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Transcript: Episode 50. Highlights From Our First 2 Years

Jack Hughes:
[00:00:00] Hey, attached to hygiene listeners. Thank you for joining us today. If you saw the title for this episode, you know this is our 50th episode, and to celebrate. We're looking back at some of the different topics we've talked about over the previous 49 episodes.[00:00:30]
[00:00:30] Welcome to Attach to Hygiene, the podcast that enables you to grow your knowledge and influence in the absorbent hygiene industry. My name is Jack Hughes and my mission is to help you, the absorbent hygiene article producer, design, and produce the best possible products to meet the needs of your customers.
[00:00:51] On today's episode, we're revisiting some of the highlights from our first 49 episodes. If you haven't listened to all of our previous [00:01:00] episodes, I hope you'll be encouraged to go back and listen to an episode you haven't heard yet. Our goal when we launched in May of 2021. Was to chat with experts from Bostik and other industry players, allowing them to provide you with valuable insights into market andconsumer trends in the absorbent hygiene industry.
[00:01:18] The end goal, as always, was to help you grow your knowledge and influence in this absorbent hygiene industry. Since we launched, we've touched on many topics relevant to the industry [00:01:30] from an overall market overview, to discussions on major market trends. To episodes focusing on adult incontinence, baby care, and menstrual health.
[00:01:39] We've gone deeper into all of the geographic regions. And even done specific episodes on India and Latin America. We looked at topics like odour, softness, adhesives, industry regulations, the future of hygiene, sustainability, market research and testing, and absorbent cores. We've covered two industry conferences [00:02:00] and even talk directly to incontinence product users from Europe and North America.
[00:02:05] I know I've learned a lot by speaking with our guests, and I hope you've learned from our conversations as well. So now that you know how and why we started the podcast, let's go back and look at what some of our guests have had to share about the industry over the last two years. We'll start with an overview of the absorbent hygiene market, which Paul Andrews gave us in episode two.
[00:02:26] Paul started by sharing his appreciation for how much our [00:02:30] industry is impacted by consumer needs and trends.
Paul Andrews:
Even forgetting, and I wish we could forget quite a lot of it actually, the, the many challenges of the last 12 months. It is constantly changing. It's a constantly changing market. In many cases. I think the changes are to the benefit of the consumer and the industry in general.
[00:02:48] Many of these changes impact us as suppliers and that considering we are in a, a B2B industry, we are really impacted by changing consumer needs. The changes in [00:03:00] expectations and the  habits. And really what they're looking for and how they use their products.
Jack:
[00:03:05] Then he gave us an overview of the size of the market.
Paul:
[00:03:08] I hope our audience likes data because we do have a lot of data, mainly coming from Euromonitor. We look at that, uh, market data, and we see that the global market is somewhere in the region of 490 billion units per year. And it comes as no surprise that when we look at the market, we consider three main [00:03:30] areas.
[00:03:30] So that's baby care. Femcare and adult incontinence. Note globally, the femcare market is the largest with something like 275 billion units per year. So close to 60% of the global market for hygiene is in femcare. Baby Care makes up around 35% of, of rest of that market, so 170 billion units ish, and then adult care is the smallest part of that market.
[00:03:56] With something like  50 billion units per year.
Jack:
[00:03:59] We know that the [00:04:00] market is dynamic and it is big, given that nearly every person in the world will use one or more types of absorbent hygiene products at some point in their lives. But how about some specifics on those three markets that Paul mentioned?
[00:04:13] We've discussed adult incontinence in several episodes, but Diane Toonen really explained the condition best in episodes 14 and 15, which also featured Adam Greenberg and Vicky Wolpoff.
Diane Toonen:
[00:04:25] But incontinence broadly is defined as the inability of the body to [00:04:30] control the function of urination or defecation, which covers, as was said, a huge range of function.
[00:04:36] Anything from an occasional small leak to. Full loss of control, and there are so many different types of incontinence, so both fecal as well as urinary incontinence, but just to highlight a few to show that diversity. There’s stress incontinence, which is often a small leak in a situation like sneezing or coughing or exercising.
[00:04:57] So a smaller occasional [00:05:00] leak to overflow, which is a leakage due to full capacity. Of the bladder to urge, which is an overactive bladder to functional, which is a full loss of control. So again, as we’ve been talking about throughout this, it’s very diverse and and complex.
Vicki Wolpoff:
And what some people don’t realize about incontinence is just how many people it impacts.
[00:05:22] In terms of statistics, one third of people affected by incontinence are under the age of 30. A lot of people think it is something that [00:05:30] affects older people, women, things like that, but really a third of those people are under 30 years of age.
Adam Greenburg:
Yeah. Just add onto that. The urinary incontinence is estimated to be, uh, 25%.
[00:05:41] So one in four of adults are dealing with some form of, of, uh, bladder dysfunction. Um, whether that’s actual incontinence, loss of control, or just going to the bathroom too frequently, and about 8% of adults are estimated to be dealing with bowel incontinence of some shape or form. As [00:06:00] Vicki said, you know, it’s something that, so in total you have basically one in three people dealing with incontinence, uh, today or at some point in the near future, two in three will deal with it at some point in their lifetime.
