With over 2000 exhibitors representing 40 countries, this year's International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago embraced the theme of "It's Smart" with some strong entries from major manufacturers and Silicon Valley startups in the smart kitchen and cleaning space. The standout amongst the smart systems include a debut by Hestan Cue, a smart kitchen system that integrates a smart pan, induction burner and app. Gourmia, a Brooklyn-based appliance manufacturer, showed a wi-fi enabled multicooker that can prep and cook a meal with the help of programmed recipes. An app tracks the progress of your meal and sends updates to your Android phone as it goes. And multicookers will be a bridge between the product islands of our current appliances and the connected future.
Multicookers ruled the appliance world with options from KitchenAid, Aroma, Crockpot, Redmond, Panasonic, DeLonghi and the likes. Each promised to outdo the next with the number of settings, attachments, bells and whistles. Alternatively, I loved the smoke-less indoor grill from Philips but unfortunately, us New Yorkers just don't have the storage or counter space for an appliance of that size.
Other trends include the continued proliferation of stacking storage containers, lunchboxes and water bottles—seems like Americans are still on-the-go and are looking for simple design solutions to help them transition from home to office. Microwave cookers from Joseph Joseph and OXO could be one solution to that problem—now you can cook a whole meal in your office microwave.
And in the cleaning space we saw a move towards more natural or chemical-free cleaning alternatives from brands like Casabella and Full Circle. Silicone has also found a way to invade the cleaning space with a few silicone scrub sponges appearing on the market. This is all great but really, what we're waiting for is the robot maid.
Inspired by the kitchen tools you saw in the International Home and Housewares gallery?