During the past three weeks, there has been more news relating to adult incontinence than there has been all year. First, Paperpak announced it had a new owner; then, Whitestone bought fellow AI manufacturer Humanicare and finally Procter & Gamble said it would sell its small remaining adult diaper business, Attento, which is based in Japan. All of this news was quite fortuitous for Nonwovens Industry as March is the month we traditionally report on the adult incontinence market and we were happy to have these announcements to include in our usual reporting of new product news and hot market trends.
That's not to say that market trends aren't enough for a good story in adult incontinence. In fact, this segment is the one segment of disposables that is seeing strong growth opportunities. This is driven by the fact that the population is getting older. Unlike birth rates, a factor in disposable diaper sales, which are flat or declining in developed areas, or feminine hygiene usage, which is flat, the increasing number of elderly means more incontinence sufferers and, in turn, growth for this market. Whatmore, adult incontinence products are becoming more sophisticated as a more active senior requires increased discretion and comfort when wearing the device. And, while—like all disposable goods—adult incontinence is subject to cost pressures, these are not as great in other segments so manufacturers can get some reward for their innovations.
That said, I think we will be hearing a lot more about adult incontinence in years to come as makers of these devices and their suppliers focus on improving performance and comfort. Our complete adult incontinence coverage begins on page 54.
Also, in this issue associate editor Ellen Wuagneux reports on the spunlace market (page 28). Find out how new capacity will impact supply issues in this nonwovens technology segment. And, page 76 begins our IDEA 2007 issue. While most of our coverage of North America's largest nonwovens show will be featured in our April issue, this month we begin to reveal what some exhibitors will bring to the show.
As always, we appreciate your commnets.
Karen Bitz McIntyre