Procter & Gamble is launching its flagship Ariel brand into the stain remover market, where it will compete head-on with Reckitt Benckiser’s Vanish.
The new product, an in-wash stain removing powder, is due to be launched at the end of 2009 or early 2010 and will be positioned at the premium end of the market.
It is believed other products are likely to be added to the range, such as further in-wash stain removing formats, pre-wash treatments and specialist products.
The launch is expected to be supported with a major advertising campaign.
It is thought P&G may consider extending the Ariel brand across other household stain removing products for jobs such as upholstery and carpet stains, if its initial foray into the stain remover market is successful.
The laundry ancillaries market is growing much faster than the laundry market as a whole in the UK. It grew to £97m in 2007, from £72m in 2002, according to Mintel, and is predicted to grow to an estimated £119m by 2012.
The market is dominated by Reckitt Benckiser’s Vanish, which has faced minimal competition from P&G’s bleach product Ace, SC Johnson Wax’s Shout and other more niche, task-specific products.
Industry insiders say that P&G is moving into the stain remover market because consumers may be more inclined to use stain removers when washing clothes at lower temperatures.
Ariel Excel Gel, P&G’s major laundry detergent innovation can be used at temperatures as low as 15°, the company says.