Monday March 4th, 2013 - 2:25PM
An excursion through this week’s International Home + Housewares Show should discover some exciting advancements.
Fully automatic. Robotic. Multi-functional. These are among the buzzwords along the show floor.
The easy life has been a worthy, value-added pursuit by the housewares industry for generations: long before Ed Norton and Ralph Kramden nearly 60 years ago tackled the question “Can it core a apple?” in the legendarily hilarious “Honeymooners” sketch pitching the Handy Housewife Helper all-in-one kitchen gadget.
While a good part of the industry inches us closer to a “Jetsons” kitchen, a very large core of the industry is working diligently to make sure we never completely get there.
It’s the part of the industry for which better mousetraps are conceived, developed and delivered in subtler evolutionary steps.
It’s the part of the industry focused on creating single-function items that perform those single functions with improved ease and precision.
It’s the part of the business that encourages hands-on involvement by home cooks, home entertainers, home caretakers and the like.
It is the part of the business that invites everyone to be a bit more interactive, a bit more expressive and a bit more personal.
Multi-tasking is a popular concept among today’s wireless generation seemingly so dependent on mobile connectivity. When it comes to housewares, though, it still can be quite rewarding to pause every so often to savor each task.
Whereby past iterations of multi-functional household products often meant a sacrifice in the efficacy of each individual function, today’s technology is engineering multi-purpose and automated tools that consistently perform at high levels from function to function. As practical and valuable as these more complex innovations have become, however, the industry continues to thrive from steady improvements in basic products.
The ambition of housewares product innovators over the years has been guided by the removal of toil from everyday tasks. The soul of the industry is no less colored by the enjoyment people derive from doing something uniquely special using their own elbow grease and brainpower.
Skill & Satisfaction
While shopping the International Home + Housewares Show this week, welcome with full fanfare the latest fully automatic, robotic, multi-functional wonders. But don’t dismiss as any less important the latest easy-to-use, single-function kitchen gadgets.
One person’s desire for a product that does all the work is another person’s desire for a product that cultivates the skill and satisfaction of do-it-yourself accomplishment.
The housewares business— and the consumer— would suffer profoundly without these seemingly contradictory, yet in reality highly complementary, product design and development catalysts.
The easy life is a matter of personal preference. Better mousetraps come in many forms, some more complex than others. You can count on the housewares industry’s dedication to delivering exciting advancements across such diversity year after year.