[00:06:13] In fact, the number is probably even even higher than that. But three in three, 100% of us are going to be dealing with it, either with ourselves or somebody in our close family.
Jack:
But how do people actually manage the condition? Well, I was lucky enough to sit in on two panel interviews [00:06:30] with six different individuals who are managing incontinence, which we shared in episodes 30 and 32.
[00:06:36] The discussions overall were incredibly powerful, but I think the big takeaway for you as article manufacturers is what recommendations those product users had for product producers.

Paul:
Like I said earlier, I used like up to six different products. So one of the issues that I have is I love using the, the pull-ups.
[00:06:58] Uh, for example, [00:07:00] when I’m out in a public setting and I need to change the product in the men’s room, that becomes an issue with me because then you have to remove your pants, your shoes, and not your socks obviously, but your shoes, and then discard product and then put a. Pull on up. So if I'm faced with a situation like that, then I prefer to use a new product that's tape on so that I don't have to remove my shoes and pants in in order to change it.
[00:07:29] Just, [00:07:30] it's quicker. Yeah. And it's less humiliating because then, then you have to carry the product out. Of the, of the stall that you're in and discarded in, in the, in the waste receptacle. And if the, the washroom is used by several different men, it's uh, it's even more challenging for me. I really like the pull on style of the briefs that are available today, and I prefer to use those, but there are situations where I can't use those.
Beth:
[00:07:59] I [00:08:00] guess I probably mentioned, you know, the couple of things that I'd like to see improved, but could I speak as a caregiver? And as, yeah. Okay. And as a person that works at the Simon Foundation, I hear complaints, people looking for changes and you know, are what's really bugging them with a product. And so from that vantage point.
[00:08:23] The biggest thing I think is, especially for men and some for women, but especially for men that I'm hearing [00:08:30] that they need a  thinner product. They want to be able to go out in public and wear the clothes that they've always worn, okay. And not have this bulky stuff underneath. Especially for the gentleman who have a huge release.
[00:08:46] That is overwhelming sometimes for products, but oh my goodness, if they could have something that was thin and made them feel kind of normal, that would be awesome.
Chris:
For me, it's, it's always that compromise between the [00:09:00] discretion of a product and the absorbency, and it tends to be the thicker the product.
[00:09:06] I mean, I know that the technology, and you know, you and I have talked about this before, technology is ed, the products have got thinner. But I still think there is a way to go and obviously anatomy wise with men and women, the padding needs to be in different place potentially. For men. The, the women and the manufacturers have taken that on board and the pull [00:09:30] on style pants, you basically want something that can take away the waste product with minimum thing that you can keep on that is unintrusive and
[00:09:42] is comfortable to wear and also doesn't necessarily look like a, a child product. But obviously there, there are compromises that you have to make and if NASA been struggling over the years with it, you realize that it is [00:10:00] not an easy issue. And the more I understand this field, the more I realize that there are no easy fixes, but there's lots of things that could be improved.
[00:10:08] I think.
Jack:
As I said, I think there's a ton you can learn from those two episodes where we conducted user panels, and I highly encourage anyone working in the design and production of incontinence products to listen to episodes 30 and 32.
Next, we’ll move on to baby care. Now, I think this is what many people think of when they think about [00:10:30] absorbent hygiene products.
[00:10:31] Given that it is something nearly everyone can relate to. On two recent episodes, 44 and 45, Natalia Richer shared great insights on the market for baby diapers and
[00:10:42] pants.
Natalia Richer:
I think the name of the game right now is elastics. That is where we're seeing the major differences and where everyone seems to be focusing on, and it makes sense.
[00:10:53] Elastics bring a better ergonomic fit for babies or for for any [00:11:00] user. Being able to prevent leaks due to consumer error, like when you're no longer relying on the parent to be readjusting constantly, even as babies waists kind of grow and deflate after a meal, there might be like huge bellies. And then even as adults right after a big meal, you want to unbuckle your belt well, with babies.
[00:11:24] The, the change is even more drastic from full belly to digested and, [00:11:30] and deflated belly. So better elastics help automate this perfect fit process without relying on  outside factors to be readjusting when it comes to elastics. I mean, what, 10 years ago really the fit from the elastics was really only coming from the side panel that was elastic.
[00:11:54] And now we see brands focusing on either improving the [00:12:00] waste elastic, improving the  side panel elastic. But absolutely we're seeing also a trend towards baby pants that have all around elastic and it's pants too that have been taking off. Because, I mean, I focus this conversation on the Pampers Swaddlers, cuz that's just, I think an, a really eye-opening launch.
[00:12:22] Or not launch, but, you know, redesign. But pants have been taking off as [00:12:30] well. And we see in, in other parts of the world, like in India where babies start wearing pants almost since day one,here is a newborn pant available, so in markets that had growth potentials, so non mature markets, they were able to focus more on,
[00:12:49]s manufacturers were building out their new machines, they were able to put in more pant machines versus in, let's say North America where the [00:13:00] market has been absolutely more saturated. There's all these investments already there into all these diaper lines. So launching more pants in a way, cannibalizes the tape diaper business.
[00:13:14] But in China, in um, India and other parts of Asia, we definitely see way more pants being sold.
