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Shrink Wash

Published: 10:15PM Wednesday May 20, 2009 Source: Fair Go

Reporter:  Ruwani Perera

Since March there's been a revolution down supermarket laundry aisles - all major washing powder brands switching to two times concentrated formula.

Manufacturers boast that you get two times the washing power for half the size - which means less packaging, making it easier to carry and store and reducing their carbon footprint, and therefore greener and kinder to the environment.

There are three washing powder manufacturers in New Zealand.

Unilever (Persil, Surf and Drive) owns around 51% of the market; Colgate Palmolive (Cold Power, Fab) accounts for 22% and PZ Cussons (Duo and Reflect) 17%.
 
Both the major manufacturers, which account for over 80% of the market - Unilever and Colgate Palmolive - say they guarantee the concentrate provides the same number of washes as the old packs.

We've also had many claims from viewers that the new concentrates have ended up costing them more.

It's difficult to know if we're really paying any more - there's been some radical discounting which has helped move old stock off the shelves to make way for the new concentrates.

The manufacturers tell us on a scoop for scoop basis they haven't put up the price (recommended retail price) that they charge supermarkets.

Consumer Magazine's June 2009 issue will reveal some price comparisions between the 2007 Persil High Performance concentrate and the new Persil Small and Mighty formula.

The old Persil worked out to around 56 cents per scoop and the new Persil is around the same, at 57 cents per scoop, but with all the radical discounting we've seen, you can find the new concentrate in some shops for as low as 36 cents.

The one thing Fair Go weren't able to do was check to see if the new double concentrate washing powder is actually twice as strong as the old stuff.  But Consumer - which is
getting labs in Australia to do the testing - is on to it and we'll bring you the results as soon as they're through.

Our Advice:

1.  Use the new scoops. If the washing instructions say one scoop, don't be tempted to add a little more because it doesn't look like enough.  Our consumer behaviour specialist says it's a natural reaction, but resist the urge!
2.  Remember the 500 gram pack which we haven't seen before is meant to do exactly the same job as the 1 kg - so if you automatically used to grab the 1kg in the weekly shop you might want to consider breaking the habit and switching to the half size.
3.  Shop around - the discounts on the two times concentrates won't last so, if you can afford to, stock up now on the specials.

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