Happy New Year!

January 7, 2013

A couple of things to start off. First, I’d like to introduce myself as the new head editor of Nonwovens Industry. I’m taking over the helm from Karen McIntyre who is still on board, at your disposal, and luckily mine. I’ve been working here at Rodman on other publications for some time, so while the company is not new, the nonwovens industry is. And the learning curve is steep. As Rodman’s longtime nonwovens guru Karen’s help making the transition has been invaluable.

Next item on the agenda also has to do with home base. Rodman Publishing began operations back in 1964 and as many of you know has been covering the nonwovens industry since the 1970s. Since then the company has gone on to produce many other market-leading trade magazines. The company has undergone a minor facelift and has changed its name to Rodman Media. The name change “conveys the fact that we offer readers and partners solutions that go beyond traditional magazines” in the words of our president Rodman J. Zilenziger Jr.

Now, on to the issue at hand, that is, the one in your hand. We kick off the new year with our annual look at trends in the baby diaper market. I liked coming at this topic with fresh eyes because it highlights the thing I like about trade publishing, which is you get a behind the scenes look at the manufactured products that have become such integral parts of our lives. So common that most people don’t even realize there is even such a huge process behind them. It seems to me three key trends are driving the manufactured goods sector across many industries: 1. Technology innovation; 2. Sustainability; and 3. Investment in high growth markets.

In the case of the baby diaper, you would never realize it is such a technologically complex product operating in what is in a lot of ways a very dynamic market. The new Drylock Toujours diaper is the perfect example. It is the first diaper to hit the market that is made without the use of wood pulp. Not only is it a huge technological innovation to hit the market, its ecological advantages can be traced through all stages of the value chain from eliminating the need to cut down trees and consuming less energy to offering more compact products with less transportation and waste disposal impact.

In terms of high growth markets China is clearly leading the way and is likely to account for over 20% of the global diaper volume growth during the next five years. Many of the most recent investments into China and the Pacific Rim on behalf of diaper makers are highlighted in this year’s article.

Another trend in the baby diaper market comes to life in a little anecdote. My four-year-old daughter no longer wears diapers, but when I opened one of our closets one day not too long after I began compiling info for this year’s story there were a couple packs of old diapers on the shelf that I’d never gotten rid of, just in case. To the left, Target’s Up & Up and on the right, Huggies Night Time Pull-Ups. The battle for shelf space between private labelers and the big brands was being fought right there in my closet. I guess you could say it was an even fight, both winning in equal measure because I had purchased both. The point is that private label diapers continue to gain ground on the big brands. It’s an interesting cat and mouse game and one that
also is addressed in the article.

In addition to the baby diaper market, this issue is full of lots more information that I’m sure you
will find interesting and useful. I look forward to meeting many of you readers down the road and continuing to bring forth the highest quality editorial coverage of the nonwovens industry you’ve come to expect. Please feel free at anytime to offer up your feedback, questions or suggestions.

Tim Wright

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