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Kitchenware to Streamline Millennial Lives

By Lorrie Baumann

Millennials are grown up, becoming parents and even sending their youngest children off to school now, and kitchenware and housewares manufacturers are responding to their current needs with products to streamline their experiences in the kitchen while also allowing them to be certain of what they’re eating and what they’re feeding their children. That same Millennial need to be certain of the value of what they’re feeding their children is also spurring growth for organic food, personal care products and fibers, which are all seeing a boom that’s not expected to bust any time soon.

For the household, that need is being fulfilled by take-along food containers that can be filled with grass-fed yogurt or organic butternut squash soup and then tossed into a school lunchbox without much fear that they’ll leak all over last night’s math homework all the way up to a picnic cooler from Built NY that’s designed to take on the weekend-in-the-woods competition with YETI’s soft-sided cooler totes at a more attractive price point. Many of these offerings will be launching this year at the International Home + Housewares Show, scheduled for March 10-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

Goods for the On-the-Go

Pack-It is in this mix of products designed to appeal to active and health-conscious Millennial consumers with its new Freezable Double Wine Bag, which comes out of a night in the freezer with enough chill power to keep two bottles of wine cold for up to 10 hours. It has an over-the-shoulder design in nontoxic poly canvas with an interior gel divider to provide 360-degree cooling for the bottles inside and a webbed strap. It comes in two fabric colors: the multicolored Blanket Stripe and Sophie, which is a charcoal gray herringbone tweed look. Both have black stripes. The Freezable Double Wine Bag will retail for $21.99.

Also new is Pack-It’s Freezable Can Cooler Backpack, which will chill 18 12-ounce cans or a family meal and keep it cool for three or more hours with Pack-It’s new Radiant Shield Technology. A welded inner liner allows for the addition of extra ice in a leak-proof interior that cleans up easily. A front zipper pocket will hold car keys and a cell phone while a top zipper pocket provides storage for napkins and eating utensils. Like other Pack-It products, it folds flat to go in the freezer or for storage between uses. It’s available in either Charcoal or Navy Buffalo.

GoodCook brings its Meals on the Run collection with a whole range of sizes and styles of containers with silicone-sealed locking lids to keep food safe in backpack or purse. One of the coolest of these is a double-decker container that unfolds to hold a sandwich in one half and the lettuce and tomatoes or sliced fruit or sticks of rabbit food in the other half. The collection even includes a bento box container with eating utensils included. They’re all sold individually with retail prices ranging from $3.99 to $8.99.

For even stronger leak-proof performance, there’s the EMSA Clip&Go containers, high-end containers offered in the U.S. through a partnership between Bradshaw Industries and German manufacturer EMSA. Freezable and microwavable, these plastic containers are engineered with integral silicone seals in their lids that leave no gaps, so the containers are airtight, leak-proof and impenetrable by germs. Foods stored in the containers have been tested and proven to stay fresh twice as long in these containers during refrigerator storage, compared to foods stored under plastic wrap, according to the company. They’re virtually indestructible and guaranteed to last a minimum of 30 years, with suggested retail prices ranging from $2.99 to $9.99.

At the top end of this spectrum is the BUILT NY Welded Cooler Bag from Lifetime Brands, which is constructed with a leak-proof body and welded seams of a heavy-duty material similar to that used for whitewater rafts, so that it will, according to BUILT NY, keep its contents cold for days. Its zippered top opens out to create an opening about the diameter of a bushel basket, so it’s easy either to clean or to load in 10 pounds of ice along with 18 cans of soda or up to 30 pounds of ice alone. It has a padded, adjustable strap and reinforced side handles, an attached bottle opener and multiple tie-down points. Clearly aimed at shoppers who will also be looking at YETI Hopper soft-sided cooler bags, the BUILT NY Welded Cooler Bag is a pound and a half lighter than the comparable-size Hopper bag and will retail for $179.99.

