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So many toothpastes: Manufacturers, stores limit new introductions

from The Wall Street Journal

It should be so easy: Buy toothpaste. But few shopping trips are more bewildering. An explosion of specialized pastes and gels brag about their powers to whiten teeth, reduce plaque, curb sensitivity and fight gingivitis — sometimes all at the same time. Add in all the flavors and sizes, plus ever-rising prices, and the simple errand turns into sensory overload. Manufacturers acknowledge the problem and are putting the brakes on new-product introductions. Last year, 69 new toothpastes hit store shelves, down from 102 in 2007, according to market-research firm Mintel International Group. Procter & Gamble Co., maker of Crest, says it has "significantly" reduced the number of oral-care products it makes worldwide in the past two years. more

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