IHA chatted with registered dietician and certified personal trainer Kim Kirchherr to get a taste of her multi-layered perspectives about food and healthy lifestyles that she will present at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics will include design innovation, smart home, digital commerce and global market trends.
Chicago-area resident Kim Kirchherr is an expert in many areas of nutrition and health. A registered dietitian nutritionist, she is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a past president of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She served as Chair of the Food & Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group and is a certified diabetes educator. She is also a certified personal trainer in the American College of Sports Medicine.
Through her varied career, she has developed experience in the fields of supermarkets, agriculture, media (traditional and social), hospital-based health and fitness centers, as well as outpatient medical nutrition therapy programs. She has chaired the FCP Agriculture and Supermarket Subgroups.
Kim, you have so many overlapping interests and a multi-faceted career. You must be fueled by superfoods and a remarkable physical training regimen! What fuels your inspiration?
There are so many to choose from! I became a dietitian because of a personal interest in health and well-being, so I understand the impact lifestyle choices can have on individuals and their family/friends. What inspires me is learning the unique perspectives of each person and audience I encounter. I try to help answer the questions they have on their minds literally from farm to table.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
When I was transitioning from high school to college, a health situation impacted my decision in a positive way to make this my career path. I think when you have a moment that means something to you personally, it can absolutely steer your decisions and help you see solutions for others in the same area even more clearly when paired with professional training and education, regardless of topic at hand.
The other moment I would mention involves all the new ways people around the world can be connected – through social media. This is a powerful tool that can change the way we interact with each other and with shared information. Technology of all types can be a positive thing when it’s employed in a way that helps others. It can also further tie strategy and tactics together if we let it. These are some of the ideas I’ll be covering in the session at the Show.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business?
People are less connected directly to farms, cooking skills have changed for many, and social media has increased the access to information from literally “everywhere.” These are some of the bigger moments that I think are incredibly important opportunities to consider when it comes to health and well-being. The conversation about trust and authenticity in this space, the desire to know more than “just” what’s on the label, and the ability to share opinions and ideas is an opportunity for us to connect with new people, businesses, and organizations —that is quite exciting.
The need for curiosity and really good listening skills is also more important than ever, as is the skill of knowing how to sift through the never-ending parade of content that we have access to so that we may get to the credible answers we seek.
Any tips for how to de-stress and find balance in the demanding 24/7 workplace?
I talk about topics in this area regularly on my blog because we must take care of ourselves and not forget the basic needs of being human. This is a fun way to think of it, because sleep, food, activity – they all seem so basic, yet they are incredibly important to managing stress, being able to problem solve, and staying healthy throughout the year. It’s much easier to be successful personally and professionally when we take care of ourselves. What’s somewhat complicated at times is figuring out how to navigate all this. I like to help people find new ways to think about this and make it easier to make informed, better choices.
This is your first time presenting at our Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
This is my first year in the Theater – last year I enjoyed being part of the Smart Talks very much. I am looking forward to the expanded opportunity to engage in a two-way dialogue about the topics we’re covering at the Show this year.
Health and Wellness in the Age of Instagram
Saturday, March 2 • 1:30 – 2:20 p.m.
Innovation Theater • Lakeside Center, E350
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
My session will focus on the personal and individual topic of health and well-being in an age where visuals are such a big part of telling a story. How can we take advantage of the information and imagery to support our true health goals while staying true to the science? Making what we know to be true about our food for health and planet is a relevant topic for us and for our personal communities. Helping people know how to navigate this and stay true to their values and comfort in terms of communication is critical in addition to keeping up with the latest information.
Health and food/nutrition information is constantly evolving. I’ll share some tips not only on the actual information we know now, but also talk about how to improve your own abilities to stay current and enjoy the bounty of information without being overwhelmed by it.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
• The conversation from farm to table in this sense offers nearly endless opportunities to engage with people. I also think that what I like to refer to as “kitchen confidence” (or the lack thereof) is something we all can keep in mind in this space.
• How do we help people learn new skills they may not have, whether it’s basic cooking or learning a new, healthier technique for a classic favorite dish?
• How can we help provide solutions to the everyday challenges people have—planning, selections, preparation and storage?
• How can we focus to ensure our values align with the choices we have to offer each individual?
• How can we help them find their way to what they want and what we have that can help them on their journey?
• These are the questions that are exciting opportunities to engage and have a productive and fun conversation about. Win-Win.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
I think if we look at how people define “health and wellness or well-being,” and how that continues to evolve and grow, that’s the overall challenge and opportunity for all involved. Taste, cost, convenience are all still there in the conversation, while new topics are added to the mix to shift the focus and conversation on a regular basis. Knowing we can’t be everything to everyone, how do we stay relevant while staying true to our own mission and vision whether individually or from a business perspective? This is the fun challenge we face today, and I look forward to the conversation in the Theater to move this conversation along in a productive and new way.
Thank you, Kim, for this tantalizing menu of fascinating topics; each one could be an exciting conversation! We look forward to hearing about how families can navigate food issues at home to enhance health and well-being in your presentation at the Innovation Theater on Saturday March 2 at 1:30 p.m. Directly after finishing this presentation, you will also share your thinking on The Business of Health: Being Authentic with Your Target Audience at the nearby Smart Home pavilion’s Smart Talks stage at 2:30 p.m. Show audiences will have two opportunities to learn from you on Saturday, March 2. Eager to see you!
To learn more about Kim Kirchherr’s activities and thinking, see www.kimkirchherr.com
Learn from an exciting schedule of programs about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater to hear about the latest research and analysis of consumer lifestyle trends and omni-channel marketing challenges. These presentations 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.