The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

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Bagels
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The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by Bagels »

In Southern California, over the past year, both Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons have drastically reduced the footprint of their laundry detergent aisle. Is this a national trend?

Both chains have removed an extensive selection of Xtra, which is a value detergent produced by Church & Dwight Co. (owners of the Arm & Hammer brand). I've noticed that Xtra products, including the detergent, have made an appearance at 99 Cents Only - but produced by a third party.

Both chains also removed an extensive selection of private label brands. Ralphs maintains a single store brand, which competes with Woolite - a brand Albertsons/Vons no longer carries.

Ralphs use to carry a fair selection of Sun Detergent products (Henkel's value product), including 250 oz. jugs. I don't recall Albertsons/Vons carrying this brand. Ralphs still carries Purex (another value product by Henkel), but it's more limited in selection. Albertsons/Vons has a larger selection... but Purex -- long the brand known for get more product for the same price as the competition -- has been struck by shrinkflation. What was 80 oz. a year ago is now 50 oz., and what was 250 oz. a year ago is now 150 oz. Thus, a lot of real estate has opened up. And for now, both chains seem to be filling it with pandemic-era sanitation productions.

(Also, it appears that Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons have decreased the selection of 'all natural' laundry detergent products, but I never bought that stuff so I can't tell for certain.)
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by BillyGr »

Can't say I 've noticed it - our stores (one chain in particular) seem to have almost endless e-coupons for detergents, usually Ajax/Dynamo and occasionally Purex items, plus some fabric softener (Final Touch is the common one).

As to the Purex shrinking, we've had the 50 oz. for some time in many stores, so it may not be actually shrinking, just that they changed which size(s) they offer. I know at least one store here does something like 75oz. instead (that being the one that never gets bought, as the 50 oz. are always better when a coupon is offered good for any of them).

The Xtra does show up - I seem to remember that one in a couple of the drugstore chains more than supermarkets, but it was probably in markets too.

There are a few other things that have disappeared due to the companies themselves - for example Wisk was discontinued in favor of that Persil brand the same company used in other countries, and now even the Persil smaller bottles have vanished in local supermarket chains (making their coupons less useful, though either Walgreens and/or CVS sometimes have sales on the smaller ones).
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by Alpha8472 »

Laundry detergents are high theft items. They would want to display as little as possible. The more you leave out, the more they steal.
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by storewanderer »

This is definitely not a trend in terms of reducing the footprint of the aisles. However most grocers did not carry much Xtra to begin with.

There do seem to have been some cuts in "flavors" of some detergents recently. But there have also been some new flavors. This was a product category that did not get hit much during all of the shortages and panic buying in the past year and a half. This and cereal.

As for private label there has not been private label detergent at Kroger for a number of years; the last time they had a private label for detergent it was under Everyday Living so I think it was close to 10 years ago. I recall Safeway had a private label laundry detergent in the 90's and into the 00's but it too disappeared at some point long before Albertsons came into the picture.
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by veteran+ »

Bagels wrote: October 9th, 2021, 9:32 am In Southern California, over the past year, both Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons have drastically reduced the footprint of their laundry detergent aisle. Is this a national trend?

Both chains have removed an extensive selection of Xtra, which is a value detergent produced by Church & Dwight Co. (owners of the Arm & Hammer brand). I've noticed that Xtra products, including the detergent, have made an appearance at 99 Cents Only - but produced by a third party.

Both chains also removed an extensive selection of private label brands. Ralphs maintains a single store brand, which competes with Woolite - a brand Albertsons/Vons no longer carries.

Ralphs use to carry a fair selection of Sun Detergent products (Henkel's value product), including 250 oz. jugs. I don't recall Albertsons/Vons carrying this brand. Ralphs still carries Purex (another value product by Henkel), but it's more limited in selection. Albertsons/Vons has a larger selection... but Purex -- long the brand known for get more product for the same price as the competition -- has been struck by shrinkflation. What was 80 oz. a year ago is now 50 oz., and what was 250 oz. a year ago is now 150 oz. Thus, a lot of real estate has opened up. And for now, both chains seem to be filling it with pandemic-era sanitation productions.

(Also, it appears that Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons have decreased the selection of 'all natural' laundry detergent products, but I never bought that stuff so I can't tell for certain.)
YEP....................I have noticed the decline in Southern California.

BIGGER brands pay BIG bucks for shelf space!

;-)
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by HCal »

I'm not surprised to see this, given that the pandemic has caused supply chain issues and manufacturers are focusing on their best-selling products and dropping less popular ones.

I always thought that American supermarkets have far too many laundry detergent options. Some even had 10+ brands to choose from. Is there really any difference between them, or is it just a marketing gimmick?
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by storewanderer »

I typically buy these items at Dollar General. It tends to be a great deal when the ad item/digital coupon is stacked with the Saturday $5 off $25 coupon (easy enough to get to $25 before the coupons, with their low cost consumables). The selection at Dollar General is quite good including multiple SKUs of lesser but still couponed brands like Gain.

I used to always buy laundry detergent at Kroger. Not sure what happened, but rarely any deals good enough to take advantage of there anymore.
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by jamcool »

Yet the Mexican detergents (in bags) are readily available out here, along with the Alen products (Pinalen, Chloralen)
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Re: The Incredibly Shrinking Laundry Detergent Asile

Post by Bagels »

To be clear, laundry brands have been disappearing as the industry consolidates and moves toward bigger brands. For example, Church and Dwight owns Arm and Hammer & Extra. Over the years, they've gradually reduced Extra and retired its fabric softener ("Nice 'n Fluffy," which was an Extra brand, then marketed as an A&H brand, then sold as 'A&H + Nice 'n Fluffy' ... but now it's A&H + fabric softener) while replacing the shelf space with additional varieties, tablets & scent boosters.

But now it's clear the physical space dedicated to detergents is declining. My local Ralphs and Albertsons no longer carry any powered laundry detergent -- in SoCal, power outsold liquids until the mid-2000s.

storewanderer wrote: October 9th, 2021, 10:25 pmAs for private label there has not been private label detergent at Kroger for a number of years; the last time they had a private label for detergent it was under Everyday Living so I think it was close to 10 years ago. I recall Safeway had a private label laundry detergent in the 90's and into the 00's but it too disappeared at some point long before Albertsons came into the picture.
Kroger maintains private label detergent for "darks," natural detergents and fabric softner/sheets. In 2019, they had private labels for free & clear, baby and value brand (under the 'check this out.') And they had an even larger selection as recently as 2017.

Sun Detergents claimed it had 99% market share of private label laundry detergents, shortly before Henkel acquired it. They were the longtime manufactures for Unilever, then acquired the brands in the late 2000s. It was no secret that private label detergent that said 'compare to Tide' was re-branded Wisk, 'compare to Gain' was re-branded All, 'compare to Downy' was re-branded Snuggle and value products were re-branded Sun or Cuddle Soft.

Henkel has wanted to sell more of its own detergent, and less of the private label stuff. It replaced Wisk with Persil, changed the formula of All to one of its own, and pretty much dumped Surf (probably because they had to pay royalties to Unilever). Allegedly Costco will become the exclusive re-seller of Persil, although some other retailers still have contracts (it will say 'compare to Tide.') A lot of private label detergent has disappeared,,, it's mostly the value products (re-branded Cuddle Soft / Sun) that remain. I'm sure somebody will step in to offer a replacement soon.
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