Wal-Mart, in a major announcement said by May 2008 it would only sell concentrated liquid laundry detergent in its US Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. The announcement from Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores will also cover Wal-Mart Canada.
"People expect businesses to step up and work together to help solve the big challenges facing the world," said Scott. "What we have done is work with suppliers to take water—one of our most precious natural resources—out of the liquid laundry detergent on our shelves. We simply don't want our customers to have to choose between a product they can afford and an environmentally friendly product."
The announcement will have major implications for the packaging industry. As Sustainable is Good reported earlier this month, the laundry detergent industry has seen massive change in the last two years in the area of packaging and reformulation of product. Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Dial and many others have all come out with concentrated versions of their most popular detergents.
The concentrated detergent trend in the mainstream consumer market was really started in this country by San Francisco-based Method several years ago.
In the announcement Wal-Mart said it expects to sell only concentrated detergent in all of its U.S. stores by early May 2008. The company said the transition will occur in waves beginning in the Southern region next month, extending to the North and Midwest by February and finishing in the East coast states in April 2008.
Wal-Mart's move will have ripple effects down through the industry and other stores who also carry the brands Wal-Mart carries. We should expect concentrated laundry detergents to be the norm in the U.S. by the time line Wal-Mart has introduced.
Given the packaging and formulation considerations we would expect many brands to shift to concentrated versions exclusively.
See our earlier story on the growing trend of concentrated laundry detergents in the US market - the piece provides an excellent historical overview.