Toilet Paper 2020. What has the impact been for brands and consumers so far.

Pandas, Koalas, Bears & Puppies | A World of Toilet Paper

The Toilet Tissue Issue. A few months ago pre-lockdown Helen Morris of Tissue World Magazine published an interview with Mark Hendriksen in ‘ConsumerSpeak.’ The worldwide tissue market is worth over £50 billion a year and TWM is the leading independent publication and online resource for the global tissue industry, publishing essential information, analysis and opinions on breaking trends in business, technology, regional developments and sustainability. At the same time as our article appeared in mid May, those in the know were writing a ‘pandemic special 3-parter’ with Helen having interviewed tissue mills and industry insiders to get their views on how the pandemic is impacting the tissue market [toilet paper being a major part of that] and their forecasts for the future. If you’re not in the Tissue Industry and heard of the much respected TWM, or you’re one of many toilet paper users, you may be interested to hear their thoughts.

Impacts on Brands, Business and Consumers. The links to the 3 articles are integrated below. We’re currently doing a short survey aimed at consumers which [although it’s still work in progress] is so far bearing out the observations made in these reports. What has been shown here is how the industry has stepped up to make a collaborative effort, which so clearly demonstrates how the they can come together if and as necessary with an ability to adapt swiftly to the new moments of the economy. The manufacturers and suppliers have also taken extra steps to keep their people and their families safe and healthy. These measures have included enhanced safety measures for office, mill and distribution centre operations. As we see it for our readers, the main (brand-consumer) bullet points taken from the articles are as follows:

  1. ‘The AfH [away from home] sector is especially hard hit as many nations shutdown social activity as restaurants, bars, flights and hotels temporary close down to adjust and safeguard citizens.
  2. An increase has been seen in demand globally for consumer products, that is; toilet paper, household towels, baby diapers, feminine care, and incontinence care products.
  3. Interestingly but not surprisingly, in view of stock shortages and concerns over store visits, direct-to-consumer (DTC) tissue brands operating on subscription basis also see a significant increase in demand and the surge in the number of subscribers. It is unlikely that these brands will be able to retain all of their newly acquired customers as impact of pandemic wanes. However, in regard to e.commerce and DTC, according to some traditionally retail only suppliers, ‘They believe that some of the e-commerce increase will be permanent even after the end of the pandemic.’ [TWM Analysis Part 1]

Winds of Change. It’s going to be interesting to see how many brands retain their customers, how many are ‘unfaithful’ and switch brand and who buys cheaper or non specific brands, and last but not least, though it seems more so in the US and the UK for example, who switches to bidets and the wash vs wipe. All this apart from the greater public awareness of how toilet paper is produced and the amounts of trees & water needed to make it, plus the carbon footprint with delivery. Start-ups, brand ethics, sustainability, flushing and the 3Ps, use of bamboo vs trees, giving back to help resolve world sanitation problems, plus bidets and budgets are all increasingly becoming consumer considerations.

Further Analysis. Next up in TWM’s chat with industry insiders, again, some fascinating nuggets of info and observations, primarily the consequences on daily life, freedom or movement, employment, operations and liquidity of companies, and the global economy as a whole. The manufacturing of TP and tissue was impacted when the pandemic started, then further disrupted by the panic buying, both of which hit the supply chain. ‘Orders for toilet paper and paper towels increased as consumer/household demand surged, while demand for products at airports, hotels, institutional spaces and other public venues softened.’ [TWM Analysis Part 2]

The New Normal? Finally, the 3rd article discussed the temporary uptick in retail, against the troubles in the ‘away from home’ [AfH] sector. Although titled as ‘USA Tissue’ the general findings apply to a number of countries. This then comes full circle, as the points made in Article 1 begin to repeat for both consumer and business activities/public services. The take-aways from this for us were:

  1. ‘It’s important to consider that the extent of economic fall out and high rates of unemployment will place an additional strain on many household budgets, with consumers rationalising further. Potentially diminishing gains for categories like paper towels and facial tissue, with toilet paper serving as a substitute in view of depressed incomes.’
  2. ‘However, the spike in demand is not necessarily all good news for the key brands. Aside from being temporary, the uptake in demand sees shoppers choosing first and foremost cheaper private label as well as stocking large bulk lower cost packages at retailers like Costco as well as discounters.’
  3. ‘With respect to consumer tissue and bathroom routines, in the past couple of years we have been watching the rising demand for bidets in the US.’ Which we’ve also observed but as mentioned, the US seemingly more so than other countries with TUSHY in particular.
  4. The major manufacturers are succeeding and TP consumption looks on track to keep growing. ‘However, direct-to-consumer (DTC) tissue brands operating on a subscription basis are proving to be agile when it comes to inventory management, and they engage with customers on an ongoing basis, also via popular social media channels, so are building longer-term customer retention and acquisition strategies.’ A thought for the bigger players to ponder as pandas join the bears, koalas and puppies in an effort to grab your bottom?

