Lever Brothers is planning to launch laundry detergent tablets in a move which observers say could seriously damage industry margins.
The detergent tablets would be similar to those used in dishwashing machines, and it is thought they would be put into the laundry wash.
A Lever spokeswoman says: “We don’t comment on speculation.” But industry sources say Lever salesmen have discussed the idea with buyers.
Supermarket buyers say the move could damage sales of laundry detergents, as consumers often use too much powder or liquid. If there was a single-dose mechanism, big producers such as Procter & Gamble (Ariel) and Lever (Persil), could lose sales.
One observer claims a similar product, called Soapy Sacks, has been launched in Europe. It is thought the detergent tablets would be marketed under the Persil brand name.