Wearers of hygiene items don’t have to think about these things because the overwhelming majority of diapers, feminine hygiene items and adult incontinence products are so superior in design that they don’t have to. The makers of adhesives and films and nonwovens and elastic spend a lot of time figuring out how all of these components can work in tandem to make a product that is comfortable to wear, non irritating, capable of absorbing a variety of bodily fluids and discreet. Considering how the way these components interact with each other changes as the demands of the final product change, this is a monumental task.
This month, Nonwovens Industry takes its annual look at the hygiene market from the suppliers’ point of view and we talk to makers of the many different components that make up the diaper or hygiene item to find out how their businesses are changing as design trends change.
On the tips of everyone’s tongues is softness. Driven by needs of the Chinese consumer, the emergence of ultra-soft diapers has impacted just about everyone doing business in hygiene during the past few years. And, experts don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon. In fact, most executives believe it still has a lot of traction and are adjusting their product offerings accordingly. Their job is to make it as easy as possible for their customers—the manufacturers of hygiene products—to make their customers happy.
Beyond softness, discretion, odor and sustainability are all considered topics that will increase in importance over the next several years. Certainly, at this year’s two hygiene related events—Outlook in Europe and Hygienix in the U.S.—sustainability, or rather how the hygiene industry can reduce its footprint—was something that was discussed at length. While the answer of how this can be achieved vary with who you ask, it seems that the emergence of “greener” hygiene markets is something that will continue. Time will tell how this will impact the component suppliers and their product lines.