2016 Nonwovens Sales: $300 million
Hazleton, PA; McElhattan, PA; Wuxi, China
First Quality Nonwovens made headlines earlier this year when it promoted its ingredient brand, Dri-Fit. Dri-Fit innovations are found within Prevail incontinence, store brand feminine care and incontinence products, and help promote skin health by managing consumers’ microclimates – the small layer of air between skin and whatever consumers are wearing. With an innovative blend of natural and synthetic fibers, Dri-Fit provides features that reduce pressure, moisture and temperature to ultimately help keep skin more dry, comfortable and healthy.
As a leading manufacturer and supplier of store brand feminine care and incontinence products, First Quality has focused on driving growing enthusiasm for store brand products by developing the Dri-Fit innovation, which drives break-through innovation not just for store brands, but the broader category. In fact, according to a report by Mintel, 97% of shoppers age 18-36 say they’re likely to buy a store brand, and 42% agree store brand products are more innovative than name brand ones.
“While millennials are leading the demand for store brand products, we’ve also seen a growing interest across older demographics and want to help consumers of all generations feel more natural when experiencing periods or incontinence,” says First Quality. “As an industry leader in the manufacturing and supply of store brand feminine care and incontinence products, we want products featuring the Dri-Fit logo to be known as innovative, accessible, and affordable options for consumers.”
Feminine care and incontinence products incorporating the Dri-Fit system span protective underwear, bladder control pads/liners, ultrathin maxi pads, thick maxi pads, and panty-liners, and can be found at all major food, drug, mass, dollar, e-commerce and club chains. Consumers can look for the Dri-Fit logo to easily differentiate which products contain this technology.
In other news, First Quality Baby Products LLC received another coup in April 2017 when a U.S. Supreme Court Judged rulled that the company did not infringe a handful of claims involving diaper designs in a dispute with Swedish rival SCA. District Court Judge Greg N. Stivers wrote in an April 10 opinion that SCA can’t prove that most of First Quality’s children’s and adult diapers violate provisions of SCA’s patent covering designs for “absorbent pants-type diapers,” saying the placement of elastic threads and absorbent pads in the accused products don’t align with SCA’s patent.
The court rejected summary judgment as to one product category, deciding that “there is a genuine dispute as to whether this portion of the elastic laminate material can no longer be considered part of an elastically stretchable region,” which would determine whether the element is consistent with SCA’s patent.
First Quality’s hygiene operations are largely fueled by its massive nonwovens business. While the company is tight-lipped on its activities in the segment, most experts agree that the Great Neck, NY-based company makes about 100,000 tons of spunmelt nonwovens at two plants in Pennsylvania where it also reportedly operates two spunlace lines.
First Quality’s hygiene business, which includes the former Covidien/Tyco diaper business purchased by the company in 2008, as well as its heritage businesses in the private label feminine hygiene and adult incontinence markets, was boosted in 2015 when the company acquired the Fempro brand of feminine hygiene products. Fempro Consumer Products, as it has since been known, has 20 years of experience manufacturing private label and national branded feminine hygiene products and absorbent food pads in Canada. Located in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada, Fempro has a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and a workforce of more than 150 employees.
Fempro’s complementary product lines further diversified First Quality’s feminine hygiene product portfolio and provided First Quality with a strategic physical presence in Canada from which to expand its product offerings to the Canadian consumer.