Ever since I discovered Lakeland about ten years ago, I've been a big fan of their innovative kitchenware and home solutions. They really do some great gadgets and products that you never thought you needed (Bar Keeper's Friend for me), but now couldn't live without!
Earlier this week I was invited to Lakeland's Christmas show, detailing what's new for the festive season this year, along with some key trends that the company has identified over the next six months. Here's what I discovered:
Eat Like your Grandparents
This year's food lifestyle trend is fast developing as ‘Eat like your grandparents' and is based on ‘don't eat anything your great grandparents wouldn't have recognised as food'.
This essentially means cooking from scratch and making your own soups and sauces for example, but also having a little of what you fancy.
Souping is the new juicing
According to Lakeland, souping is showing longevity as a food trend. The New York Tines referred to souping as ‘the new juicing' and it was voted one of the most popular diet trends of 2016.
Google search data supports this, with soup searches more than double juice searches in January this year – and Lakeland's Touchscreen Soup Maker has already sold three times the forecasted sales for all of 2017!
The return of the pressure cooker
The pressure cooker is back! But it's no longer a tin pot rattling away on the hob; today's products are super easy to use, safe and effective.
Google searches for pressure cooking are up 15% on the year to date as we start to see the pressure cooking resurgence, and Lakeland is expanding its autumn range to meet demand.
For example, its new Graphologie pressure cooker literally spells out for you how to use it, so it's great for novices – and a risotto can be cooked in as little as 20% of the time it would take using more traditional methods – great for our time-poor lifestyles!
Bring on the baking!
Lakeland is also launching an array of new baking pieces to complement existing ranges, which is music to my ears as I'm more of a baker than a cook.
Sugar is back in favour (in limited quantities) and I'm all over Lakeland's Alice in Wonderland tea party theme, which features cake stands, drinking bottles, platters and cupcake cases for the perfect tea party.
Meanwhile, I was throughly impressed to learn about Russian piping, which creates intricate and impressive piping results.
Rumoured to have originated in Moscow, Russian piping can create lifelike flowers and detailed designs, so the company's new Russian Nozzle Piping Kit means that it's a cinch to recreate professional designs in your own kitchen.
New & exclusive knives
A new product called the EdgeKeeper knife is being launched for autumn, with a clever point of difference – the sharpener is in the storage sheath, meaning that every time you put it in its case (or pull it out), the knife is automatically sharpened. Nifty.
Clean like your grandparents
I'm a big fan of the duster and I like nothing more than watching Channel 4's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, so I was pleased to hear that Lakeland is introducing Dabitoff to the UK market.
If you're under 40, the name probably won't mean anything to you, but years ago this was the ultimate stain removing range in UK households.
It was taken off the shelves due to the chemicals that were used in the products at that time, but with those chemicals now removed, Dabitoff has made a comeback.
I was given a very impressive demo at the showcase, with Dabitoff being used on a carpet with a week-old coffee stain – and right before my eyes it came out so easily. This product is definitely going in my basket when I pop into the store.
I was also pleased to hear that the the Lakeland cleaning and stain removal range is focussed on achieving great results as quickly as possible – and everything in the range is tried and tested. If the result isn't ‘wow', it doesn't make it in to the range. Now that's what I like to hear.
Another cleaning product launched earlier this year is Vamoose – a spray bathroom cleaner that apparently delivers great results without the scrubbing. And this autumn the company is introducing the Turbo scrubber, with an exclusive set of cleaning heads to ensure maximum performance.
Other ‘on trends'
The showcase outlined a number of other trends emerging this year including fermentation (did you know that fermented foods actually help keep the good bacteria in your gut alive for longer?); sweet potato and avocado consumption has increased (UK consumption of avocados continues to see a steady 30% growth year-on-year); microwave cooking (with steamers and egg poachers both becoming increasingly popular); and indulgence – which includes both chocolate and alcohol.
I think I single-handedly made indulgence trend this year – especially on the chocolate side of things.
This year the company has also launched Prosecco Shimmer, which you can add to your drink to make it sparkle – very instagrammable!
And as the retailer looks forward to Christmas, Lakeland's food range appears to be its best yet- unique hampers, indulgent (and exclusive) Thomas & Grace chocolates, plus the return of last year's runaway successes – Peppermint Bark.
And then there's the expanding range of delicacies to pop in your beverage. We're talking Popaballs, Prosecco Shimmer, cocktaiI mixers, gin teabags, wild hibiscus flowers and sugar cocktail sticks, alongside some elegant glassware to pop them into.
Here's some interesting statistics from Lakeland's 2017 Trend Report
- Reusable shopping bags are up in sales more than 70% year-on-year
- Souping is the new juicing with Lakeland's Soup Maker already selling three times its 2017 forecast!
- Vamoose has already become the fastest selling cleaning agent that Lakeland has brought to market in over four years
- Following Michael Mosely's ‘Trust Me, I'm a Doctor” TV series, sales of Lakeland's Kefir Kit tripled overnight
- The nation is turning to healthy steaming with sales of microwavable steamers up 30% year-on-year
- Pressure cooking is back! Favourites such as risotto can be made in as little as 20% of the time.
- This year's summer must-have is Shimmer for Prosecco!