Tyler Cowen wants to know:
Eli Lehrer informs me that Tide has a high market share even though it is more expensive than most other brands. This source says the market share of Tide is about forty-four percent, with the sum total of all Proctor and Gamble products (Gain and Cheer are two others) accounting for about two-thirds of the market. Is Tide so good? Does Tide really “know fabric best”? I couldn’t name one supposed feature of the product and I’ve been buying detergent my whole life. I couldn’t even tell you what brand I buy. Maybe it is Tide.
Having read the occasional issue of Consumer Reports, I know that Tide consistently is a star. In fact price does seem to matter, and commenter Kip Esquire gives us an insight to the chemical industry and the money they spend on making these products better:
INTERESTINGLY, although Gain is a midtier brand, it draws on some of the chemistry developed for P&G’s premium Tide brand. For example, Grime says the powdered variety of Gain now contains a proprietary, quick-dissolving alcohol sulfate surfactant developed with Shell Chemical and launched in 2002 in Tide. And Gain powder with bleach contains nonanoylbenzene sulfonate, the high-performance peroxygen bleach activator long used in Tide with Bleach.
Likewise, Gain Fabric Enhancer is a new fabric softener that uses diethylester dimethyl ammonium chloride, the same softener active found in P&G’s premium Downy brand.
Of course, P&G reserves some technologies for Tide and for Ariel, its premium European brand. In France, for example, the company recently introduced Ariel Style, which Grime calls the first detergent to offer a fabric shape retention benefit. The technology, called Fiberflex, was developed in partnership with one of P&G’s chemical suppliers.
The business and science behind this I found surprisingly interesting:
Also being introduced in P&G’s flagship brands is a new enzyme combination of pectate lyase and mannanase. Grime says this combination targets the pectins, mannins, and guars that are present in many food stains, either from the food itself or from thickeners used with them. Not only are these substances difficult to remove, they leave residues after washing that can act as “magnets” and attract other stains during wear, he says.
Another premium brand innovation from P&G is an ethoxylated quaternized sulfated amine that the Tide and Ariel franchises are incorporating as a cleaning polymer. According to Grime, this technology improves cleaning performance on two fronts: through improved soil suspension capability and improved removal of outdoor soil stains, a perennial laundry problem.
But then, I’m a geek.
4 Responses to “Why is Tide Popular?”
Trackback URI | Comments RSS