IHA checked in with Steve Katz, creator of Man the Kitchen, about his latest research on the behavior of male cooks in the kitchen and their preferences for products and environments at retail that he will discuss at the at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics discussed will include smart home, consumer shopping preferences, branding and global market trends.
Steve Katz created Man the Kitchen from a unique blend of ingredients from his personal and professional pantry. The recipe: Start with being raised in the family that owned the Stock Yards Packing Company, Chicago’s premier meat packing company and supplier to top restaurants nationwide. Add an undergraduate degree in anthropology and a keen understanding of people. Mix with almost two decades of food writing and recipes created for national newspapers and magazines, and consulting to the world of chefs, restaurants, producers and food. Most recently he has consulted to grocery and cookware executives, as well as polling, research and statistical analysis firms that study male consumers.
Steve is recognized for his expertise and thorough research on modern gender shifts and the redefinition of roles and responsibilities of cooks who prepare food at home, and the impacts of these changes for the food, groceries and cookware markets. In 2016, he authored the article “Man The Provider Is Really Man The Buyer,” published in The Future of Food Communication by MSL Consulting.
Steve, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work? What fuels your inspiration?
Currently, it is the challenge of creating Man the Kitchen as a brand and business that successfully and strategically delivers content, cookware and ingredients that will make the male home chef successful in the kitchen and at the grill. I’m inspired by every story I hear from anyone – male or female, young or old and across all backgrounds and countries—on the traits of how male home chefs cook and buy groceries, and their “own it” attitude about the cooking experience, process, equipment, ingredients and results.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
The world has changed, and society has demonstrated how quickly these changes are impacting people’s lives at home along with affecting the experiences of food and cooking. Food and cooking have moved from necessity to social entertainment at family gatherings during events and holidays to an everyday obsession.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How have you met these challenges in the way you do your work?
Man the Kitchen is in the early stages of coming to life in the marketplace, so the primary challenges have to do with creating a brand and deciding how and where to establish our place. We have met these challenges by continuing to broaden relationships, validating the consumer shifts as social realities instead of trends and focusing on how we advise others:
- Observe People and Behavior
- Capitalize on Market Intelligence
- Focus on Making Customers Successful (not just your company!)
Merchandising to the Future of Cooking: It Starts Now!
Saturday, March 10 11:30 a.m.—12:20 p.m.
Innovation Theater Lakeside Center Room E350
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show? Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
The Show is the largest window into the home consumer products world from the standpoints of manufacturers and designers, and it reveals what such companies believe consumers want and need. The Show provides an opportunity to speak with countless representatives at all levels in the industry and to hear their observations and perceptions about “the business.”
This year I will address the multigenerational dimensions of the food and cooking marketplace that fuel the consumer pipeline that should be the primary focus for Show attendees. I will provide ethnographic evidence and insights, together with research updates on polling, studies and surveys, and will present the information in an exciting, fun and, at times, funny program.
You’ve presented in the Innovation Theater before. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
This is my third year attending the Show and my second Innovation Theater presentation. I look forward to engaging and hearing from the Show attendees before, during and after my talk. I want to know what they see, observe and the challenges that they face in their work, and I hope that they will capitalize on the insights and realities that I discuss and substantiate.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
Consumers’ biggest headache is that the ease of obtaining information, including reviews of products, is more a blizzard of words on the Internet and social media that is more equivalent to consumer gossip aimed at self-expression, rather than objective and informed research, opinions or experience.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
From the standpoint of Man the Kitchen, the biggest challenge retailers face is the need to understand people, particularly the gender shifts resulting in a multigenerational kitchen brigade of male home chefs cooking up a storm across America!
This means abandoning stereotypes about the interests and traits of males and how they cook, buy and need merchandisers to be in their corner – while at the same time abandoning stereotypes of the roles and interests of women.
Thank you, Steve, for sharing your insights about how you understand the passions of men and women as they cook at home. Your entertaining presentation is sure to elicit chuckles and surprises as you bare the “secrets of the lost tribe” of male cooks and shoppers.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Critical issues such as global design trends, branding, the needs of distinct consumer age and gender groups, and questions about smart/connected devices in our home environments all impact the home goods market. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.