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Cotton Incorporated: the marketing of cotton in nonwovens.

The popularity of cotton in apparel and home fashions has created new opportunities for cotton in nonwovens. Consumption of all nonwoven products in the U.S. is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5% a year, increasing from $2.53 billion in 1991 to an estimated $3.24 billion in 1996.

Enhancements all along the production pipeline have helped generate new interest for cotton in the nonwovens market. With the help of High Volume instrument testing to provide accurate data for fiber selection, advanced fiber opening/cleaning equipment, new finishes and new testing methods, kier bleachers can consistently provide cotton staple that meets manufacturing requirements.

Cotton incorporated, in cooperation with John D. Hollingsworth Inc., a machinery manufacturer, has paved the way for nonwoven roll goods manufacturers by improving bleached fiber quality. A new opening/cleaning machine can be used to open and clean kier bleached cotton with production rates of 600 pounds per hour. The opening/cleaning operation involves minimum mechanical working of the fiber, and as a result, neps are controlled, and in most instances, reduced.

In 1991, the bleached cotton consumption in nonwoven products was estimated at 60 million pounds, or 125,000 bales, up 33,000 bales from the 1981 figure. Although the increase is modest, there continues to be a growing interest in using cotton in nonwoven roll goods, such as coverstock, use as a surface fabric for feminine pads and diapers, wipes and surgical drapes and gowns.

Consumers who favor cotton apparel and home fashions also indicate a preference for cotton nonwovens products. A recent study by Bruskin Associates for Cotton Incorporated, was conducted to determine consumer awareness as well as preference for cotton in personal care products. Products selected for the consumer survey included cosmetic puffs/balls, swabs, baby wipes, wet wipes, disposable diapers and feminine hygiene products. More than 1000 women 18 and older were asked a series of fiber preference questions.

The survey showed that cotton was preferred overwhelmingly for each personal care product category because of its softness, absorbency, naturalness and purity.

A second study, utilizing actual brands, was conducted to determine whether brand loyalty was enhanced by the presence of Cotton Incorporated's Seal of Cotton. The participants viewed the Cotton Seal on different brands in three personal care categories: feminine pads, baby wipes and disposable diapers. They were then asked to study the packaging and make a purchasing decision. Results of the study showed that for each category, products displaying the Cotton Seal and labeled as containing cotton significantly increased the consumer's intent to buy.

Use of the Cotton Seal has helped to enhance the market position of qualified products. Each year, since its introduction in 1973, Cotton incorporated has evaluated consumer awareness of the Cotton Seal. Studies show that consumer awareness has increased steadily, to an all-time high of 73% in 1992.

Cotton Incorporated continues to make advancements in the nonwovens market. For more information on these programs, contact our Raleigh, NC, Research Center at 919-782-6330.
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Title Annotation:Show in Print
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:May 1, 1993
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