties, such as jalapenos. The two pieces nest together to take up less space on the one hand and to remain together in crowded cabinets where the smaller separate pieces might become hard to find.

Most Hosting

Of course, hosting has been a bigger consideration since the pandemic, first because people wanted to show off what they did to their households during stay-at-home guidelines once authorities lifted such restrictions.

Hosting puts a spin on food preparation and serving, so having some helpful implements can make everything easier. The JK Adams Walnut Wooden Serving Board with Oval Handle is not only handsome, but it’s also long in its 20 inches by 6 inches and 11 inches by 6-inch dimensions, so either size is shaped to serve charcuterie, appetizers, or bread conveniently. Another item dealing with the small foods phenomenon is the Prodyne dual-function serving tray. The top tray has two variations, one with compartments for charcuterie or appetizers and the other molded to lay out deviled eggs. The bottom is an ice tray that keeps the food above cool.

JK Adams Walnut Wooden Serving Board

Innovations in grilling are myriad. Portable grills, for example, have taken on new forms and functions, as in the Mascot Grill Portable Propane Tailgate Grill, with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats or one of several other college character tops, as well as the disposable one-time-use lava stone-operated Union Square Group Go Anywhere grill. Each suggests in its own way that the era of the endless aisle is also the era of the endless backyard.

Mascot Grill Portable Tailgate Grill

Even as indoor cooking took off during the pandemic, grilling and other forms of outdoor cooking also took off. The desire to use outdoor space for leisure activities certainly hasn’t gone away, in part because people like to get out in the open air on their own and when having folks over and because they’ve invested in their under-the-sky spaces.

Le Creuset Alpine Outdoor Collection

Yet, the lure of the outdoors has tempted housewares makers to move beyond the home, even if they’re well established there. Le Creuset has launched the Alpine Outdoor Collection, delivering the brand’s trademark quality and sophistication to a produce line that it emphasizes is rugged enough for use over an open flame. The collection consists of the Alpine Outdoor skillet for searing, sautéing, stir-frying and griddling outdoors, the square grill basket sized to fit on most grills or to use over the aforementioned open flame in cooking up small vegetables, crispy French fries and even delicate shellfish, and the pizza pan, big enough to accommodate a large pizza but also able to produce burgers, golden pancakes and other grillables equally well.

Gibson Sur La Table Brunch Collection

It doesn’t hurt to have a little novelty in serving guests and even in everyday eating, particularly when more meals are consumed at home due to mixed work schedules. Gibson Homewares just introduced the Sur La Table Brunch Collection for The Inspired Home Show. The 6-inch Stoneware Toast Plate set is embellished with humorous captions such as I Loaf You, Butter Me Up, Jam on It and Slice Slice Baby, and each included is oaf shaped in another amusing turn.

Barking Up Opportunity

Then there’s the pet lifestyle. Another development heavily influenced by the pandemic, pet adoption became a recognized trend while stuck at home fighting back against isolation and boredom by bringing home a furry, in most cases, companion. To an increasing degree, housewares and home decor makers are trying to address pet owner needs. The Cuckoo Electronics USA Air Shower & Dry Room is a product that is probably ahead of the curve for people in the United States, but it does address a challenge: keeping pets reasonably odor-free and drying when necessary. In essence, the appliance is a cabinet that uses fans to blow air onto a pet, whether to air bath away odors or to dry wet fur. The safety door is clear to make the animal feel less confined. To make the experience more pleasant, potentially for the pet and probably for the people, it has an aromatherapy function. And the company provides a three-step training regimine to adapt pets to the appliance.

Cuckoo Electronics USA Air Shower & Dry Room

Addressing another challenge, the Evercare Reusable Pet Hair Remover works using dual rollers. As such, it can remove pet hair and fur, as well as lint, from indeterminate sources, such as carpets, furniture and car interiors. Durable fabric rollers ensure efficient hair removal and can be reused over and over. As anyone with furry pets can attest, over and over is a welcome feature.

Evercare Reusable Pet Hair Remover

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