The Inspired Home Show returns to McCormick Place — first time since 2019

The Inspired Home Show was cooking once again inside Chicago's McCormick Place this weekend.

The trade show displays new products like a smart meat thermometer that communicates with your cellphone.

"It's like a little insurance policy to make sure you don't overcook, under cook. Everything stays nice, juicy and delicious," said Juli Roberts, Chef iQ.

This is also the place to spot trends, such as sustainability. That's one selling point behind a water saving, counter-top dishwasher from Daan Technologies.

Another big trend is devices that do it all, such as the food station that is an air fryer and smokeless grill. Plus, it bakes and dehydrates, according to Benny Itzkowitz from Gourmia.

The Inspired Home Show is not open to the public. It's a trade show for retailers to order housewares to sell consumers later. One clear trend is that we want nicer stuff, after a couple homebound pandemic years, while retailers want products not stuck in the supply chain.

"Our exhibitors, we asked them to bring things that they have ready to go. What's in your warehouse? What's ready to go? And so the retailers could come in and they could diversify their supply chain and find new ways to get product to put on the shelves," said Leana Salamah, International Housewares Association, VP of marketing.


This three-day sales fest hasn’t happened since 2019. The Home Show was the first major trade show to cancel when COVID-19 hit.

This show, which runs Saturday through Monday, brought about 20,000 people. That's less than half of those who attended pre-pandemic shows, but organizers were glad to just be back.

"It’s important to our industry because for two years they haven't been able to find new suppliers, new products. And it's important for Chicago. The convention business is so critical to this city. So we're just delighted to be back in-person again," said Salamah.

Don’t get too anxious to buy. Many products at the show won’t be on store shelves until holiday shopping time.