NEW YORK — At this year's International Home & Housewares Show, supermarket buyers can expect two trends to infuse products at every price point: style and sustainability.
The show — branded with the tag line “Hi. Style.” — will run March 16-18 in Chicago and will feature new signage that reflects the theme, Perry Reynolds, vice president, marketing and trade development, International Housewares Association, Rosemont, Ill., told SN at a press preview for the show held this month.
“The premise of, and the way we dress, the show are parallel to what's been going on in the industry over time,” he said. “One of the things we've seen, regardless of the price point of the product, is the emergence of design as a force with the consumer, and I believe the look of the show will both match what's going on in the industry and lead it slightly.”
Reynolds also thinks the “Hi. Style.” tag line is indicative of the types of products buyers will find at the show. This was the case in products seen at the preview event, including the three-dimensional, flower-shaped silicone cupcake molds (suggested retail price $20) by Lifetime Brands, Garden City, N.Y., and the art deco printed Mini Maxi Shopper (suggested retail price $7) by Germany's Reisenthel, a reusable shopping bag that folds into a chic keychain.
The demand for such shopping bags is rising thanks to the negative environmental impact of plastic bags, making them an ideal example of how the two top trends meet. “I think design is rivaled this year only by an emphasis on environmental issues and sustainability,” Reynolds said.
Many of the presentations taking place in the show's Design Theater will focus on bringing sustainability to product design, Reynolds said. “There will also be a sustainability display with a judge choosing 15 or 20 products for the best packaging using sustainable materials and 15 or 20 products made from sustainable materials.”
For example Casabella, Blauvelt, N.Y., will be at the show to introduce WayClean, a line of cleaning products made for the grocery channel. The line's flexible floor duster, hand duster and window washer all incorporate washable and reusable microfiber materials, and many of the line's price points will fall between $5.99 and $7.99. The line also incorporates a design element using black and green as the main color components throughout its products.
Furthering the melding of themes and elements, the Promotion in Motion exhibit area, often of interest to supermarket continuity buyers, will be integrated onto the main floor of the show.
Promotion in Motion, a name chosen after the Association of Retail Marketing Services folded, has been held a floor below the main show in recent years. “When those suppliers transitioned away from ARMS last year, we didn't have time to arrange the upper floor in such a way as to add them,” explained Reynolds. “The suppliers we talked to are very excited to be completely integrated into what's going on at the show. It's good for the show and its good for them.”
(ARMS is not to be confused with NARMS, the National Association for Retail Marketing Services.)
The current number of exhibitors scheduled to appear in the new Promotion in Motion section is 23, but that may increase as the show approaches, Reynolds said. Last year, the Promotion area had 37 exhibitors; some also had booths on the main show floors.