Jack:
[00:13:25] Of course, products for period care and menstrual health are often top of [00:13:30] mind for half of the global population, and we produce several episodes on that topic in 2022, specifically episodes 21 through 26 cover topics related to the menstrual health industry.
[00:13:43] Let's start with Danielle Keiser in episode 21 for a general overview of what menstrual health is and the preferred language she uses when discussing the topic.
Danielle Keiser:
So this is all very new and has evolved just in the last five years due to increased advocacy and [00:14:00] participation in this space. But essentially, menstrual hygiene management or MHM as it is colloquially called, is a wash sector terminology.
[00:14:09] That was really referring to, from the get go, creating toilets and conditions where girls were also being accommodated in schools, particularly in developing countries. And so this term, menstrual hygiene management is still kind of known, but there's been a [00:14:30] backlash in the last few years because when we think about.
[00:14:33] menstruation, Yes, of course there's a need to have like basic needs met around hygienic management. But if we're really thinking about, uh, holistic interventions, we need to be thinking about menstruation as the first phase of a monthly cycle called the menstrual cycle and menstrual health being the health of the person who's experiencing that menstruation and the other three phases of the cycle throughout the month and [00:15:00] throughout their life cycle.
[00:15:01] So menarche, which is the first period, this happens around 11, 12, 13 years old for a young girl, and every month she will menstruate every 28 days on average. It's actually 29.3 now, but 21 to 35 days. Absolutely in the normal range for a menstrual cycle and throughout the menstrual cycle, there's really, really, really interesting things that are going on [00:15:30] in the female human body that most people don't know about, haven't been able to talk about because there hasn't been knowledge and information about it.
[00:15:38] Because of the insane social stigmatization of menstruation since time immemorial, and this is really, it's quite tragic when you think about how fascinating the human body is and how much we're capable of as, uh, reproductive beings, but also just as, as beings trying to [00:16:00] chart and understand our own health.
[00:16:02] So menstrual health, the definition, as such, was only published in April of 2021, which is quite late in the game considering how long women have been menstruating. But this is really exciting in that finally, there's a published academic definition of menstrual health to inform research policy, industry and practice.
[00:16:25] And so this is really paving the way because it's enabling people to understand. [00:16:30] Menstrual health is, first of all, like defined in, uh, relation to the W H O definition of health, so not just the absence of disease or infirmity in relation to the menstrual cycle.
Jack:
We also covered major trends in menstrual health and period products, both in our conversation with Daniel Keiser in episode 24, but also in specific markets like the Americas in episodes 36 and 37.
[00:16:55] And in India, in episodes 38 and 39.
Augusto Quiroz:
When we talk [00:17:00] to our friends, customers, colleagues, et cetera, across the region, we understand the differences counter by country, depending on age, depending on education, but a common topic is on menstrual health products and the more frequent use of the menstrual cup.
[00:17:21] It has been an important evolution of that product, in particular with younger generations. So, Femcare products really need to be [00:17:30] more agile, dynamic because the new generation are more inclined to use the menstrual cup these days. The acceptance of the product is, much higher compared to five years ago, I will say.
[00:17:45] So it is very dynamic. You know, country by country, you see these kind of products more affordable, easy to buy online or in pharmacies or in supermarkets. So it's an interesting topic. There are [00:18:00] different brands, different regulations, but you know, wherever we go, wherever we see Fem care products or menstrual products, it's a common trend.
[00:18:09] And when talking to new generation, they are also feeling the responsibility to adopt these new products because they believe they are a little towards sustainability as well. So by using the menstrual cup. So it's interesting, again, our hygiene market is super dynamic and this is another example [00:18:30] of how these, uh, menstrual products are evolving.
[00:18:33] Day by day or year by year.
Jack:
Yeah. And we're certainly seeing that in, in other markets as well. I don't know many, many people who are using the Menstrual Cup, but you hear about it, there's several companies out there selling them, so you know, they're growing in popularity. But it's, I was a little surprised when you said that it's growing in Latin America too, but, It makes sense.
[00:18:54] Based on what you said, based on the conversations you've had, is it more to do with [00:19:00] sustainability or it cost or is it something else or a combination?
Aggusto:
I think it's a combination. Obviously it is not a very cheap product. It depends on of the disposable income of each, uh, person. When we talk to younger generation, they believe that okay, it is time to invest, let's call it that way, for a menstrual cup instead of buying a number of regular packages, right?
[00:19:27] And, uh, probably it's convenience. [00:19:30] I don't know , but uh, it's a combination of multiple factors. Certainly is a trendy topic, and I think we will see more and more.
Danielle Keiser:
I really like the comparison to toilet paper. Why don't we just do what we've done with toilet paper,what we do with, with period products, they're free in bathrooms.
[00:19:49] Whether it's a public bathroom or a private bathroom, restaurant, a hotel, whatever. People are not stealing hoards of toilet paper. This is what a lot of people think, oh, if we have free [00:20:00] period products, we're gonna steal them. Okay. All right. No, you know, and then there's cheaper toilet paper in public places sometimes.
[00:20:07] But then if you as an individual consumer want that nice three ply for your tushy, you can go ahead and spend the five bucks on those rolls of toilet paper. Go nuts. And that's the way we should look at it. This is the problem that. By and large, at least here in the US, has been solved and let's not reinvent the wheel.