Just to wrap up, our weekly round up of the news and articles on loos & no. 2s…

  1. More news on harnessing the power of poop from, ‘Successful Farming‘, written by Jessica Wesson.
  2. The Proof is in the Poop. ‘How your poop is being used in the fight against COVID-19‘ from the San Diego Union Tribune, as more and more interest grows in epidemiology + wastewater. From CNN on the same subject, check out this video, ‘How poop could help warn of the next coronavirus outbreak.’ Finally, for now, yet another article from The South China Morning Post, ‘Singapore is checking waste water with people’s poo for coronavirus‘ by Dewey Sim.
  3. An article from Anthropocene in their weekly science despatch, ‘What to do about greenhouse gases from poo‘ by Sarah DeWeerdt.
  4. Sit vs Squat. Lastly, about one of our regular topics. An article by Michael Marshall in NewScientist recently reported, “Certainly, sitting upright to void isn’t natural. For most of our species’ history, people squatted, bending their knees and sticking out their bottoms. About two-thirds of people still do this. Of course, “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “better.” However, medical professionals are starting to implicate conventional toilet use in many abdominal disorders including constipation, bloating and possibly haemorrhoids. And a recent review of sitting upright to defecate even concluded that it was time to “put this unfortunate experiment to an end”.

Do Get in Touch. We’re always happy to hear from readers with any comments or interesting articles so do get in touch. Until next week…

‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? This week’s news on loos & no. 2s.

Getting out and about as lockdown eases. Illustration from the children’s book ‘All Animals Poo & We Do Too’ copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

Scoop the Poop. The past few weeks have seen more and more people out and about in the sunshine at parks and beaches. But at the same time public toilets have so far remained shut. This has led to a number of headlines highlighting the growing problem of ‘where to go when there’s nowhere to go’ and what’s subsequently been happening to these well-loved beaches and beauty spots. We’re used to the ‘scoop your poop’ signs and doggy doo’s bags and bins for our pets, but as for us humans? A more tongue in cheek sign at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada recently served to highlight the issue, one that we felt needed to be discussed in this week’s post. Here’s that exact article by Jenny Yuen for The Toronto Sun in which she said, “Ten thousand people, no bathrooms, you do the math.” So we did – see below!

Facebook | Ira Samuel Cohen

Scoop on the Poop. To focus on one country as an example, the UK has approximately 9 million pet dogs. One in four households in the UK has a pet dog, and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poop a day, or 365,000 tonnes a year [Hansard UK Govt.] and that’s about 85,000 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus [The Measure of Things.] Now that your imagination is ignited… That would mean that in theory if the UK population still had to poop their average 4-500 grams a day outside [LiveScience] then at 68 million people, we would be depositing the equivalent weight of approx. 68 million adult Pandas of poop in the open each year. That’s without accounting for the use of tissue to clean up after, which would mean mountains of mess throughout the land and widespread disease. Fortunately for us that’s not the case, but remarkably it is still the case for 1/3rd of the world population.

To be in the Loop. This may seem rather abstract but it helps us to add a perspective on outside pooping, and also introduces the more serious and less publicised point that open defecation (rare in the toilet owning world), is a huge problem for over 1 billion people worldwide [WHO] that still have to ‘go outside.’ An even higher figure if you add those without access to basic sanitation or water, which brings the total to 1 in 3 people globally. Add to that the extraordinary number of diseases associated to this scenario and you may be surprised to learn that those diseases include; cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. According to the WHO diarrhoea remains a major killer (432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually). So far 380,000 deaths have occurred worldwide from coronavirus. But, better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years ‘each year’ from said diseases.

The Big Necessity.‘ There are many resources you can access if you want to know more, and plenty of statistics and eye-opening stories but our ‘take home on this’ is that while the problem is being addressed through a number of determined passionate people and organisations, this is nowhere near enough supported to stop the tragic and yearly consequences from being anywhere near adequately addressed. For what we consider to be one of the most ground-breaking, informative and unforgettable books on the subject, go buy Rose George‘s, ‘The Big Necessity‘ – it’s a fascinating read as she exposes the biggest single unexposed health problem on planet earth.

