TWM/1: How have the events in the tissue industry in the last year impacted the tissue sector?
“Acquisitions and company mergers were strong this year and because of that we
see companies aiming to re-organise their portfolios, brands and teams. Marketing and retail strategies play an important role during the process of rearranging the internal structure in order to deliver to shoppers a more consistent offer, with a clear positioning. Additionally, sustainability has undoubtedly been the big trend forcing companies and mills to re-think their products and processes to try to keep their costs stable, with very little increases in the final price. High investments in technology have brought several inspiring projects regarding sustainability – it was an exciting year!”
TWM/2: What main tissue trends are you expecting to see in 2019/2020?
“We will continue to see most growth in the emerging markets – Latin America, Asia and Africa – now more and more driven by added-value products. Countries like Turkey bring expertise and innovation, delivering very high-quality SKUs. I expect to see more solutions focused in our circular economy need: reduction of carbon footprints, water use, supply chain efficiency and, of course, packaging reduction – which impacts AH and AfH markets. Private label will continue to grow and not only with cost-benefit options but also with added-value products – retailers believe that having their own label brings them exclusivity and keeps them out of a “price war” with national brands.
TWM/3: How are the changing economic conditions around the world impacting the tissue industry?
“Political conflicts such as Brexit and China vs USA will keep encouraging local suppliers and manufacturers, and due to the high competition in this sector, companies will avoid increasing the final price of their products despite increases in their costs and import fees, which might force them to end up with lower profits.”
TWM/4: Are you seeing demand for tissue products in new geographical areas, and if so, where and why?
“Demand is still growing in all the emerging markets and they are the ones that will drive the little growth forecasted for the sector. On the other hand, I do also see a slight contraction of consumption in some mature markets, driven by the ecological movement fighting waste and climate change. Consumers are re-thinking their purchase habits and establishments are also engaged in reducing the waste and educating users – which may also reflect on the AfH volumes. Establishments are already replacing paper towels with electric “hand-dryers”, for example.”
TWM/5: What are the main challenges and opportunities facing the tissue market in the immediate future and how are you tackling them?
“I see the e-commerce channels emerging as a powerful point of sales (POS) for the tissue categories and this reduces the chance a brand has to personally interact and engage with shoppers. These are already saving their ‘shopping lists’ on their favourite online retail platforms, to reduce the ‘shopping time’ and therefore achieving a faster and easier experience. This is quite a challenge for tissue brands, since the SKUs are considered commodities. And of course, “circular economy” and “cradle-to-cradle (C2C)” are becoming famous concepts and transforming production processes in order to comply with political and ethical requirements can become an important opportunity in the immediate future. I consult companies that want to rethink their portfolios and their brand-positioning in order to meet these requirements.”