Wipes are a really fascinating product format – they give the brand a different way to provide efficacy whilst giving the consumer a new experience along with convenience. There are many different choices when it comes to developing a wipe and it is a good idea to understand them before selection.
To start with, I always recommend understanding what your objectives are for the new launch; how does it fit into your current portfolio and brand equity? Don’t think of a wipe as simply a delivery system, rather think about how the wipe can elevate your claims. In addition, the type of claims you want to make will determine how your product is regulated – and that will impact your timeline. For example the steps needed to register your product with the EPA for surface disinfecting or sanitizing claims are completely different to if you register with the FDA to make skin antisepsis claims or you elect to launch as a cosmetic. This is a decision that is essential to make before too much work happens, as the product development paths and documentation requirements are vastly different.
If you are launching a wet wipe (as opposed to an impregnated dry wipe or a dry wipe) then here are some key factors to consider:
- Is your liquid formulation already developed?
- Is the formulation stable both by itself (in a glass jar) as well as on a wipe?
- Are the properties of the formulation impacted (positively or negatively) when on a wipe?
The chicken and egg question is what kind of packaging format you will choose – for instance a canister of wipes will need a different approach to raw materials than a soft pack (think baby wipes) versus a single use sachet – and of course each of these formats uses a very different type of production line.
The stability is often something folks forget about, but is crucial to both the efficacy, safety and stability of your product. That may seem to be an over statement, but preservative systems behave quite differently on a nonwoven versus in a bottle and the wicking properties of the wipe can sometimes mean you are left with a dry top (and a soggy bottom!).
The wipe itself is made of a nonwoven material, and that comes in a myriad of options – from the type of fiber or fibers selected (the blend) to the density (the basis weight) and then the process for forming the nonwoven web. This process selection will drive a lot of the properties of your product – the softness, loftiness, thickness amongst other things.
Of course we are always driven to push the boundaries of innovation and there is no need to be limited by a simple wet wipe – there are also pads, facemasks, gloves and even powder-filled puffs made of nonwovens.
Time and again R&D groups are pleasantly surprised by the elevation in claims made possible by a nonwoven – so don’t be put off by the complexity to make your next hit with your consumers!
If you would like help or advice on how to launch your next wipe product, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.