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Thread: Why Are Companies Killing Consumer Choice? And What Can We Do About It?

  1. #1

    Default Why Are Companies Killing Consumer Choice? And What Can We Do About It?

    I know this is a bit of a dead horse topic as of late but it needs to be addressed and we need to figure out a solution. As you all know We have lost many plastic backed diapers over the years only to be completely replaced by breathable products. North America lost plastic TENAs years ago. the UK (and I believe the rest of Europe?) also lost plastic backed TENAs. The majority of Abena products were replaced in Europe and North America with the exception of the S-L4 line I believe? That was a real shame, I wanted to try the plastic backed Delta Forms. Molicare is now the next to go at least in the UK (and the rest of Europe I believe?) but not in North America (yet.) Then of course over the years the various store brands that were completely replaced with breathable products even though store brands have always been better or worse than Depends. It's not a matter of IF our favorite products will go either way with no choice in the matter. it's WHEN.

    So an important question remains: What's the next plastic backed product to go? Who's the next company that's going to take away consumer choice the market has enjoyed for years?

    Let's settle a debate right off the bat.

    The whole breathable trend started with clever marketing. They sold various "benefits" over plastic backed products as objective facts that in reality were just subjective personal preference.

    Plastic backed or breathable, it makes no difference as one is not objectively superior to the other or vice versa. It's all personal preference

    Some like breathable, others like plastic backed. for years people who both wear for fun and/or need alike have had the ability to choose what product they wanted. Now companies are slowly taking that choice away from us. Why?

    I now fear for the uncertain future. Two possible scenarios come to mind

    Scenario 1: Eventually ALL companies abandon the ideals of consumer choice and the market for plastic backed products becomes dominated by ABDL specialty companies which might not sound bad, but could lead to a financially devastating oligopoly if there's not enough competition in the market, which could drive up prices and these companies may have to manufacture their own more medical looking products in house for those that wear for need.

    Scenario 2: after some time companies begin to wise up and rediscover the importance of consumer choice and began reviving old plastic backed product lines alongside the new breathable product lines, once again offering consumers a choice.

    So I ask to the companies themselves and to all people who wear diapers for both fun and medical need alike.

    Why are companies killing consumer choice?

    And what can we do about it?

  2. #2

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    In my mind, this is nothing more than economics doing what it does. The system doesn't care about choice and never has. The system cares about making the most money from the same set of resources. Companies don't offer choice for the sake of it, they offer it to tap into additional markets. When the profits gained from targeting those markets exceed the costs of doing so, and the profits that would gained in using those same resources for another market, that choice remains. When it doesn't, the choice goes away.

    Are there people who prefer plastic backed? Yes. Are there enough people? Evidently not.

    Not much one can really do. It's becoming a niche market served by niche suppliers, which again, is what happens in these kind of situations. Plastic backed is no longer profitable to the big guys, so some little guys step up to capture that market (and further discourage the big guys from re-entering it).

  3. #3

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    I agree that many major companies are going against the grain as far as consumer's choice is concerned, but what we must also realize is that a large percentage of incontinence patients do not select their own products. Anyone who is in some kind of institutionalized care, or is perhaps elderly and being cared for by loved ones or professionals, are not going to be the ones making the buying decision. And from an inexperienced, non-user's discretion, cloth-backed appears to be the best choice, and so I believe that's effectively skewing the demand for cloth-backs so far in that direction that these companies are selling more of them instead. There's also the potential misconception that cloth-back is "greener" or less pollutive or harmful to the environment than PE plastic-based products. Remember also, that we ABDLs make up around 1% (if that) of the overall consumer base, so our collective demands or preferences alone won't sway these companies.

    There's not a lot of public research on any of this, but I'm sure these individual companies aren't just doing it for nothing - fortunately many of us wrote to and complained to Abena and they agreed to exclusively produce the plastic-backed M4/L4s for XP Medical and other distributors for the time-being. Tena has also followed suit with the Tena Slip Original line. I'm sure with enough pushing and shoving and slapping in the back of the head, Molicare will get around to it too.

