The Fizzy Wars & Kids in the Kitchen: International Home + Housewares 2014

Cake BossLast year, I reported on kids as foodies as a major trend at the International Home + Housewares Show, specifically the rise of food TV for the whole family, like the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and TLC’s Cake Boss, and a corresponding market for kid-friendly cookware and utensils.  This year, the kids as foodies trend was exponentially larger – for starters, Meyer Corporation unveiled a Cake Boss-branded bakeware and baking accessories line created in collaboration with Buddy Valastro, star of the hit show.  This was hands-down one of the show booths with the biggest draw, complete with a bakery rivaling that of Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End and fully stocked with biscotti, cookies and more for hungry show attendees.

The kid-friendly kitchen tools trend was everywhere you turned – from Tailor Made’s Curious Chef line and Boston Warehouse’s growing Smart Cookie line to Chef’n Cake Creatures and Cookease.  Empowering kids in the kitchen is being positioned as much more than a mere family bonding activity – Curious Chef sums it up best, stating, “Learning to cook helps kids build self-esteem, develop healthy eating habits, learn basic math skills and develops their growing vocabulary.”

The press registration list for the show was more robust this year compared to past years, and the IHA reported that of the 2,100 exhibitors from around the world, 400 were new companies exhibiting for the first time.  We had several significant media appointments scheduled for 360PR’s clients Oregon Scientific and Allstar Products Group, including Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping among others.  Oregon Scientific unveiled the Grill-Right Bluetooth® BBQ Thermometer that ensures meats aren’t overdone or undercooked via a smartphone app, while Allstar Products announced the wholesale availability of its Perfect Bacon™ Bowl to restaurant and foodservice operators.

Soda StationThe Lakeside Hall in McCormick Place was bubbling over with the show’s other major trend:  SodaStream competition.  I counted at least four new players to the self-carbonation or “soda system” market, including the Hamilton Beach Fizzini, the Mastrad Purefizz, the Emson SodaBoss and a new soda maker from KitchenAid (in partnership with SodaStream).  The Keurig Cold will also make soda and noncarbonated drinks like juices and teas using pods similar to those in Green Mountain’s.  Keurig announced recently that Coke will be the first company to feature its brands in the Keurig Cold, set to debut in 2015.  Expect some fierce competition in the ever-growing soda system category as the fizzy wars are just getting started.

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