Procter & Gamble is to follow rival Lever Brothers’ lead and test laundry detergent tablets for its Ariel brand.
Lever’s plans to launch laundry tablets under the Persil name were first revealed by Marketing Week (January 22). It is thought that Lever will launch the product at the end of May or beginning of June.
The tablets are put into the soap compartment of the washing machine and enable more accurate doses of detergent to be applied. They may end consumer confusion over the amount of detergent to use.
One observer says: “Tablets could do for laundry detergents what teabags did for the tea market.”
Lever’s plan has clearly rattled P&G, which is to start test sales of its own tablets in Grimsby in April.
P&G has emerged as the clear winner in the UK’s soap wars. Its brands account for nearly half of the market, while Lever has under a quarter, according to Taylor Nelson AGB. However, Lever executives believe they can turn the company’s fortunes around with the tablet launch.
The tablets are a U-turn. Both companies had been opposed to the idea because it could curb detergent overuse – a significant revenue stream.