According to Suominen’s own end-user research, consumers are increasingly interested in biodegradable wipes and other eco-friendly products made of nonwovens. This is, of course, part of a bigger megatrend that extends beyond fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business or any single industry. And it’s not solely consumer-driven: legislation and media attention among other factors build up the trend as well.
In practice, the sustainability trend means that consumers are looking for, e.g., wipes made of natural ingredients, biodegradable fibers from renewable sources. These fibers could include, for instance, pulp, cotton and polylactic acid, also known as PLA. Bio-fibers such as those are more and more likely to find their way into nonwoven end-products of all kinds: baby wipes, personal care and household wipes.
When talking about wipes, it’s not just their raw material fibers that concern consumers. In fact, all the additives that wipes contain worry at least as much. These additives could be, e.g., preservatives that prevent bacterial growth. In other words, they are chemicals.
It’s understandable that everyone wants to avoid ingredients that may turn out to be harmful in a way or another. This is what steers consumers towards organic and ‘natural’ products.
“In addition to providing convenience, consumers want to be absolutely sure the products that go on their skin are safe and environmentally friendly,” explains Elisabeth Swennenhuis, Product Manager, Personal care at Suominen.
People’s appreciation of renewable raw materials was already mentioned but there’s also another aspect to scarcity of natural resources: Water. According to World Economic Forum, water crises are seen as the biggest global risk for the next 10 years.
Water shortages and droughts are already affecting people’s lives, like we have witnessed in California, US, for example. These crises may force consumers to turn to water-saving products in personal care, household applications. Are consumer goods companies prepared to offer people solutions that will do the job without water?