Back from the Chicago Housewares Show

March 24, 2010

Any lingering doubts about the “Great Recession” being at its end, at least for the housewares industry, were dispelled over the three-day International Housewares Show.  Buyers arrived earlier; Buyers stayed longer; and some even did some business while there.  Last year when people said they had a “great show”, you really didn’t believe them.  2009 saw some buyers literally flew in on a Sunday morning, walked through the show to just make an appearance and disappeared back to the airport to catch a evening flight back to work.  This year is testimony that America’s consuming heart isn’t at a standstill any longer.  Inventories were depleted by a decent fourth quarter so buyer’s are back in business.  There were some new colors.  There were new offerings (one cookware company brought over three hundred new product prototypes to the show. Perhaps 40 will make the cut. Still a pretty good vote of confidence in the future.  Registrations for show visitors were ahead 13% and there was even evidence that negotiations with the notorious McCormick Place unions resulted in some more rational behavior by the set up artists. The IHA had floated the idea of moving to the show to sunnier and more work-rule friendly climes.  Even the weather cooperated this year and it was possible to walk outside without bundling up.

Snacking More and More….

March 4, 2010

The New York Times reported on March 2:  On average, children reach for cookies, chips and other treats about three times a day, consuming nearly 600 daily calories from snacks. That’s an increase of 168 snack calories compared with what children ate in the late 1970s.

The new study simply adds confirmation to what most Americans intuitively know:  our kids are getting fatter, are getting less exercise, and they are setting themselves up for future medical problems at younger and younger ages.

If more kids ate this way!!

So who is to blame?  Many families have both parents working, so kids come home from school and nosh on the snacks, sitting in front of the computer or the game machine.  Organized sports seem to happen only in the suburbs.  Parents too tired or stressed by life let kids get their own eats.

Processed food companies are only too happy to obliged with offerings carefully crafted to appeal to the young appetite.  Psychological based packaging draws attention to the offering whether in the store of on the home shelf.

Another study we recently read indicated that childhood obesity is correlated with a couple of key things:  How often the family eats together (the less time together, the more obesity); how many hours a day the television is on (snacking and TV seem made for one another, especially when commercials remind us we are “hungry” whether we are or not.)  $1.6 billion was spent on advertising to children and adolescents with snack foods being one of the largest spenders.

Good health just doesn’t happen.  And it can start in the home!