Dining and Restaurants / Eating / Food and Cooking

2010 TRENDS: Housewares keep it simple, practical

Excerpts from a feature on housewares trends for 2010 Gourmet Retailer, Jan. 18:
– Value, quality and functionality are the new buzzwords in housewares as manufacturers seek to find a middle ground for both penny-pinchers and investors in 2010. Consumers crave comfort and peace of mind these days, which is why some of the key trends in housewares for 2010 will be centered on functionality and versatility, spiced up by a gradually evolving color palette and influenced by a few adventurous trends in food.
– Many new housewares products take their cue from food trends. The most obvious trend right now is consumers’ inclination to eat at home.
“Things that make eating cheap and eating healthy will boom,” says John Lehndorff, chief food trend researcher for American Forecaster, whose recent “Eat In Eat Out” report outlines food and dining trends. This includes slow cookers, rice cookers and immersion blenders, according to Lehndorff, a former food critic at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver.

Another “mega trend,” says Lehndorff, is the green and sustainable movement, especially appealing to younger consumers who are highly conscious of how and where their food is grown or produced. “For retailers, one of the great opportunities in the future will be niche marketing to people who have food allergies or environmental concerns,” says Lehndorff.

Changing American demographics and increasingly savvy consumers have also had an impact on food trends. “There’s this adventurous spirit right now, combined with more immigrant groups opening restaurants,” says Lehndorff. Consumers knowledgeable in all aspects of Asian foods, as well as their appreciation for regional differences in cuisine in places like India and Mexico, have sparked interest in lots of new spice mixtures and various masalas.

We are also in the “renaissance of the pig,” reports “Eat In Eat Out.” Artisan butchers and leading chefs have been producing their own head cheese, and have rediscovered parts of the pig previously disregarded, including pork feet, ears and jowls. The artisan movement in general is growing, according to Lehndorff. “House-made” items in restaurants, such as pickles or salume, may eventually make their way to the home chef, who will need the appropriate tools and equipment to ply their newly learned trade.

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