2005 May Issue
Cover Story
SM Success via the
‘Middle’ way
Ya Kun Kaya Toast goes overseas
2005 IHH Show pulled in record numbers of buyers and visitors
CK Tang sticks to vision and regains profitability after 12 years
Retailers in the
Philippines fight back


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2005 IHH Show pulled in record numbers of buyers and visitors


MORE than 20,000 registered buyers attended the International Home & Housewares Show 2005, an increase of 5.9% over the previous year’s. Total attendance, however, zoomed up to almost 60,000, thronging the 2,221 exhibiting companies gathered at McCormick Place, Chicago, in March this year.

Attendance from overseas increased nearly 10%, compared to 2004. The buyers came from more than 100 countries — reflecting the increased importance of the show as a sourcing and meeting place for retailers and manufacturers from around the globe.

“We are pleased to report these record results,” said Phil Brandl, president of International Housewares Association (IHA), the show’s not-for profit sponsor. “Exhibitors and buyers
to whom we have spoken both at and since the show are quite energised about the prospects for a solid year ahead.”

Some first-time buyers from Asia were pleasantly surprised that it was easy to negotiate the show as it was well organised and relatively easy to locate exhibitors they wanted to check out. Said Eduardo C Ponce, vice-president of marketing, Shoemart, Inc of the Philippines:
“The show is indeed well organised. There’re quite a few exhibitors we like to visit and some new products are of interest to us.”

A product that caught the attention of visitors this year was a food cleanser. Called VeggiePure food purifier, it uses O3 (Activated Oxygen), which is a powerful natural sanitiser, to create oxygen-rich water; the oxygen-rich water, combined with the VeggiePure’s strong washing action, breaks down and removes pesticides and chemicals from vegetables and fruit. It can also kill most food-borne germs, including E.Coli and
Salmonella bacteria commonly found on food.

The VeggiePure was invented by an engineer who wanted to protect his family from pesticides and other chemicals that are often found on non-organic produce. George Cheung got some of his fellow engineers together to come up with the simple but effective food

Cheung said: “The basic idea is to use O3 to remove pesticides, fertilisers and chemicals as well as to kill off bacteria, especially from fruits such as strawberries, apples, peaches and those that we normally run under a tap before eating them.”

Is O3 safe?
“O3 has been used for food processing and water purification for many years and it is approved by the US FDA (Federal Department of Agriculture),” said Cheung, adding that most bottled water in the supermarkets today is treated with O3.

Cheung is also marketing a range of hand-held vacuum food-storage systems that can keep food fresh up to five times longer than in normal food containers. The VacuFresh container is ideal for food leftovers or preserving the freshness of coffee beans, pastas and snacks.
It can also be used for quick marinating of meats, achieving flavour penetration within minutes.

For more product specifications and pricing, log on to or contact Cheung at for bulk purchases.

The Hong Kong pavilion in the South Hall also saw buyers checking out the EcoZone (HK) Limited booth, which was exhibiting its line of air purifiers, ranging from desktop unit to wallor
ceiling-mounted systems.

Managing director Victor Lam said: “The EcoZone air-purification system is very easy to install and maintain, despite it being a very versatile system.

“It generates not only low concentrate ozone to kill bacteria and viruses and eliminate odours but produce ions as well to improve air quality. The builtin electrostatic dust trap removes dust particles and mites, and fumes too.

“The air purifiers can be used in homes, offices, hospitals, clinics, schools, hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs.”

In fact, EcoZone is responsible for a steady stream of “fresh forest air” into the concrete jungles of urban cities like Hong Kong.

Lam revealed that some architects have shown interest in incorporating EcoZone air-purification systems into their building projects.

The company even has a mini air purifier for people on the move. Just jack it into your lighter outlet in your car and soon it eliminates odours and improves the air quality in your vehicle.

To contact EcoZone, go to or send your trade enquiries to

Health seems to be a major concern nowadays, so retailers are always on the lookout for health-enhancement products. Another manufacturer quick to tap the consumers’ concern at the show was Esencia of South Korea.

It was this Korean company that developed the world’s first toothbrush steriliser by adopting the UV-ray technology. And it did this in 1989!

For 2005, Esencia expects sales of its award-winning toothbrush sterilisers to hit US$50 million, of which foreign sales will account for $10 million.

Esencia president Shin Choong-sik said: “Backed by our success in the domestic market, Esencia is now vigorously exploring the overseas market.

“We can produce to ISO9001-standard 100,000 sterilisers a month. I foresee phenomenal sales growth, especially in China and other Asian countries,where people are becoming more aware of the importance of oral hygiene.

“We have received serious enquiries for our product at the show. I am confident our toothbrush sterilisers will sell well here and back in Asia.”

Shin can be contacted at or you can visit its website:

A US company which is looking for distributors in Asia, except South Korea, is Omega Products Inc, the maker of the famous line of Omega Juicers.

It is so confident of its juice extractors that, for example, it is offering a 15-year warranty for its Omega 4000 professional pulp ejector, which is ideal for the family or light commercial use, such as running a small fruit juice bar.

If you are targeting smaller families, the Omega 1000, the “original” centrifuge juicer, is a highly efficient and an easy-to-clean fruit/vegetable extractor. It comes with a 10-year warranty.

For a comprehensive list of different juicers and prices, you can contact Jeffrey Long at .

An innovative product being launched at the show was the Beehive Hanger. This device is a simple, fast and accurate way of hanging a picture, mirror or other decorative items on the
wall. It adjusts or aligns framed photographs in any direction — 1/8th-inch at a time within seconds.

Said inventor Herb Bigelow: “I moved into a new condominium and had a hard time trying to align three pictures on the wall with equal spacing between them. I spend hours getting them right; and, in the process, got a wall full of holes!”

Bigelow hit upon the idea of a beehive- like metal plate to be attached onto the back of a picture frame and hooked it onto positioning pins in the wall.

The idea works … perfect positioning of picture(s) every time!

Bigelow is now the president of Idea Stream, Inc. He can be contacted at

Another simple and handy household product looking for distributors in Asia is the HandyHanger. It is a smart and easy way to hang your trousers, skirts or shorts without creasing them. And you can hang up to seven pairs of pants on a single HandyHanger.

Visit to view its range of hangers. If you like the product for your store, contact general manager Michele Easter at .

This year’s show was indeed a happy hunting ground for retailers looking for new and innovative products to sell. Many of the exhibits were trendy and in tune with the colour trends as predicted in a presentation “ColorWatch” by Pantone.

Visitors to the all-new Downtown GOHO were feted with cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs as well as having access to NASFT’s Specialty Food Marketplace, featuring awardwinning gourmet-specialty food products and tastings.

Indeed, Downtown GOHO — buildingon the successful debut of its Gourmet Home & Food District at the 2004 show — recorded an increase in new exhibitors and a new Cook Book Nook, featuring the latest titles from the many new cookbook suppliers.

For those who missed the 2005 IHH Show, you can still view some of the exhibits at . The next IHH Show in Chicago is from 12-14 March 2006.


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