  4. #4

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    As someone who wears for need scenario one would be a total nightmare scenario for me. The only real hope is that scenario one happens but there is enough competition in the niche ABDL market to keep prices competitive and affordable but I doubt things would play out like that in such a niche market. Could be wrong though. The only other thing is the day comes when 3D printing technology advances to a point where you can print out a fully functioning diaper, then bags, then cases. The day comes when such technology is widely affordable by the general public but that's probably at least a decade or two away more or less.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremyi View Post
    There's also the potential misconception that cloth-back is "greener" or less pollutive or harmful to the environment than PE plastic-based products.
    I wonder to what extent this misconception actually determines a choice of diaper? I'm guessing it's not a major factor, but it's an interesting one, because there are actually "greener" diaper technologies out there--corn starch-based backing instead of plastic, no dyes, no bleach, etc. How well would those things sell in an Abena version? Right now, these appear to exist only in premium-priced baby diapers, but I expect it's inevitable that they make the leap to adult sizes at some (distant) point. And I'm guessing these corn starch-based backings, which look and feel a lot like plastic, would appeal more to the plastic lovers than the current lot of cloth-backed diapers.

    So! Maybe the solution is not to lobby the diaper companies to stick with plastic, but rather to hasten their transition to greener diapers.

  6. #6

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    There is virtually no selection here as it stands in regards to plastic backed naps! And with breathable comes the extra risk of seepage and smell; the taps usually suck, too (obviously they must realize this?)

    I am not really to sure what solutions to offer past maybe rallying the more prominent figures of this community, starting a survey and mailing it to the manufacturers themselves!

  7. #7

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    Not only is it about customer choice and our communities preference, it should also be noted that it is a quality issue.

    I have yet to use a cloth backed nappy which stays fitting the same as when I put it on. Within an hour or so you can guarantee that the nappy becomes loose and starts to sag heavily. The worse occasion was recently when I was sitting down for quite a while and wet a few more times before getting up. When I stood up and started to walk to the kitchen the nappy had come so loose that it literally fell to my ankles, taking the elasticated trousers I was wearing with them. Imaging if that had happened in a public place?

    It was one of the few new Tena Slips that I brought to try, the originals always stayed as tight as when I put them on, if that's what SCA regard as progress then I seriously hope that they go into liquidation very soon.

  8. #8

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    I tried cloth backed attends the other day... It was not fun... I felt awkward... Plastic let's me feel like I have a diaper and the leg guards are better. The cloth back is too annoying with the Velcro fasteners...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cottontail View Post
    I wonder to what extent this misconception actually determines a choice of diaper? I'm guessing it's not a major factor, but it's an interesting one, because there are actually "greener" diaper technologies out there--corn starch-based backing instead of plastic, no dyes, no bleach, etc. How well would those things sell in an Abena version? Right now, these appear to exist only in premium-priced baby diapers, but I expect it's inevitable that they make the leap to adult sizes at some (distant) point. And I'm guessing these corn starch-based backings, which look and feel a lot like plastic, would appeal more to the plastic lovers than the current lot of cloth-backed diapers.

    So! Maybe the solution is not to lobby the diaper companies to stick with plastic, but rather to hasten their transition to greener diapers.
    Abena already sports the Nordic Swan eco label, which is pretty doggone stringent, certifying that nothing in them is carcinogenic or allergenic. Could they use corn-based backing, sure, and maybe someday they will, but until then, I'll be happy with the fact that they won't give me cancer. I just wish they'd take a page out of depends book, and add some bright colors, so I don't feel like a patient. Hell, do one better, magenta, teal, pink, or purple anybody?

    For the record, no, I can't believe I said depends did something right anymore than anyone else here can.

  10. #10
    Nessus

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    Having just used a Northshore Air Supreme I can agree that I definitely prefer the plastic to the cloth. For one thing I like the feel of the plastic when the diaper is full, something about the soft and slight squishiness. I constantly fondle it and found the cloth surface nowhere near as satisfying.

    I also like to see the wet material through the plastic and like to watch it wetting - I am clearly not alone in that as there is substantial diaper porn of that sort to be found out there.

    I find the plastic chafes less if you are dry, and as noted it generally fits better.

    I sure hope Abena and Tranquility keep their plastic diaper lines going. I would surely miss them!

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