What's cooking at this week's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) in Chicago? A full menu of new appliance technolog, from the largest single gathering of major appliance suppliers ever brought together in this country.
The show's emphasis will be on cooking appliances, including a new crop of quick-cooking ovens designed to cut food-prep time by more than half.
In addition, refrigeration products -- from jumbo side-by-sides to slim compacts to the new and trendy wine coolers -- will bow at McCormick Place. And several manufacturers are also expected to roll out "concept" prototypes for a sneak preview of how their designers see white goods evolving over the course of this decade and beyond (see related story below).
The show attracts most of the full-line appliance manufacturers, as well as many "niche" or specialty suppliers. Several import firms, including Haier America Trading and Danby Products, will be exhibiting at this year's K/BIS for the first time.
Here's a brief sampling of what some of the companies exhibiting at K/BIS will be showing in Chicago, based on information available at press time:
GE Appliances is putting its Monogram line in the spotlight with a "beverage center" designed for use in bedroom or bath. The company is also repositioning its trash compactor in the Monogram line as a home office product to dispose of junk mail and papers.
Whirlpool's K/BIS entries include its new floor-standing Whispure air purifier, first introduced at the January Housewares Show. The company's KitchenAid division, which showed off several new cooking appliances at this year's Builders Show, is expected to focus on introductions in other majap categories at K/BIS.
Maytag, which displayed its long-awaited Accellis oven in its Jenn-Air line at the Builders Show, moves the Accellis technology to its Maytag brand for K/BIS, this time in a full-size range called the 2X. The company will also unveil its latest-generation Neptune laundry pair, with a new Stain Brain stain-removal feature.
Viking has a new booth design to complement its new appliances. Company officials will be talking about Viking's new refrigerator line, which the firm begins manufacturing for itself this summer.
First-time exhibitor Danby Products is expanding its Millennium appliance series with a new line of compact refrigerators in 1.8-, 2.6- and 4.4-cubic-foot sizes.
Another first-time K/BIS entrant, Haier America Trading, is presenting a new 4.4-cubic-foot stainless-steel compact refrigerator as well as its first wine cooler, a 30-bottle unit with smoked-glass door.
Fisher & Paykel will be showcasing its new Ecosmart energy-efficient washer, plus the cooking appliances it previewed early this year.