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

Lazy days of summer? Well, maybe a few. But the need for meal prep and cooking doesn’t take a vacation in summer, unless you’re lucky enough to be on vacation. That said, summer eats and cooking do look a little different when the air heats up and the sun stays out well into the evening.

Read on for some ways to connect with consumers on meal prep and cooking in the summertime. Spoiler alert: It’s all about new product inspiration, marketing and merchandising that tap into the joy of fresh and simple fare.

Fresh produce

Ever met someone who refuses to eat store-bought tomatoes (as in not ever)? We have. Freshly grown tomatoes are that good. As are fresh peaches, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, fresh corn on the cob and so many other fruits and veggies.

Retailers can tap into the delight of those summertime flavors by offering cooking classes, tastings or recipes that feature them. Maybe you can incorporate some elements of a farmers’ market or a you-pick farm into your marketing and merchandising.

And definitely consider featuring products that help shoppers prep, cook and serve the bounty of the season. Think paring knives, cutting boards, canning sets and specialty items such as cherry pitters or this herb and leafy green stripper from Microplane.


For those of us in four season climates, summertime opens up a whole new avenue for cooking– the outdoor grill. Plus, it’s a welcome opportunity to get outside and ditch the stove or oven.

But grilling represents a whole different way of cooking, and it’s downright intimidating to even some of the most seasoned indoor chefs. Customers are sure to appreciate tips for cooking with different types of grills, whether it takes the form of a fun outdoor session at your store or a social media campaign.

You can also offer up hacks and recipes for grilling with increasingly popular plant-based meats. And don’t forget to feature innovative new products like the GRIPmitt™ by WOW GEAR®, a versatile mitt designed for safe and easy handling of hot, cold and raw foods, as well as hot grills and pots while prepping, cooking, grilling, carving and slicing.

Simple, light and easy

We all still want to eat well in the summer but might not have the bandwidth for labor-intensive recipes or heavy flavors. Reflect on ways to help your shoppers keep things easy and light – whether that’s literally in terms of flavors and recipe suggestions or figuratively in terms of store messaging and displays.

Incorporating a touch of whimsy or playfulness into your marketing is one way to keep it light and easy, as are promotions that encourage one-stop shopping (maybe offering a few key ingredients to go along with a meal prep item or serving ware). You could also showcase products that are practical and easy like the Pickle Jar with Lifter by Kilner or just plain fun like the Butter Boy from Talisman Designs.

The HomePage News 2023 Consumer Outlook Survey asked consumers about their plans to purchase cutlery in the coming year. While open stock knife options are popular, consumers said they were most likely to purchase a knife set with cutlery block (30%). That was followed by chef’s knife (28%), steak knife set (28%), bread knife (21%), carving knife (21%) and paring knife (19%).

Get Ready for The Inspired Home Show 2024!

March 17-19, 2024