Unilever is believed to be briefing retailers that the manganese technology used in its Persil Power brand will be revived once the furore over the product fades.
The suggestion that Lever Brothers will return to the discredited technology will amaze those who have campaigned against it. But the indication is that having invested an estimated £250m in the “accelerator” technology the company is seeking to use it in other, more specialised washing products.
A Lever spokeswoman confirmed the company is “committed to the technology” but refused to confirm any plans for the use of manganese in new products.
News that Lever is seeking alternative uses for the manganese coincides with publication of the long-awaited Consumers’ Association report into Persil Power.
The consumer protection body has been conducting comparative washing tests on the reformulated Persil Power with reduced levels of manganese. It published a critical report in September after testing the original strength product and finding that the powder did damage garments. The report was scheduled to be published as Marketing Week went to press.