In less than a year, supermarkets will be awash with compact laundry detergents.
The movement is being led by Wal-Mart Stores, whose liquid laundry sets will be made up entirely of concentrated formulas by April 2008. Manufacturers are working furiously to teach consumers how to use the new products.
Laundry market leader Procter & Gamble began switching out its conventional detergents with concentrated products in the Southern states and Puerto Rico in September. In less than a year, consumers will not be able to buy conventional liquid detergents from P&G, the company said.
“This is the biggest thing for P&G this year,” said Kash Shaikh, a spokesman for the company.
It's investing heavily in educational campaigns that explain the benefits of its products and how to use them. In stores stocking its concentrated detergents, the manufacturer has set up flat-screen TVs that feature educational videos, as well as large shelf talkers and big colorful displays that highlight how the detergents work.
The change is getting mixed reviews from shoppers in affected markets.
“For some of our customers it's great,” said Maria Brous, spokeswoman for Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla. “They appreciate the downsizing. Other customers are taking longer to get acclimated to the packaging. But by far there's been more positive than negative” feedback, she said.