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What's Cooking in Kitchenware? WGB takes a look at some of the hippest culinary gadgets on the market today, from safer knives to kiwi corers.

As e-tailers continue to threaten brick-and-mortar's nonfoods sales, impulse buys are the secret ingredient that can enable the category to continue to thrive in-store. Most online nonfoods purchases are planned in advance, according to the Global Market Development Center (GMDC), but stocking grocery shelves with items that offer shoppers something that they need last minute, or didn't know they needed at all, is a great way for brick-and-mortar to stay competitive.

Kitchen items are among the top drivers of these impulse buys. Kitchenware was the top-trending category among the most popular products highlighted at GMDC's General Merchandise Conference. Also, grilling items have seen a surge in popularity, with 63% of grillers reporting grilling occasions throughout the year in 2015, according to GMDC. WGB takes a look at some of the top-trending and newest kitchen gadgets on the market.

Easier Produce Prep

Cutting fresh fruits and vegetables has been a longtime woe for home cooks, which has driven the demand for in-store produce "butchers" as well as gadgets that help speed up the task. Swiss manufacturer Zyliss has launched gadgets such as a pepper corer that also works on jalapenos, and a grapefruit tool that removes the core and segments without squirting juice everywhere. Other products to look out for include pineapple peelers; cherry and olive pitters; kiwi corers; strawberry hullers; watermelon wedgers; two-in-one avocado pitter and mashers; herb and kale strippers; tomato slicers and presses; cauliflower stemmers; and apple corers with improved grips or that are operated with a crank.

Multiuse Tools

While some home cooks enjoy having tools designed for each specific task, others prefer multipurpose tools that allow them to have fewer gadgets to store. Enter products such as Sarco Products' Fat Spatula, which can be used as a spatula, tongs and a strainer. These kitchen hybrids are getting more innovative by the day, with cutting boards attached to strainers or with builtin knife sharpeners; multi-vegetable choppers with catching containers; and a "vinegar mister" that mixes oil and vinegar into a sprayable salad dressing, among other highlights. Amazon is even selling a set of eight kitchen tools, including a lemon squeezer, egg separator and cheese grater, that fit into one sleek bottle that can also act as a measuring cup, funnel and vase.

Fermentation and Canning

Fermenting vegetables and canning jams may be old practices, but they have been reborn as today's consumers exhibit a desire to get back to the basics. This is evident in recent innovations among Newell Brands' long-standing Ball Jar line, with items such as amber-colored jars that block out 99% of food-damaging UV light, Elite jars for advanced canners and farmers, and novelty keepsake items that make perfect gifts. Gadgets are also hitting the market that make it easier to whip up kimchi or sauerkraut, such as Kraut Source, a simple attachment that fits onto the top of a mason jar and results in a perfectly fermented cultured creation in as little as five days.

Keep an Eye on Kickstarter

While items that are gaining traction on crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter are not available on the mainstream market yet, it is a great place for retailers wanting to stay apprised of upcoming trends or to be first to market with the latest gadget craze. Recent Kickstarter finds include Ironwood Cookware's sleek approach to the cast-iron skillet, which boasts a lightweight design and comes with a solid wood trivet and spoon to protect counters from the pan's heat and provide damage-free stirring. Another Kickstarter gem is the Safecut Knife, which comes with a patented built-in thumb protector that attaches to the handle so that it does not get lost. The ergonomie handle also offers a better grip.

Spiralizers and Ricers

Way back in the '80s, fat was considered the enemy, but today's consumers are more concerned about carbs, leading to a revolution of vegetables disguised as noodles and rice. More and more people are looking for ways to make zucchini noodles (zoodles) and other creations. While most vegetable ricers on the market are hand-pumped, spiralizers come in many shapes and sizes and can be hand-operated or electric. This means there is a spiralizer out there for every veggie noodle lover, from small hand-twisted versions that retail for about $10 and fit easily on a store's kitchen essentials shelf, to large electronics for those willing to shell out big bucks for fewer carbs and calories in their "pasta" dinners.

Environmentally Friendly, Healthy Storage

Plastic and other waste have become an enormous talking point in recent years, with many consumers working hard to reduce the amount of trash they produce and choosing more environmentally friendly options for food storage and packaging. As such, parents are sending their children off to school with peanut butter and jelly packaged in paper slips instead of yesterday's plastic sandwich bags, and storing leftovers in glass and steel containers. This trend has even moved into the grocery store and deli, with packaging products such as Fabri-Kal's TruWare containers, which are made from a minimum of 50% post-consumer recycled PET plastic, making them more sustainable and attractive to shoppers.
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Title Annotation:Nonfoods: Modern Conveniences
Author:Marcarelli, Rebekah
Publication:Winsight Grocery Business
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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