The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 2–4, 2025 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 2—4 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

July is National Picnic Month, but really, who needs an excuse to celebrate with picnics, outdoor concerts and trips to the beach or pool? As soon as Mother Nature blesses us with warm weather, most people can’t wait to get out and enjoy it.

But how to make the most of your summer outing and bring the comfort of home with you is another story. It’s a great opportunity for retailers to connect with consumers by providing ideas and inspiration, as well as products that will make their meal planning easier and their excursions more memorable.

What to eat or drink? How to carry it? How to keep it cold and delicious? And how to enjoy it once you get where you’re going? Answers to those questions will certainly be appreciated by your customers when the summer sun—or stars—are out, the air is warm and fresh and summer outings are on the table.


Salads—whether pasta, veggie or fruit—are generally easy to transport, as are finger foods like chips and salsa, items for a charcuterie board (to be assembled at the destination) or fried chicken. For dessert, Gemma Stafford of Bigger Bolder Baking says cream pies, trifles and puddings can be prepared in advance in individual mason jars for “stylish ease and portability.”

Of course, it doesn’t matter if you’ve prepared a four-course dinner or just some wine and cheese, getting it there (while intact and still cold or hot) is the name of the game. According to a recent article in Specialty Food magazine, “Unsurprisingly, what most people are looking for in a picnic is good food and drink that can be carried easily.”

To help consumers transport the best of home, there’s a growing number of stylish and multi-function carrying cases available, like the Frontier Picnic Backpack from Picnic Time—complete with a heat-sealed cooler on the bottom, a dry compartment on top and adjustable straps perfect for stowing a blanket. And also the High Road Beverage Tote by Talus, which features sleeves for four wine bottles in insulated Neoprene with a zippered pouch for snacks and supplies.

For all-day outings, there’s the Wagon Buggy by Creative Outdoor, which is a stylish option with a weight capacity of 150 pounds. It even has a removable sun canopy and can be transformed into a bench.


Picnics and summer outings are supposed to be easy and breezy. (Don’t we all just want to enjoy the setting with our family and friends?) That’s why it’s so important to help customers keep it simple.

Offering specialty food and beverage items alongside traditional picnic or home goods is one way to do that. Bonus points for including the white-hot category of canned cocktails and wine.

You can also share recipes and tips to help ease the meal prep and planning. (Think summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables, and other local or regional fare.) For dessert, Stafford likes cookies for portability, ease and kid-friendliness. She even offers several no-bake recipes on her site.


There’s no need to pack everything from home (especially the kitchen sink). A few choice items that are compact and multifunctional will help customers make their picnics and summer outings more comfortable.

Chairs or a blanket are probably top of the list. To offer more bang for the buck, consider the Tranquil Blanket from Pang Wangle, a handmade blanket from Indian artisans that contains safe Insect Shield® technology.

Small items that help set the mood or offer the comforts of home will also be appreciated. Consider umbrellas for day, lanterns for night and other necessities with creature comforts built in, like this Bluetooth speaker accessory from PURE Drinkware that attaches to most drink tumblers.


The International Housewares Association (IHA) just released its 2023 IHA Market Watch Report, which is designed to assist the home and housewares industry with connecting to consumer values.

Get Ready for The Inspired Home Show 2024!

March 17-19, 2024