[00:20:28] Of course, menstruation and menstrual health [00:20:30] is a a little bit more complicated cuz there's more social dynamics involved. But that's a great example of where we can be going.
Chirag Virani:
They're, uh, very rapidly emerging, uh, group of people, young millennials, and surprisingly around, uh, 50%, like half the population is, is uh, uh, around 30 years of age or below.
[00:20:50] So we are looking at a lot of, uh, young consumer who are saying that, you know, I've actually have heard, uh, one of our customers, like,  I deserve to pamper myself with the quality product. So this [00:21:00] is the mindset that is changing. You know, like if it's, if they're going to. Let's say, uh, uh, 200 to 300 rupee, like in, in, in dollars.
[00:21:07] You know, like a couple of bucks at Starbucks. You know, this is how the corporation they're doing, you know, like, it's like, I deserve this. You know, this is, it's a gift for myself. So this is the mindset to this slowly changing. So when we are looking at young, uh, millennials, gen Z people, uh, uh, moving into the urban areas, uh, metro cities.
[00:21:24] So this, this is where our major market is. Uh, they're again purchasing, uh, Lot, [00:21:30] uh, a lot from the online D2C channel. So there are people, uh, menstruators who are willing to not looking at the price, I guess their decision making, uh, matrix. And also sustainability is on their, uh, uh, list of priorities when they make the purchasing decision.
[00:21:44] So this group is slowly changing. And, uh, in the last couple of years as we see the usage of products has, uh, increased exponentially. And with that, uh, accessibility, the number of people who are actually preferring to use the sustainable products with the awareness, it is [00:22:00] also increasing very rapidly.
Jack:
[00:22:02] Now, anyone who has listened to our episodes knows that on the podcast and at Bostik we talk about major market trends in terms of the five Cs. Those being comfort, confidence, consistency, convenience, and cost. And in episodes three through seven, we covered each of those Cs in detail. Here are a few key takeaways about each market trend.
Christophe Morel:
[00:22:26] Comfort is going to make them stay with a brand. [00:22:30] You know, if you feel comfortable with the article, then you'll stay with a brand. If you feel discomfort, then you move to another brand. So, so comfort is really driving a lot of the innovation that are happening out there in terms of, you know, new product designs like disposable pan diapers for adults, for example.
[00:22:47] Fem care products, it's going to lead, uh, manufacturers to innovate and find a new substrate, software materials, you know, engineered nonwovens, as we say, looking for, you know, [00:23:00] say more pleasant, uh, fit, more appealing softer materials, uh, that will get the consumer a better skin wellness.
Diane Toonen:
Yeah, I think consumers want to live confidently live a normal life.
[00:23:15] They want to be active, they don’t want to be not restricted by their choice of product. So that consistency in in quality and performance really gives them peace of mind. And that peace of mind then leads to consumer satisfaction, [00:23:30] to loyalty to referrals, and ultimately to the manufacturer's profitability and to maintain.
[00:23:37] Manufacturers need to meet the consumer's expectations with every use each time. Again, no matter what the, the use configuration might be.
Chirstophe:
As a non-native English speaker, I tend to use the word trust, you know, when translating from the French language. And so I actually had to work with my colleagues to really define best what we mean by confidence [00:24:00] and, and I guess it's a good thing view because in the end I ended up looking at it
[00:24:04] in both ways. First of all, you look at how the consumers trust the product and the brand, and on the other hand you can look at it as how they feel confident about wearing the product. So it's kind of both ways and the both definitions are slightly different, I guess. So it means we can talk about, you know, product safety, product consistency, brand values.
[00:24:25] You know, this is all about the, uh, trust part of it. And then, you [00:24:30] know, for the confidence part of it, you, you can talk about the odor of the product or lack of odor. Comfort is also part of it, and the discretion. So really it's how the, the consumer feels confidence about the product they wear.
Tina Li:
Yeah. We are referring to the purchasing, using, and disposing of hygiene product.
[00:24:50] Convenience is the intrinsic need of, uh, consumer, I think is, it is actually the motivation of how baby diaper and adult incontinence [00:25:00] product got created and it, uh, those products fulfilled the consumer's need. Of looking for convenience in their life. Therefore, it's important to manufacturers to continuously think about creating convenience at every interaction point between the consumer and their products.
[00:25:18] In , using and disposing.
Michael Schumacher:
Pricing to the market impacts a lot of the ways a consumer views that product. There’s a general sense that you don’t wanna [00:25:30] overpay for something that has the same type of quality or performance. And so you can choose between a product that’s really less expensive and then use kind of more of them and, and dispose of them.
[00:25:40] Or conversely, you can have a product that you think maybe works better or is significantly improved the longevity of the product or what you’re doing and, and gives you the opportunity to get more life out of that product.
Jack:
We also covered the five Cs in our regional series. Let's revisit the key highlights from our guests.
Pietro Landone:
[00:25:59] [00:26:00] For each region, there are some clear trend that we see in the European markets. One of them is the growth in, uh, in pants. This goes back with the, uh, decision from P&G to, uh, boost production and sales of baby pants in our region, uh, and followed by investment, uh, significant investment from almost each and every player.
