Julie R. Thomson, Food Editor for Huffington Post, is a woman after my own heart.

There’s an overwhelming amount of kitchen tools on the market that are absolutely useless.”

In her September 22 article titled “18 Kitchen Gadgets That Question The Intelligence Of Human Beings”, she wrote, “There’s an overwhelming amount of kitchen tools on the market that are absolutely useless.  Most of them can be replaced with a simple kitchen knife — and all of them question the intelligence of the human race.”

I don’t know if I agree with her last comment – that many of the kitchen tools on the market “question the intelligence of the human race”  — but I wholeheartedly agree about the number of useless kitchen tools on the market.

Are Your Kitchen Gadgets Useless?The kitchen gadget section of the store is littered with what Thomson would call “useless tools”.  Take, for example, manual multi-blade fruit and vegetable choppers. Over the past couple of years, kitchen tool and gadget companies have launched all sorts of contraptions designed to chop, slice, and dice fruits and vegetables.

Very few of these multi-blade gadgets have really caught fire with consumers. The reason? Consumers are looking for ways to make the often-tedious process of chopping, slicing, and dicing fruits and vegetable easier and less time-consuming.  But manual multi-blade fruit and vegetable choppers aren’t the answer.  They don’t really save the consumer any time. In fact, when you factor in the amount of time it takes to set the chopper up beforehand and clean it up afterwards, many of the manual food choppers actually take longer to use than a kitchen knife. They don’t solve a problem for the consumer; they don’t make the chopping, slicing, and dicing fruits and vegetable any easier or less time-consuming.

One thing I’ve learned over the many years I’ve been doing consumer research is that if the consumers do not think a product meets a need or solves a problem for them, they are not going to buy it.

I’ve done dozens of research studies over the years and have found an almost perfect correlation between perceived need and purchase interest.  Let me illustrate with some data from an online survey I conducted a couple of years ago.

One of the products I tested was the Nest Learning Thermometer.  (Note: I conducted this test before Google bought Nest.)  67% of survey respondents said that the Nest Learning Thermometer would meet a need or solve a problem for them.  66% said they would be interested in purchasing the Nest.

Results of product concept test of NEST Learning Thermostat

I also tested the iKettle, an electric tea kettle that comes with Wi-Fi and its own dedicated smartphone app.  8% of respondents said that the iKettle would meet a need or solve a problem for them.  9% said they would be interested in purchasing it.

Results of product concept test of iKettle

If you don’t want your new products to end up on a list like the one Julie R. Thomson compiled for Huffington Post, make sure that the products you bring to market meet needs and solve problems for the consumer.

Learn how to develop products that meet consumer needs and solve consumer problems in “The Secret to New Product Success” ebook.  Download your free copy today!