Can’t-Miss Kitchenware

For inside the kitchen, Instant Pot is coming out with a new model called the Instant Pot Max that’s the first small household pressure cooker on the market that can develop 15 pounds of pressure per square inch and maintain it for extended periods, so it can be used for pressure-canning of low-acid products as well as for the everyday multi-cooking that has built a cult following for Instant Pot. Available to ship in April, the Instant Pot Max has a 6-quart capacity – that’s total capacity; it won’t accommodate six quart-size canning jars – and offers touch screen controls and an automatic stirrer for an easy risotto or bone broth as well as button-controlled venting so the user doesn’t have to reach over the pot to the valve to release the pressure.

Thirteen safety features – more than offered by previous Instant Pot models – keep the device safe for the kitchen, and a lid detection indicator is designed to prevent the frustration that some novice users have reported to the company after their pressure cooker has refused to operate because the lid wasn’t properly secured. It’ll retail for around $200.

Robinson Home Products is bringing out a couple of lines of tools and utensils that are of particular interest. The Studio Cuisine collection is a line of utensils with handles in faux natural materials. They’re made with hydrographic printing, a new technology that creates designs that mimic the look of natural wood, yet they’re sturdy and durable. A line with handles that mimic granite will be coming out soon. Pieces retail for $4.99 and up.

Robinson Home Products’ Craft Kitchen is a brand of gadgets, cookware and casual dinnerware designed to appeal to the Millennial foodie. The gadgets are the classic essentials – peeler, whisk and so on, in matte steel with black acacia wood handles, designed for a retro look but updated to be ergonomic for a combination of solid performance and a satisfying feel in the hand. The pieces offer a lifetime guarantee on all items, and they’ll be ready to ship in June.

Progressive is bringing out a couple of really cool unitasker gadgets for its PL8 line of premium kitchenware products. The patented Flip-Blade Avocado Tool has a retractable blade that halves and slices avocados safely, a pit remover and a silicone scoop all in one easy-to-store tool that’s dishwasher safe. The Core & Peel Apple Tool has a hollow metal tube to core apples or pears and an integrated peeler mechanism that slides out to eject the core and then peel the fruit. The peeler locks into position for safety, and this gadget is also dishwasher-safe.

DKB Household USA is offering its own handy unitasker with the Zyliss 2-in-1 Pepper Corer. This handy little gadget is designed to hollow out a bell pepper or a jalapeno with a turn of the wrist to make stuffed peppers an easier standby. It’s easy to store, easy to clean, and it’s dishwasher safe. It’ll retail fro $9.99. The Zyliss Twist & Scoop Grapefruit Tool is designed specifically to segment clean cuts of grapefruit with its built-in corer and double-sided stainless steel blade. The corer locks inside the scoop for compact storage, and it’s dishwasher-safe.

The Negg is another handy unitasker. This little gadget makes child’s play out of peeling perfect hard-cooked eggs. It’s a plastic container with silicone caps, molded with little knobs on its inside wall. The user drops the egg inside the container, adds a little water, caps it and shakes it for a minute or two to knock the egg around against the plastic knobs. The shell shatters, staying attached to its inner membrane, so it peels off the egg with a minimum of effort, leaving behind an unpocked egg.
Bonnie Tyler, who invented this work of genius, says she had the idea after she had foolishly volunteered to bring a dozen deviled eggs to a potluck, only to discover after her eggs had been cooked that the shells wouldn’t peel off the whites without leaving divots. She knew immediately that there just had to be a better way, so she went to work to figure out what that might be. She did some research into how industrial food processors shell hard-cooked eggs, came up with an idea for a home kitchen version, and got together with business partner Sheila Torgan, who knows how to do computer-assisted design. The two of them had worked together for decades on branding and marketing, but Tyler had a yen to produce a tangible product of her own, and Torgan was all in.

They used the 3-D printer in their local public library to produce their first prototypes, and when they had a product that was ready to bring to market, they arranged to have it manufactured in Connecticut and started selling it on HSN, where Tyler just has to demonstrate how easily it produces perfect results to do land-office business at a retail price of $17.95. It’s dishwasher safe and available in seven colors.

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