[00:26:20] So this, this is a growth. We do not see only in baby, but uh, also in adult inco, with a lot of new [00:26:30] machines that came onstream in the last, uh, five to six years. Uh, another clear trend, uh, which is probably still at the early days, but it's quite an important one, is the one related to a indicators and sensors.
[00:26:43] Those are used both in, um, Baby Care and in Inco. There are some clear advantages in adult inco, you know, uh, with those sensors that are connected to the, um, uh, directly to the computer where the, the caregiver can clearly see, uh, the patients [00:27:00] who need to be changed. So, um, that is, it's a clear advantage, personally, a hundred percent sure about the
[00:27:07] need when it comes to the, uh, user sensor on, uh, baby diapers. But as Seif, uh, mentioned before, this is the world of millennial. That is definitely a need that the, uh, you know, our, our customers. So the, the producer will have to answer too. I mentioned before about, uh, e-commerce and, and this is definitely a growing trend.
[00:27:28] It's a growing trend, not only in uh, [00:27:30] baby diapers, but also in adult inco where people can easily order online and get delivered at home with all of their need. Not only we know with the, with the diaper, but also with cream lotions and everything. So it's a, it's a real 360 degree service that companies can offer to their customers.
[00:27:48] So those are, Clear trends that are present in European and the European market.
Seif Shaarawy:
So if you look to Middle Eastern Africa, I would say regarding convenience, what do you really need? [00:28:00] You need the product to be available, to be simple in usage and to be, uh, to be safe in usage. For sure. And to come and. As I mentioned before, there is a gap between three to five years between what the trend happening in Europe and then starting seeing this trend in, uh, middle East and Africa.
[00:28:16] For the growth in pans, we see it, although it's not yet, yet really happening. So the global brands are trying to differentiate from regional and local competition by introducing more and more depends. They are trying to. [00:28:30] The consumer behavior, uh, to be able to orient them toward the pants versus the classic type of diaper.
[00:28:35] So as I mentioned, this is still work in progress in our region, and we can see now in the retails that the gap in price between the pants and the classic diaper is, is reducing, uh, significantly.
Rockey Ye:
So the most important for comfort is the softness for hygiene disposable goods. So I see there are three main changes in the rest of the years, only softness improvement.
[00:28:59] So the [00:29:00] first case is air-laaid nonwoven utilization. It was led by Kaowho used the air-laid nonwoven on top sheet, and then, Spread to most middle to high end diapers. So actually a lot of modification are made on the nonwoven to improve further the hand feel and the moisture absorption speed and less rewet.
[00:29:23] So this sometimes cause the lower bonding strength where we have provided some good, [00:29:30] solutions to our customers. And then another change is from tissue core wrap to nonwoven core wrap to improve the softness hand feel. And then the third one I see is the SAP particles get stuck together in the single core, and then it give a very rigid touch feeling, so people are utilizing the thicker ADL acquisition distribution layer and the better distribution of SAP.
[00:29:59] [00:30:00] From their process improvement to improve the hand feeling. Bostik canalso set up a SAP grade machine on our H1 coater, and we studied how adhesive can help on SAP distribution and the positioning to avoid this core cracking at both dry and wet conditions.
Tina Li:
Yeah, I agree with what, what Rockey said about, say, the using of the loft nonwoven to improve the softness [00:30:30] of the, uh, hygiene products.
[00:30:32] So the softness, uh, reviewed by consumer, both for the cushion touch and silk feeling so high loft nonwoven definitely address, the benefits of being cushioned. But we, we also see. Some manufacturers use additive to improve the silk feeling. So for that case, that actually brings attention to our adhesives for the bonding.
[00:30:55] So, you know, actually the consumers didn't like to, for the mom, they like to touch the back [00:31:00] sheet of the diaper to fill its, uh, softness. So with see, uh, the nonwoven that some, with some additives that actually improves the, the touch and feeling. So some feels like you still, still that's considered as more soft and be more comfort for baby.
[00:31:20] We also see the difference of review the softness in the countries across Asia. So we see the consumers in China, Japan, Korea, [00:31:30] and Thailand. There are more emphasized systems, the softness, while for the other countries like India, Indonesian, Vietnam, they're not working that high on the softness, so they are more focused on the uh, leakage protection or reducing of rashes of baby.
[00:31:49] But of course, rashes are also important for the baby's comfort as well.
Augusto:
Well, in Latin America, for example, I will bring up the core design of a diaper. [00:32:00] For many years, the interest rate has been reducing thickness of the core. However, in Latin America, moms are still hesitant to adopt thinner cores. So when you ask, okay, what do they prefer?
[00:32:14] There are still moms that,they were, uh, educated to see no, you know, the, the bulkier, the better, blah, blah blah. So that has been a challenge for our article producers to really introduce and penetrate the concept of thinner core. It is happening, [00:32:30] yes, higher super absorb polymer is present, yes, but it has taken longer
[00:32:36] than the industry might have expected for Latin America. So there is, uh, an education, for example, when we talk to, uh, some users in the region, they say, okay, when I got my first kid, you know, I always prefer a bulky type of core. But when my second child, well, I have some experience and I understand, for example, the thinner core, blah, blah, blah.
