Kimberly-Clark Announces New Cloth-Like Disposable Diaper With Velcro
DALLAS (AP) _ Kimberly-Clark Corp. on Monday unveiled a premium diaper featuring Velcro tabs and a cloth-like cover, seeking to carve out a new niche in the intensely competitive $4 billion U.S. disposable diaper market.
″Consumers have been telling us they really would like a softer, more cloth-like diaper with a better fastener,″ said Tom Falk, president of the Kimberly-Clark’s infant and child care products division, adding that consumers indicated they would pay more for such a product.
Huggies Supreme has a white, cloth-like outer cover with a quilted design and tabs made by Velcro USA Inc. A package of the new diapers will cost $8, about the same as regular Huggies, but will contain 20 to 25 percent fewer pieces.
Falk said the Dallas-based company will have exclusive rights to the Velcro fastening system on disposable diapers.
″The Velcro is the real significant improvement as far as the performance goes,″ said Bonita Austin, household products analyst for Lehman Brothers in New York. ″You ought to be able to get a pretty snug fit.″
The cover is made of a moisture-proof plastic derivative developed and manufactured by Kimberly-Clark.
″It’s got all the positive feel of a modern diaper yet it almost has a retro look to it because it’s got the pure white coloring,″ Falk said. ″We think Huggies Supreme kind of sets the bar up another notch.″
In September, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. began selling Ultra Dry Thin Pampers - disposables that are half as thick - more than a year after Kimberly-Clark rolled out the first super-thin disposable, Huggies UltraTrim.
Jay Freedman, an analyst at Lincoln Capital Management Co. in Chicago, said Kimberly-Clark’s premium-segment strategy is a departure from current trends in non-durable product marketing. Most manufacturers of such products have cut prices or are offering enhanced quality for the same price.
″This clearly flies in the face, not necessarily negatively, but this clearly is different than the approach most consumer companies have been taking in the 1990s,″ he said.
Huggies Supreme will be sold in five unisex sizes and will be available in some parts of the country beginning early next year.
Kimberly-Clark’s other products include Kleenex facial and bathroom tissue, Huggies Pull-Ups training pans and Kotex and New Freedom feminine care goods.
The company also said Monday it would begin shipping Huggies Ultrathin diapers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in January.