Nonwovens Industry Magazine, 4.1.21 -- Karen McIntyre, Editor
Even as it has been ramping up investment and changing strategies to meet surging demand for disinfectant wipes, Nice-Pak has been working to repackage and rebrand its Nice ‘N CLEAN® wipes products to better reflect the habits of today’s consumers.
“The entire brand was given a face lift. Since we make wipes across many different categories, we wanted more modern packaging that was easier for the consumer to navigate,” says Michael Lyons, VP of Category Development and GM of Brands. Nice-Pak and its Nice ‘N CLEAN® brand was an early pioneer of the wet wipes industry.
Company founder Arthur Julius created the first disposable wet wipes in 1957 using a converted food packet packaging line. In 1960, the company shipped its first products to customers under the Nice ‘N CLEAN® brand. Over the years, Nice ‘N CLEAN® products expanded to include baby wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, disinfecting wipes and lens wipes. Most of the wipes are made with plant-based fibers, made from trees in environmentally managed forests. Today, Nice-Pak is the world’s leading producer of wet wipes.
The fourth-generation family-owned business is headquartered in Orangeburg, NY, and has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Indiana and Arkansas, as well as in Germany and the U.K. Nice-Pak employs nearly 3000 associates around the world, all dedicated to providing products designed to make life easier and healthier for consumers, while also being mindful of the planet. Nice-Pak currently makes more than 50 billion wipes per year. “We have been tracking consumer habits monthly since the start of the pandemic to see how consumer habits have changed,” says Lyons.
According to company research, 88% of consumers now use disinfectant wipes compared to 64% prior to the Coronavirus pandemic and usage has increased with 73% of consumers reporting to use the product daily. Hand wipes have seen similar increases, as 70% of respondents said they now used sanitizing hand wipes compared to 44% before the pandemic. “The spike in these categories started almost immediately and have stayed very consistent,” Lyons adds.
In January 2021, Nice-Pak’s surface disinfecting wipes (EPA Reg. No. 9480-5), which are sold under the Grime Boss and private label brands in addition to Nice ‘N Clean, received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for efficacy claims against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. “As the fight against the spread of Covid-19 persists, access to effective and convenient cleaning and disinfecting solutions remains critical,” says Jim Dalton, vice president and head of research & development, Nice-Pak. “The EPA approval of our disinfecting wipes provides people with another proven option for protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
This approval came as Nice-Pak was rolling out the rebranded Nice ‘N CLEAN® products to stores. The wipes are extra-large, 9.9 x 8.2 inches, or 64% larger than leading household wipes. It also continues Nice-Pak’s tradition of focusing on sustainability, made with renewable plant-based fibers and packaged in a “soft pack,” which uses 81% less plastic than canisters. “We make sure everything we do with Nice ‘N CLEAN® is sustainable,” Lyons says. “Our wipes are made from plant-based fibers and we are educating our consumers about how we are different from other wipes. Most people are surprised to learn that many wipes are made from plastics.”
Adapting to Consumer Habits
According to independent research, since the Covid-19 pandemic started, consumers are more aware than ever that germs can live on surfaces for long periods of time, which is driving their interest in using disinfecting products to keep their environments clean. In fact, more than 70% of respondents report they are focused on keeping the surfaces in their homes as germ-free as possible. In addition, over 80% say that claims of “killing 99% of viruses and bacteria” were most influential in purchasing surface disinfecting wipes.
“Personal and environmental hygiene is at the center of helping to control the spread of illnesses, including Covid-19, in our communities, homes and schools,” says Robert Julius, CEO, Nice-Pak. “We know from recent research that consumers are determined to protect their health during the pandemic by keeping surfaces clean and disinfected and they are depending on trusted brands to do so. As a family-owned, innovative company with a long history of helping people live cleaner and healthier lives, Nice-Pak is committed to addressing the need—today, and in the future—for effective, sustainable, and affordable disinfecting protection.”
Nice-Pak’s sister-company, PDI, recently announced that three of its products have received approval for the SARS-CoV-2 efficacy claim from the EPA—No-Rinse Sanitizing Wipes, No-Rinse Sanitizing Spray and Disinfecting Wipes. The expanded label claims against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, have met EPA efficacy requirements for hard, nonporous surfaces based on test results conducted by Microbac Laboratories. Microbac conducted and released the following test results of the following products against the SARS-CoV-2 virus: No-Rinse Sanitizing Wipes and No-Rinse Sanitizing Spray are 99.9% effective against the virus in one minute. Disinfecting Wipes are 99.9% effective against the virus in three minutes.
“As a company deeply rooted in the prevention of community-acquired infections (CAIs), Sani Professional is committed to provide our customers with products that improve food safety and public health,” says Esperanza Carrion, vice president and general manager of Sani Professional. “Our mission continues to offer the public a safe experience in away-from-home settings.”
In addition to new product development, Nice-Pak is focusing on investment to meet current and future demand in the wipes market. During the past six months, the company announced dual investments in wipes capacity in North America. The company’s plans include a new 1.2 million square foot facility in Mooresville, IN, which will house manufacturing and distribution, as well as line upgrades and a new manufacturing line in Jonesboro, AK. The Indiana investment, announced in December, represents a $165 million investment that will result in 150 additional jobs, and employ up to 800 associates when fully operational.
“Our new investment in Mooresville is an important milestone in our mission of helping the world stay healthy and well,” says Julius. “We could not think of a better partner than the Mooresville community in our ongoing efforts to meet the increasing demand for wipes—essential products in helping to protect against Covid-19.” The new complex will be located five miles from Nice-Pak’s existing 147,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville. The current facility will remain open and part of Nice-Pak’s overall manufacturing footprint.
The state-of-the-art facility will remain zero landfill as part of Nice-Pak’s “war on waste” that includes more efficient energy and water use, and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Designed by ARCO Design/Build in Indianapolis, the facility will boast a sustainability profile with plans for natural and LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures, eco-friendly landscaping, high-efficiency HVAC systems, low VOC paints and floor coverings, and a white roof to reject heat gain. The building is planned to be constructed from local concrete and regionally-sourced, heavily-recycled content steel.
The current Nice-Pak facility boasts world-class safety performance that underscores Nice-Pak’s commitment to health and wellbeing at their production facilities. In Arkansas, Nice-Pak’s plan calls for the doubling of manufacturing capacity for disinfectant wipes. Started in January, the investment will be complete in August.
According to Nice-Pak, the expansion comes amid increased demand for household disinfectants spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier last year, the plant moved to 24-hour-per-day, seven-days-per week production schedule. “Our products are essential for consumers to help stay healthy and well amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Julius. “We have been working non-stop to produce more wipes than ever before, and we commend the tremendous performance of our Jonesboro associates, who have been terrific in rising to the challenge.” Nice-Pak has been making wet wipes in Jonesboro for more than a decade.