CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Star Market Co. here is taking on a line of environmentally friendly detergents from a New England manufacturer that has previously had success in health and natural food stores.
The products are a 32-ounce, concentrated liquid laundry detergent (with a suggested retail of $3.99), a 50-ounce dishwasher detergent ($3.29) and a 32-ounce, concentrated nonchlorine bleach ($2.49).
"The products are just hitting the shelf," said Karen Gallagher, marketing manager for the manufacturer, Seventh Generation, Colchester, Vt.
A grocery buyer at Star Market confirmed that the chain has taken on the line and that the three stockkeeping units are in the stores, but would not elaborate. However, a local industry observer was not surprised to hear about the grocer getting into the subcategory of "green" detergents.
"I know the product has been in some specialty stores around here for a couple of years," he said. "It was only a matter of time before they went mainstream. I'm sure there will be many more brands like this to follow. I imagine Star will give it minimal space until they see how it performs."
Gallagher said the chain has not indicated how much space it will devote to Seventh Generation products in its stores. She added, however, that Star has offered a 4-foot section in what she called its "lead" store to be used exclusively for Seventh Generation products. She said the display should be in place by the end of the month.
"My sense is, from the buyer's standpoint, he's probably interested in these three products right now to see how they do and what kind of movement we can generate on the products," Gallagher said. "He already carries a couple of lines of [recycled] paper
products. So that might be a harder sell."
Star Market will be the first supermarket chain to agree to carry the products. Seventh Generation has been available only through catalogs and specialty retailers.
The retailer has not advertised the products yet. "They want to be sure we have enough product to cover an ad before one runs," Gallagher said. "They're very interested in doing something with us," she added, saying she expects to run a promotion with Star by the end of the summer.
Seventh Generation also has a powdered laundry detergent; a hand dishwashing liquid; glass, all-purpose and toilet bowl cleaners; and trash bags, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products and a line of paper goods.