[00:32:59] So it is a [00:33:00] long process still in Latin America to really see the adoption of thinner core. So this is why we. See brands in Latin America still offering different concept of core. There are channel cores out there, there are cores with different designs, et cetera. But in summary, it is taking longer compared to other regions that have adopted super thin core.
Jack:
[00:33:24] Kelly, are we seeing any trends in cores in North America?
Kelley Riegert:
I mean, certainly [00:33:30] thinner core has been adopted and there's a push for that. I think for the most part it's been adopted. , there would have to be another big step change, which I don't think the market and the consumers are calling for. Again, I think the thinner cores that most of our producers have achieved here  in the US are working well for their consumers.
[00:33:53] I think of it a lot like um, Fem Care where you have, you know, your ultra thins, you have your [00:34:00] Maxis and kind of everywhere in between and there's always gonna be consumers that want all those kinds of cores from, you know, the thickest kind, just because maybe that makes them more comfortable or it just in general is more comfortable for them to, you know, the thinnest for whatever their reasons are for adopting that.
[00:34:19] And I think in that can be related to baby as well, where, for many different reasons,the parents believe that a core should be this thickness for these [00:34:30] reasons or thinner for these reasons. So I think there will always be a desire from the consumer to have options, but certainly thinner is.
[00:34:40] more popular and is definitely the trend here in North America, but I think we're pretty thin now here in North America, in general in baby. And so to go even thinner, there probably have to be a technology jump or something. And then again, it would be, does the consumer want that? So I think in general [00:35:00] that's, that's where we're at now for, for North America.
Raymond Chimhandamba
[00:35:03] So in terms of confidence, obviously both in absorbent hygiene products for both say baby diapers as, as well as, uh, even femcare in both categories, it's absolutely, absolutely crucial that whether the user or the mother is confident in the product and that the product will do what it says it does. So in terms of fem care products, I do find, for example, the features like with wings.[00:35:30]
[00:35:30] definitely are almost a must, I guess, because they, they probably also give the additional confidence that for, for benefits like stay in place and, and those type ofbenefits that the, the, the consumer may, may want to, to see. But, but I may also comment that in terms of confidence, there's a line that, uh, one of my distributors in Angola mentioned in a  session that something along the lines of an Angolan woman would never be confident that
[00:35:58] Sanitary pad that is less [00:36:00] than, I can't remember whether it's 28 centimeters long or 30 centimeters or, uh, and whatever thickness would protect, uh, well enough. So that again, sort of sums up confidence in a very interesting way that the consumer feels if it is this size and this thickness and this features, I'm confident it'll do the things it says it'll do, you know?
[00:36:21] So, yeah, it's interesting to see the kind of points and features the consumers look for, for them to be confident in a, in a product, as it'll no [00:36:30] matter where you are in the world.
Jack:
Any discussion about the hygiene market and trends has to include sustainability. Not only is it a reoccurring theme on our podcast, but as article producers, sustainability can significantly impact your business.
[00:36:45] We also had a series of four episodes specifically dedicated to different aspects of sustainability. In episodes 16, 18, 19, and 20, we cover sustainability and its impact on the hygiene industry.
Chirstophe Morel:
I thought it would be good to [00:37:00] explain and make sure that everybody's aligned on the definitions of greenhouse gas emissions.
[00:37:05] Scope one, scope two, scope three. So Seif,can you explain quickly what we're talking about here?
Seif Shaarawy:
Yeah, sure. So let me try to clarify this in a simple way. In general Greenhouse gases are volatile molecules that get into the atmosphere somehow prevent the heat from the sun reflecting on the earth surface from dissipating back to the space.
[00:37:29] So it’s [00:37:30] creating a greenhouse gas effect, and this is causing global warming, and this is why it’s important that we all work together to reduce the level of emission. As we mentioned, they’re classified in three categories. The first one is the direct emission, which we call scope 1. They're generated by the company's processes on site, either when the company burns gas or full or coal.
[00:37:54] Cause this produces CO2, so emissions, or if the processes of the company actually [00:38:00] generate gases. Second category is indirect emission, but those are indirect emission that the company fully controls because they're generated by the energy providers that the company uses for the operation. So if I use an electricity provider to power my plants, the emissions generated to produce this electricity are my scope 2 emission.
[00:38:21] They're indirect cause we do not generate them, but actually we control them. And then the third category is scope three emission. [00:38:30] And those are indirect emission that we influence, but we cannot control. Those are emission generated by our raw material supplier or by the distribution and transportation of the finished good or raw material.
[00:38:43] And by the customers or consumer, they use the product in finding by the end of life of the products.
Luke Burkholder:
So lightweighting, weight reduction efforts have been ongoing. I mean, from the beginning, diaper manufacturers have been looking to decrease weight [00:39:00] for decades, right? There's a 2015 EDANA Sustainability report where the number is in 26 years, the diaper weight was cut in half, so from like 1987 to 2013, but it didn't, you know, it didn't stop
[00:39:15] in 2013, that that continues, you know, and today it's still about cost, but it's also about the sustainability issue. I'm a big fan of trying to break stuff down into chunks and [00:39:30] then attack each chunk individually. So ways to reduce the product weight. One substrates, two, the adhesive add-on, and three, kind of kind of like product design, right?
