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‘Dropps’ in green bucket

BY Barbara White-Sax

PHILADELPHIA — Phosphate-free and biodegradable Dropps laundry detergent is getting greener. The premeasured, disposable pack detergent, made by Cot’n Wash, has partnered with TerraCycle to give consumers a zero-waste liquid laundry detergent option.


TerraCycle, an international “uploading company,” turns difficult-to-recycle packaging into affordable, eco-friendly products. Consumers can download and print prepaid shipping labels online, then ship their empty Dropps packaging to TerraCycle free of cost. Consumers earn two points for every empty Dropps pouch, which can be converted into a gift or cash for charities or schools.

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Niche cards chart 
differentiation in aisles

BY Barbara White-Sax


The supplier in the greeting card aisle may not be enough to capture consumer interest. While smaller, niche players make up less than 5% of category sales, according to one manufacturer, those companies can offer a point of differentiation to retailers that larger manufacturers can’t provide.


Marc Trobman, VP new business development for Avanti Press, compared adding niche publishers to the card aisle with augmenting beers from the two big brewers with craft beers — a strategy most retailers have taken. “People love the beers, but they’re hard to find. When you find them, it raises the credibility of the whole department,” he said. Trobman said his company has had strong success with programs in Meijer, Wegmans and Sprouts Farmers Market.


Trobman also added that smaller, more nimble companies are able to quickly respond to the needs of their customers. Avanti, for example, heavily focuses on humor, the fastest-growing segment of the market. Other key trends in the category are eco-friendly materials, inspirational cards, pets and animal prints.


Cards that answer those needs move quickly. “Retailers say our turns are higher and we produce more revenue per pocket per day, so that’s where we shine with our accounts,” said Bob Gall, president of Blue Mountain Arts, a brand with limited SKUs that require only 8 ft. of shelf space. 


Value pricing is another niche that smaller companies are filling — which is particularly important since greeting card prices have continued to climb. The average card price is between $2 and $4, according to the Greeting Card Manufacturers 
Association.


Retailers can discount Gallant Greetings’ line up to 50% off, and Designs for Better Giving, a multicultural card and gift manufacturer, keeps price points down by staying away from expensive embellishments. “We’ve kept our price point solidly in the $2 to $2.50 range, but we still do everything a large company does,” said Richard Todd, president of Designs for Better Giving. “We even have in-house fulfillment people.”


Designs for Better Giving, which offers a full line of multicultural products — from cards targeted to African-Americans to ones written in Russian and Japanese — offers a range from 48- to 102-pocket programs, as well as a 12-pocket counter display.

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ReportersNotebook — General Merchandise, 5/30/11

BY Barbara White-Sax

SUPPLIER NEWS — Ziploc has launched its Versa­Glass products, which are designed to go from the fridge to the microwave or oven — at temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit — and straight to the dinner table, the company said. The containers also are dishwasher-safe and available in six sizes, ranging from $4.19 to $8.99, or in a variety pack of three containers for $17.99.


Cottonelle is bringing back its Get Fresh With a Friend program that allows consumers to get a free tub of the brand’s flushable moist wipes and send one to a friend or family member. Consumers that visit GetFreshWithAFriend.com can receive a coupon for a free One Touch dispensing tub of Cottonelle flushable moist wipes with a Cottonelle Easy Reach hanger for themselves and a friend by providing their mailing address and their friend’s email address. A 42-count tub of flushable moist wipes carries a suggested retail price of $2.89.


MidWest is expanding its accessories lineup with new MidWest Garden Markers. The 10-in. high steel wire constructions with copper marker identification panels are available in packaged sets of six markers with a black waterproof marker pencil, letting garden enthusiasts easily identify what is growing in their garden and where.

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