When Nature Calls. Meanwhile back to where we started, and a few links to get you through the weeks ahead until the public toilets reopen. Stay safe, stay aware and please leave no trace when pooping outside to keep other safe too. As an addendum, we just spotted an article in the Evening Standard by Lezlie Lowe, published today 5th June, entitled, ‘As lockdown eases we need to talk about toilets.’ Here, Lezlie reiterates the comments we’ve made and also those we discussed about improving public toilets for women, link here. Well worth reading as she’s researched the subject far more than we, and do buy her book too, ‘No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.’ The other article that’s popped up since we published was in HuffPost on 6th June, where Sophie Wilkinson writes for ‘Opinion’, ‘Public Toilets Are An Equalities Issue. Why Don’t We Care?‘ Great to see these expert views on the subject.

  1. Huffpost: How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.
  2. Road Trippers: Nature is calling: Here’s how to poop properly in the great outdoors.
  3. A classic list from Adventure Journal: Seven Ways to Poop Outdoors.
  4. The Manual: How to Poop in the Woods: A Guide for When Nature Calls.

We’ll be back again next week.

Do you prefer to use the same toilet paper brand each time, which is your favourite & 2 other quick questions in our 30 second research Q&A…

Toilet Paper Q&A
‘Can you pass me some toilet paper please’ illustration copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

To jump straight to the quick quiz, scroll to the end of the post…

When it comes to toilet paper certain influences or advertising trends tend to set a preference. Which is your favourite brand, why did you choose it, and have you been faithful during the times tp went short? We’ll check your answers at the end of the article, and will publish the results in a couple of weeks from now. We’ll also look at the eco-friendly contenders such as Bamboo toilet paper and let us know if you’re now using one of the recent list of start-up’s who are emerging and catching people’s attention. There are a vast number of brands out there and, depending on which country you live in, brand names can specifically selected for your local market. Who are the big players and which of their brands may be familiar to you or the ones you’re using? This week we thought we’d take a look and get your feedback.

In terms of the biggest, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are two of the best known (in the USA add Georgia-Pacific to that mix.) Although we’ll focus on toilet paper manufacturers and suppliers, they also have vast numbers of subsidiaries of which we’ll highlight those of particular interest associated to TP. Procter & Gamble are most famous for their Charmin® Brand, which interestingly is their global brand (not differing names in various markets.) But they’re the company that also do; Pampers®, All Good® and Luvs® diapers. Bounty® paper towels and Puffs® facial tissues, and then for personal hygiene; Always®, Always Discreet®, Just®, Tampax® and This is L®.

Whereas, Kimberly-Clark have a number of well-known brand names which, as mentioned earlier, you’d recognise depending on where you live; Andrex®, Hakle®, Cottonelle®, Scottex®, Page®, Neve®, Petalo®, Wondersoft®, Tela®, Scott® and Viva®, add Kleenex® in the professional list. Adult and feminine care products include; Depend®, Poise® and Plenitud®, various Kotex® products, Intimus® and Camelia®. When it comes to kids there’s; Huggies® + Pull-Ups® and Little Swimmers® and also Goodnites® & DryNites®.

Let’s now stick solely to toilet paper brands as we run through a number of other big players.

SCA in Sweden and their sister company Essity produce an array of famous names. Essity is the world’s second largest supplier of consumer tissue. Their brand portfolio comprises many strong brands; Lotus, Tempo and Zewa are the leading ones (France, Germany and Russia.) Cushelle, Velvet and Plenty (UK and Ireland), and Edet (Nordic region and the Netherlands.) Essity is the market leader in China through its majority shareholding in Vinda (see below.) Familia and Regio (Colombia and Mexico), respectively.  Georgia-Pacific are the most famous in the USA for their Quilted Northern® and AngelSoft® rolls. Metsä Tissue in Finland makes the following toilet tissue brands; Lambi, Serla, Mola and Tento, Metsä Tissue is a notable supplier of tissue papers tailored for our customers’ own brands. In China the tp biggies include Hengan, with their Cha Yu Si Xiang series and Vinda‘s ‘Vinda‘ tp range (oddly enough same name as the co.) has been recognised as one of China’s most famous brands. Sofidel has a wide range of brands, again varying depending on country; Regina (their most famous), Softis (big in Germany and Austria), Le Trèfle, KittenSoft, Cosynel (Belgium), Nalys (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) and Lycke eco-care (Sweden.) We could go on, but let’s wrap this up before you glaze over, Nevertheless let us know if there are any of ‘your favourites’ that we’ve missed!

