The following is from the April 14, 2009, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Marketing Professor Daniel Howard of SMU's Cox School of Business provided expertise for this story.

Kimberly-Clark touts diapers made with natural materials


April 14, 2009

The Dallas Morning News

Kimberly-Clark Corp. announced the launch of Huggies Pure & Natural diapers Monday, saying they provide "initial steps toward environmental improvements" as well as "exceptional gentle care."

The Irving-based consumer products company said it expects the high-end diapers to make inroads with customers interested in products containing natural materials.

The product launch comes less than a week after Kimberly-Clark – which has faced criticism from some environmental groups – touted the environmental benefits of its newly introduced Scott Naturals toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and flushable wipes.

But launching premium diapers in the midst of a recession is apt to be challenging, analysts said. Huggies Pure & Naturals will be sold for 15 percent more than Huggies Supremes, currently the brand's priciest diaper.

"The timing couldn't really be worse for Kimberly-Clark," said Daniel Howard, a Southern Methodist University marketing professor. "When you have people struggling, even when they really are environmentally conscious, are they willing to pay 15 percent more? The answer I have found is no."

Still, the new diapers may be well positioned to benefit when the economy starts recovering, Howard added.  

Read the full story.

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