[00:39:43] Which is gonna encompass substrates and adhesives, but really kind of not just making the same product with a lighter basis weight substrate, but sort of changing the design in order to take weight out. That is particularly going to focus on. Thinner cores. [00:40:00] Right? And the core of an absorbent hygiene article is gonna be one of the main drivers of the mass of that overall product.
[00:40:07] So let's start with those thinner and lighter substrates. And you know, I kind of think of this like, It's almost like Moore's Law. So if you were in the industry 10 years ago or 20 years ago, you might have gone from 30 g s m down to 20 and thought, okay, well that's as far as we can go. But of course, as innovation drives innovation and you [00:40:30] just go further and further and further, So more reductions are being enabled from those products coming further upstream.
[00:40:36] Film manufacturers are getting better at making thinner films, but then you gotta think about what does that mean, right? So we're using hot melt adhesives to hold those things together, those hot melt adhesives, you know, carry heat energy to make them flowable and coatable, and you gotta dissipate that energy to form a bond.
[00:40:58] The number one [00:41:00] place where that heat goes is into those substrates. And so down gaging that film, it's still Polyolefin, it's gonna have about the same heat capacity and it's gotta take all the heat energy, that glue, so that can cause burn through. If you're dumping that same amount of heat into less film or less non-woven, then you can, you can get some melting, you can get substrate deformation.
[00:41:23] One way to get around that is to reduce add-on at the same time as reducing the substrate basis weight. So you're, you're kind of [00:41:30] lowering both at the same time and keeping them in proportion to each other. But then of course, that can affect bond performance, right? So youeventually get to a point where the, the glues at it's limit of what it can hold together.
[00:41:42] But then the next one is design. And so now we're gonna talk a little bit about ways that you can change the product to take out weight. So in theory, right, using the exact same substrates, but making a lighter product [00:42:00] just by changing the design. And really, again, we see that coming, especially in core design.
[00:42:05] So you have, you know what I would call like a really traditional core where you've got fluff wrapped in some non-woven and there's SAP sprinkled around in there, and that makes the core of a traditional hygiene product. You can take that same design and just do it with less material inside. So just put a little bit less fluff or a little bit less SAP or change the ratio of fluff to SAP to [00:42:30] just make that same core a little bit smaller.
Jack:
[00:42:33] To wrap up, I'd like us all to imagine the future of the absorbent hygiene industry. I always like to ask our guests to pull out their crystal ball and tell us their predictions for the future of absorbent hygiene. We even had an entire episode on this topic with Nick Carter, DeeAnn Nelson, and Darius Deak in episode 11.
[00:42:53] But we also asked this question to Heidi Beatty and Natalia Richer on episode 28. Again to [00:43:00] Natalia Richer on episode 45 and, most recently, to Sharon Vinderine on episode 49, and here's what they had to.
DeeAnn Nelson:
So during the presentation that we gave at Hygienics, we talked about imagine a modular type product. Again, how do you make something that's gonna fit the needs of the consumer, but also be sustainable?
[00:43:21] So, you know, having, that's a, a hybrid, it's a modular where you could have, depending on the application and the consumers need [00:43:30] something that could be a combination of reusable and disposable, something that could be biodegradable where that makes sense. Something that could be compostable depending on the region.
[00:43:41] I think what's really gonna be key is it's not gonna be one size fits all. As Nick mentioned, you know, with California, if you go to a complete ban on that terrible thing that's plastic, that I would prefer to call it engineered polymeric material. It's a little bit simplistic. Okay, so we wanna get rid of that bad thing.
[00:43:58] So we're gonna go to a [00:44:00] hundred percent durable. Oh, wait a minute. There's a water shortage. So maybe in areas where there's a shortage of water, maybe it makes sense to have something that is compostable and use  less water, or is biodegradable. To me, when I look at the future, it's really going to be modular.
[00:44:15] We're going to end up with components that consumers can put together to meet their needs. If you talk about the adult incontinence, you know, again, active adults wanting things to be more discreet, to get away from the stigma of having to go buy [00:44:30] that big adult diaper. So if you had a modular type material, help or enable or make it easier for people to use if you have a, um, a more underwear like product that has pockets or places where something can be put in and insert, does that remove the stigma from say, a, a male wanting to use the product?
[00:44:53] I think it's really going to be in 2035 we’ll have disposable products. We’re gonna have biodegradable [00:45:00] products, we’re gonna have reusable products, and they’re all gonna fit
[00:45:03] together.
Heidi Beatty:
The one thing that[00:45:05] I haven't mentioned so far is I'm pretty excited about men because I've spent a lot of my career developing products for women.
[00:45:12] But now with incontinence, you know, we finally get to make products for men and not just, you know, giving them the women's products and, and telling them to make do, but really innovating for them as well. And I, of course, I'm seeing a lot more in terms of men's only brands as well, and I think that will only.
[00:45:29] [00:45:30] increase. So it's a little bit different to what we've been talking about today. Yes. But yeah, no, I'm pretty excited that as a whole, whole new opportunity for
[00:45:37] innovation.
Natalia Richer:
I think that the low birth rates for, for babies will continue, but, uh, the adult and continence market is gonna again, continue to, to make up for these changes that we see.