Finally let’s throw some new eco-brands into the mix. We’ve tried and tested the ones we can access in the UK, but can you see one you recognise (or have started using?) These disruptors and direct to consumer brands include; Who Gives A Crap, The Cheeky Panda, No. 2, Peach, Reel Paper, Bumboo, EcoLeaf and Greencane. After all of that, maybe your answer is, ‘None of the above, I just bought myself a bidet/bumwash?’ Well that’s good to know too.

If you could spare 1 minute we’d love your feedback on the following 3 quick questions… Please reply here with your answer to 1. and then choosing for 2. & 3. just choose between (a), (b) or (c). [We will not share your details and will delete all of the replies immediately they’re received and added to the survey.] Thank you.

  1. What’s your favourite Toilet paper brand?
  2. Did you choose it because of (a) an advert or (b) ‘always been used by or in our family’.
  3. Since the coronavirus have you (a) ‘been faithful to your brand’, (b) ‘switched and not gone back to it’ or (c) ‘converted to some type of bidet/bumwash?’

Have a great weekend and we’ll be back next week…

Catching up on the recent news on loos & no. 2s…

Neanderthal to Now
‘Neanderthal to Now’ Squatting or Sitting on the Throne [from ‘All about Poo’]

Straighten the kink. With the UK Bank Holiday just past, on Friday we were discussing our patents pending for an attractive manufactured accessory to help lift your legs and mimic a squat when you sat on the toilet, straightening our colons. In fact that’s were our banner idea came from (above) ‘Neanderthal to Now.’ Interestingly the subject of how best to poop popped up again yesterday in a UNILAD article, ‘Only 11% Of People Poop The ‘Healthy’ Way, QS Supplies Study Finds‘ by Lucy Connolly. As per our own research and further medical evidence, ‘So then why is the footstool the way to go? Well, while sitting with your feet on the ground might relax the puborectalis muscle slightly, it still takes quite a bit of effort to push the waste through because the position of the rectum is still kinked up. However, if you introduce a footstool and sit with your knees up above the hips, leaning forward slightly, this kink is removed and the faeces is able to empty out quickly and thoroughly.’

Having taken up Friday’s post on that kinky business, we neglected to do our usual round up of the week’s news on loos and no. 2s so here it is:

Worth taking time out to watch… ‘Two Ply Over The Cuckoo’s Nest‘ is the grand prize winner of KQED’s Homemade Film Festival. A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper.

With a daily routine of exercising outside being a major help in times of lockdown, news keeps breaking on how people are managing, or not, with the public toilets being closed. So, from HuffPost‘s Doug O’Neill, ‘How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.’

Waiter, there’s a poop in my soup. As practically every living creature poops, we also like to keep updated on their poop news too, so here’s a round up on ‘All Animals Poo and We Do Too’ with some news that may surprise or entertain you, take your pick. Firstly, ‘Shinohara has high hopes for a range of additional insect-based products, including beer made from crickets and a tea made from silkworm excrement.’ On Business Day, ‘Creepy-crawly soup, with silkworm-poo tea.’

Then in no particular order; In Science News, ‘Tapirs may be key to reviving the Amazon. All they need to do is poop‘ by Gloria Dickie. On ABC.net Australia, ‘Fish poo and gut goo are helping scientists eradicate a major pest on the Great Barrier Reef‘ Podcast [7mins] by Patricia Karvelas on RN Drive with Neil Byrne, preceded by some Kangaroo news. ‘This Is Why Magpie Poop Is Black And White‘ Gisela Kaplan for Gismodo. From BBC Earth [on Facebook] see, ‘First Year on Earth: Hyenas have white poo‘ [1min 24]. Death by Poop, ‘Ice Age giant sloths died in a pit of their own poop‘ by Mindy Weisberger for LiveScience. Finally, as it’s been all over the news this past two weeks, we’ve picked EcoWatch, ‘Antarctic Penguin Poop Emits Laughing Gas‘ by Jordan Davidson.

Adventures in the World of Human Waste. On that happy note regarding penguins, we’ll be back on Friday, and the following week we hope to have a catch up on ‘The Big Necessity‘ by Rose George, who in 2008 published the first popular study on the subject of the world of human waste. Apart from highlighting a few remarkable facts and observations from Rose, now, 12 years later what’s changed in solving the single biggest unsolved public health problem on the planet?

Patents Pending: Aesthetic toilet accessory that helps you squat while you s*it or pee.

