Housewares is a huge trade show held every spring in Chicago, and it's the source of the home products you see the rest of the year at retailers from Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to your local independent kitchenwares shop.
Every year when I walk the show I look for interesting pockets of trends. Here are five we noticed this year, with photos of the cutest little mixer you've ever seen to the diner-inspired line from Jamie Oliver.
- Appliances that look like toys. The entry-level small electrics at the show often had a lot in common with toys, from a "cupcake maker" to a little mixer that came in candy colors. Pictured here: A new small mixer from Dash (will retail for about $50). "Cupcaker" from Bakelicious.
- The personal smoothie. Blenders are always plentiful at Housewares, but this year, almost overnight, every blender is now also coming with a personal smoothie jar you can cap and take to work. Even Vitamix showed a smaller "personal" blender that will retail for about $400 and included a one-serving smoothie jar as well as the regular blender pitcher.
- Glass, everywhere. There's a lot of plastic at Housewares (and silicone...) but this year glass really stood out. It's clear that manufacturers are hearing consumers' desire for what seems like a safer material than plastic. Pictured here: Creo's colorful glass bakeware, Glasslock's very nice travel mug.
- Retro 1950s styling. While we're seeing a lot of sleek, Apple-inspired lines and bright modern colors, a completely different direction is 1950s styling. This is still very popular with consumers and we saw a lot of it this time around. Pictured here: Popcorn and candy dispensers from Bella Housewares. A line of red and aqua tabletop and cookware from Jamie Oliver.
- The individual dessert. Baking pans and other dessert products are a huge category at Housewares, and this year we were struck by how many of them emphasized the personal dessert — the individual slice of cake, the teeny individual pan mold. Pictured here: Cake slice serving pieces from MollaSpace. A tool for making stacked individual desserts from Creo.