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Feminine Hygiene Products Industry: Rising Above Stigma, Taboos, and Myths
Published Date: 17 Mar 2023

With almost negligible consideration for feminine needs to a wave of period goods sweeping across retail outlets and E-commerce platforms, the Feminine hygiene products industry has come a long way. The credit somewhere goes to the women's empowerment that has given the green signal to more such variants in the past decade. The bigger buying capacity of women has made the business even smoother for market players. Other than this, the efforts and initiatives laid down by the Government and the social workers have somehow brought the idea of female hygiene into the limelight, enabling willing investors and manufacturers to roll out more innovative products under this category. As such, several new products, such as tampons, menstrual cups, intimate washes, and many others, have received a welcoming gesture from consumers. As per a recent report, The Global Feminine Hygiene Products Market projects a considerable growth pace with around 5.7% CAGR during 2023-28. Let us unfold the aspects that are likely to shape the industry in the forthcoming years.

The Products Encompassing the Feminine Hygiene Category

While we are discussing Feminine Hygiene Products, it is crucial to familiarize ourselves with the category. With a wide range of items, Menstrual Care, Intimate Washes & Cleansing, and Hair Removals are the broad-level categorization of Feminine Hygiene Products. Further segmenting, Menstrual Care comprises sanitary napkins/pads, tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, and others. On the other hand, Intimate Washes & Cleansing have wipes, moisturizers & creams, spray, powder, soap, gel, etc. Likewise, razors, strips & wax, trimmers & epilators, and others fall under the hair removal category. With such a massive product range, the industry surely has constantly evolved over the past few years.

The Advent of Reusable Menstrual Products, In A Bid to Minimize Waste Generation

The growing burden of waste generation calls for more sustainable and reusable menstrual products. As per Plastic Oceans International, Globally, nearly 45 billion menstrual product waste is generated every year, and on average, 4,125 plastic bags are being used by a pad user over a lifetime. Thus, biodegradable and reusable products have been frequently encouraged by the government, along with the concerned agencies, in the past few years. In fact, the thorough inclusion of eco-friendly products has been exhibited by various manufacturing companies.

For instance, SABIC, a chemical industry giant, has introduced certified circular polymers from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio in manufacturing specialty films created for absorbent disposables developed by Drylock Technologies. Drylock has nodded the incorporation of these films for various absorbent hygiene applications, such as sanitary pads, panty liners, towels, and others. Therefore, reusable period underwear & pads and reusable menstrual cups are a few solutions that are gaining traction within the feminine hygiene products segment for cut-back waste generation.

Menstrual Hygiene: Merely A Luxury or Necessity?

With the introduction of the Pink tax, levied predominantly on women-centric products, it has been a topic for debate as to whether women's hygiene products, particularly Menstrual care related, fall under the luxury. To answer this, let us dive into some of the observations affirmed by UNICEF in 2018. As Per the organization, menstruation is a vital and unavoidable phenomenon in women's lives. Surprisingly, on average, a woman menstruates for about seven years of her life. Moreover, many women and girls do not have access to materials to manage their menstruation, especially in times of emergency such as natural disasters and conflicts. Unarguably, access to proper sanitation and a clean environment is paramount to every human being, however, when it comes to ensuring the utmost hygiene for menstruating women and girls, the liability becomes twofold. Citing these concerns, UNICEF came up with dignity kits engineered especially for women and girls. The kit comprises sanitary pads, a whistle, and a flashlight for personal safety when using the toilet.

Along similar lines, Scotland, a nation in the United Kingdom, made the historic announcement in August 2022 of offering sanitary pads along with other period products free of charge. With this, it became the first country in the world to undertake such an initiative enforced to tackle the period poverty crisis.

An Instance of The USA Demonstrating Alarming Period Poverty

Period Poverty, basically the inability to buy, afford or access the necessary menstrual products required during periods, has been doing a round for the past few years. According to the Journal of Global Health Reports, 2022, Two-thirds of the 16.9 million low-income women in the US exhibited less affordability for menstrual products in the past year, with half of them having to choose between menstrual products and food. Next, 500 million people are devoid of menstrual products and hygiene facilities.

In A Nut Shell

With these alarming facts regarding the prevalence of Period Poverty in a developed country like the USA, one can clearly anticipate the crisis level in developing countries. Particularly in Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, and others paired with African nations, where literacy rate is low and periods are no less than taboo or stigma. These factors clearly hint at the need for ample products, not just in the USA but the entire world, in an attempt to satiate the emerging demand for menstrual care products. Backed by these aspects, it would not be incorrect to say that with adequate products facilitating women's menstrual and hygiene soon, it is a win-win situation for market players and women worldwide.

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