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Kimberly-Clark touts diapers made with natural materials

Excerpt

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.

April 14, 2009

By BRENDAN CASE
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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