Consumer confidence key to water savings - Sainsbury's

Persuading people to wash clothes and dishes at low temperatures and for minimum time is all down to building consumer confidence in new washing products according to Sainsbury's.

"We've worked to tailor our formulations to make sure customers have the confidence to turn down the temperature dial," said the company's household product technologist, Nigel Tong, commenting on the company's latest laundry and dishwashing products which operate at temperatures as low as 15 degrees C.

Questioned by edie on potential customer take-up of their reduced energy approach, Sainsbury's quoted a 2009 study conducted by IPSOS Mori which found only 2% of loads in the UK were done below 20 degrees and only 22% at or below 30 degrees.

This was by far the lowest percentage across Western Europe and evidence, said the company, that while consumers want to convert to cold cycles they need reassurance on performance and hygiene to do so.

As for people being willing to use less detergent in response to the development of more concentrated formulations, Sainsbury's said that current research showed it takes 1-2 years for consumers to adopt their habits to new dosing recommendations.

Consumer watchdog, WaterWise, welcomed the continued "leapfrogging" of products and equipment in the sector.

"I'm not sure how many washing machines have a 15 degree setting, but any improvements which are made in this area are to be encouraged," said WaterWise managing director, Jacob Tompkins.

"I'm obviously not in a position to be able to comment on these individual products, but washing machine manufacturers and detergent makers constantly leapfrogging each other in terms of new technology is what takes the industry forward and allows people to use less water."

In addition to highlighting their shorter wash/low temperature initiative, Sainsbury's said that washing machine cleaning and maintenance was often overlooked.

"It is important to recognise that machines need to be cleaned regularly," the company said, adding that the problem is particularly bad in the south east where water tends to be harder, resulting in limescale build-up which reduces efficiency.

edie staff



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