Even the feminine care aisle was affected by the pandemic. In the early days of COVID-19, women stocked up on tampons, pads and other sanitary protection products to avoid possible product shortages later. Then, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March 2020, included a provision that enabled women who had Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts to become eligible for reimbursement for feminine hygiene products.
Staying Away From Synthetics
The preference for eco-friendly materials does not surprise Helen Robinson, co-founder of Organic Initiative, a New Zealand-based company with U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif. “The consumer is more and more savvy about what they are putting in the most sensitive part of their body,” she said. “That is incredibly important.” Oi makes 100% certified organic cotton tampons, pads and panty liners with no toxic chemicals, chlorine bleach, fragrances or pesticides.
Social media plays a role in driving interest in and sales growth of the products. “The results that they see from using these are very apparent very quickly,” Robinson said. “Friends tell friends, families tell families about the impact.”
Consumers, especially members of Generation Z, are interested in not only what feminine care products are made of but also that they are packaged in sustainable packaging and manufactured according to strict labor guidelines.
With sustainability in mind, Diva International partnered with TerraCycle to create the first menstrual cup recycling program in North America, with the DivaCup becoming North America’s first ever fully recyclable menstrual cup. “As we celebrate our 20th anniversary in April, we are so energized to bring forward more expansion to the period care category in 2022 and beyond,” said Carinne Chambers-Saini, founder and CEO of Diva.
Retailers have an opportunity to increase sales by updating their sets with eco-friendly products, and by highlighting these benefits so that shoppers can find the more innovative products easily. Otherwise consumers will simply buy online or, in another current trend, sign up for subscription-based purchases. “The problem with period products and bladder care products is they’re a grudge purchase,” Robinson said. “Consumers don’t want to buy these products. They buy them because they have to.” The company also makes Oi Maxi Plus Pads, made with organically grown cotton, for staying dry during bladder leakage.
Also according to Mintel, women are seeking products that address multiple aspects of menstruation, such as pain, odor and other issues. The report noted that 43% of people who have their period and 50% of women aged 18 to 34 years old said it’s difficult to control symptoms of menstruation.