Patents Pending for integrated foot rest for both wall & floor mounted toilets.

These days it’s fairly common knowledge that our seated ‘toilet posture’ accounts for a number of health issues. Humans were not designed to ‘sit’ on a loo. We were all squatters and even today over 50% of the world are without sit on toilets. This week is about those of us with the luxury of a sit on toilet that may wish to consider a toilet accessory that looks good and actually does you good too. It’s primarily about the way we sit when we use the toilet for no. 1s and 2s.

But, this idea and the proven benefits is not anything new – it’s just that toilet manufacturers and accessory designers haven’t appeared to be interested in manufacturing or offering it as a standard option for your bathroom design, or more importantly for ensuring your better health and wellbeing when buying their products. As a senior consultant in the field once said to me, ‘It’s about the bottom line,’ to which I replied, ‘Yes, rather than the bottom itself.’ The excuse that it doesn’t make them enough money to produce such a thing is easily dismissed by the likes of the ‘SharkTank‘ start up ‘SquattyPotty‘ and subsequent start ups like TUSHY who also that also produce ‘standalone’ accessories, the idea being ‘To enable you to, lift you legs, mimicking a squat and in doing so straightening the kink in your sigmoid colon (the lower part of your colon) to go with the flow!’ SquattyPotty alone has a turnover iro $30million pa. The global sales figures and demand for enabling yourself to ‘squat on the toilet’ while sitting should be proof positive to manufacturers that this needs to go from ‘stand alone’ to ‘standard option’ for both floor and wall mounted toilets, either as part of their initial design or a retro fit.

Foot stools such as SquattyPotty’s and ‘TUSHY’s ‘Ottoman’ are functional, well designed solutions to helping numerous people with conditions such as; straining, haemorrhoids (piles) and/or constipation, hernias and pelvic organ disorders incl. prolapse, or worse, colon cancer and even heart attacks. Quite simply, ignoring the taboo on toilet talk, we probably all know someone who just isn’t always happy or finding it that easy to go to the loo all the time.

Background. Let’s rewind to three years ago. While sitting on a coach en route to Cardiff for a meeting, Mark Hendriksen was reading Giulia Enders‘ groundbreaking book, ‘The Gut‘ as a follow on from a sourdough baking course and interest in how, ‘The human body contains trillions of microorganisms to the extent of outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1.‘ Quite early on in the book he read about the ‘squat vs sit‘ and had a ‘eureka’ moment as he noticed the coach seat had a pull out foot bar on which to lift you feet. The thought was, ‘Why not design a foot bar that could be integrated aesthetically and practically into any sit down toilet.‘ The key point at that moment in time was that although sketches and ideas flowed, Mark was really focussed on doing some children”s books at that particular moment – and this was going to need a lot of research.

To cut to the chase, designs was drawn up, patent searches took place and eventually various patents pending were established. During the journey to achieve all of that, the likes of ‘SquattyPotty’ came to light and from there on the major part of Mark’s days have been taken up with loos & no. 2s. At this precise moment in time Mark has 4 children’s books on the subject ready for publication, and as is notable from this post, is writing about the stuff every week.

But, what about the patents pending? The important and unique USP about these patents and the design is that they’re like any of your regular bathroom fittings, i.e. chrome, sleek, functional, attractive and flow with the design of practically every toilet. You don’t have to hide them if friends or family come round, they don’t take up additional bathroom space, are easy to clean and hygienic, plus, and it’s a big plus, ‘As a fitted accessory can be used in any office, hospital, public toilet etc.’ That makes it effectively usable anywhere there’s a toilet, and that’s a huge leap forward for healthcare. It provides huge potential cost savings for related health issues.

The other positive impact is that since their first appearance when the flush toilet was invented in 1596 but didn’t become widespread until 1851, ‘It would be changing the function of the toilet for good, and significantly‘ as did sanitation, sewer treatment and management. The earliest sitting toilets were invented by the Mesopotamians, then Romans and others who got people sitting 1000s of years ago. But especially then, and certainly back in 1851 when the first flush toilets appeared, ‘who and where was the healthcare expertise, specialist or organisation that confirmed it was better to sit than squat and there would be no health issues by doing so?

At the end of the day we’re simply trying to save everyone’s arse. There’s a lot more on the subject than this short article can address and expand on, but suffice to say we’d love to hear from anyone who may be interested in these patents pending and their potential future place in every bathroom/wc, be it private or public. We’ll catch up on the usual look at this weeks best articles during the coming days.