[00:45:51] Baby pants will continue to cannibalize baby diaper sales in the United States. Adult incontinence [00:46:00] underwear will continue on the growth. I think that as millennial women enter the incontinence market post-birth, they're gonna start bringing some of the demands that have been brought into, the menstrual hygiene products with them, including more sustainable or cleaner ingredients and options in diaper design of adult incontinence products, but at a lower rate, obviously.
[00:46:24] And then there's gonna be a continued push towards end of life cycle solutions. This is something that has to happen, [00:46:30] and in the meantime, it's gonna be focusing on more plant-based materials on the diaper, which is kind of the, the easy solution to clean up a little bit of the supply chain. But the true solution is the one that we need to find.
[00:46:43] Instead of this bandaid of, uh, putting 20% cotton blend into something we need the, the real solution.
Heidi:
Yeah. And, and maybe also
[00:46:51] to say in terms of ages and stages that, that we've always been used to seeing in diapers. You know, I think now we're seeing a lot more in, um, [00:47:00] menopause, perimenopausal and, and menopausal products as well.
[00:47:03] A lot more discussion, you know, and there's another sort of topic that we've never really been open about, but I think that's now, it's being discussed more and more, and I think the product specifically for perimenopause and menopause are gonna become more important
[00:47:19] too.
Natalia:
Other than that, obviously the focus on greener practices, mostly, at least in the United States, mostly without being able to sacrifice on performance.
[00:47:29] So [00:47:30] whenever something can be. More environmentally friendly be made with renewable resources without impacting performance negatively. I think that that's also gonna be one of the trends that we see where at least the focus already exists. As long as we can start delivering without saying, Hey, but you're gonna get more leaks where you know your baby's gonna be uncomfortable in adult incontinence and femme hygiene.
[00:47:54] We don't see these sort of a trade-offs happening where no one would wear a [00:48:00] brief that's gonna be uncomfortable, that is gonna be maybe made out of viscose so that it's gonna be feeling wet, like no one does this for adult incontinence. And I think for baby diapers, the sacrifice, at least from Americans, they're not ready to sacrifice on this for their baby either.
[00:48:17] So once we can do that without the sacrifice, that's gonna be great for product development.
Jack:
[00:48:23] All right, so my, my last question here is kind of a, I guess, a message from you to our target audience, [00:48:30] and our target audience are the producers as well as companies like Bostik that are their suppliers, but you know, the key players in the absorbent hygiene production area.
[00:48:40] And so, If you could have them walk away with two or three pieces of advice that they should focus on moving forward in order to meet the needs of parents, like those in your member pool that are buying products, what would those two or three things be?
Sharon Vinderine:
I'm gonna say it's one key thing. It is [00:49:00] more expensive right now to change the way you are making a product.
[00:49:06] I understand that, and consumers, I think, understand that. But the investment now, I think, will have huge long-term return. So trying to, whether it's, you know, depending on the industry retooling a product or the ingredients, the, the fibers that you are using in your product. That is going to be a game changer.
[00:49:27] Imagine being able to say, [00:49:30] my product is a hundred percent made up of natural fibers, is fragrance free, is chemical free, it’s this, this, this and that free, you know, dyes and things like that. I know I mentioned patterns are really cute, but I think that's one more chemical. There's a dye that is going to make those patterns.
[00:49:50] Right. So I think the investment now will have a long-term payoff and I think the manufacturers are a little bit hesitant because they're still not sure that consumers are gonna be [00:50:00] willing to pay what it's going to cost to develop that type of product. And I understand that concern and keep making the products that you're making now, cuz there's a lot of great ones out there.
[00:50:08] But at the same time, I think there needs to be an investment in the type of product that we've talked about today that mom can just feel like, I'm not going to have to worry about this product. I'm not gonna have to worry about a recall, a reaction, discomfort leaking, all of those things. I'm going to be buying the perfect diaper.
Jack:
[00:50:29] So there you have it. [00:50:30] Hopefully you've enjoyed our walk through the first 49 episodes of Attached to Hygiene. If something stood out to you, I'd encourage you to go back and listen to that episode. And if you can't remember what episode a specific discussion was from, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or send me an email at hygiene@bostik.com.
[00:50:50] I'd be more than happy to get you to the information you are looking for. And lastly, I want to sincerely thank you for being a listener. When we first began to discuss [00:51:00] launching a podcast on the absorbent hygiene industry, I didn't really know what to expect. But over two years and 50 episodes later, I am pleasantly surprised by how far we've come.
[00:51:11] And we couldn't do that without you, our listeners. So thank you. I hope to see all of you at episode 100.
Attached to Hygiene is brought to you by Bostik and is hosted by me, Jack Hughes. It is produced and edited by me with the help of Liz Bruner and Paul Andrews at [00:51:30] Bostik and Michelle Tonkovitz, Emory Churness, and Nicki Ackerman at Green Onion Creative.
[00:51:36] Our post-production is done by Podcast Boutique.
Our theme music is by Jonathan Boyle.
Once again, we'd like to extend a special thank you to you. Our listeners for continuing to tune into the podcast.
Thank you for listening, and we'll see you next time.
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