The Supply Side: Wet-Nap wipes debut at Wal-Mart Stores 

A moist towelette first created for Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1957 and produced in Arkansas has found its way to Walmart shelves in more than 3,400 stores, according to Lindsey Drain, marketing manager for Nice-Pak Products in Bentonville.

Drain said Nice-Pak is launching five new Wet-Nap products this week exclusively for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The hand wipes come in several varieties ranging from individual packettes to large flip-top packs for bigger messes. The wipes can usually be found in the paper goods aisle or health and beauty section.

Nice-Pak Products Inc. Chairman and CEO Robert Julius remembers when Colonel Sanders first helped introduce the brand to the world more than 50 years ago.

“Finding the ideal solution for his patrons to clean up after enjoying his finger-licking good chicken, The Colonel made Wet-Nap hand wipes available with every meal,” Julius said. “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter and we are thrilled that this tried-and-true product and Original Wet-Nap® brand is now on the shelves at Walmart.”

This one-year contract and product launch is a double win for the Natural State as these and other private label wipe products are manufactured at Nice-Pak’s Jonesboro plant, Drain said. The company has operated a sales office in Bentonville for the past 14 years employing eight full time professionals, Drain said. The Jonesboro manufacturing plant employs about 200.

“We are excited to be offering these mom-tested and mom-approved products exclusively at Walmart,” said Tom Hernquist, president of the consumer division for Nice Pak Products. “Wet-Nap products are a convenient, affordable ($1.97) solution for wiping hands and faces on the go.”

Nice-Pak rolls out more than 100 billion wipes every year, posting estimated sales revenue between $147 million and $167 million, according to Insideview.com. Its brands include Nice 'n Clean, Grime Boss, Sani-Hands and Wet Nap, and private label wipes for several retailers and restaurant chains. 

The wet wipe industry is a competitive field with U.S. sales expected to top $2.5 billion by 2016. 

“Wipes manufacturers are constantly looking for the next big thing, thereby fragmenting the wipes market. The largest wipe segment is household wipes, although personal care wipes are fast becoming a close second. Twenty years ago baby wipes were the only wipes to be found,” according to Rory Holmes, president of industry trade group INDA.org. “The wipes market has evolved and now the household and personal care wipes have taken over the market as the biggest sellers.”

Baby wipes represent 20% of all wipes sales in North America, while the household wipes category has reached more than 35% of all sales. Meanwhile, cleaning/disinfecting wipes and floor wipes account for 10% each of the total market, according to industry research.

Nice-Pak’s global competitors include Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clark and Procter & Gamble.

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The private company said its sustainability goals are closely aligned with Wal-Mart and it was the first private label wet wipes manufacturer to become a founding member of the Sustainability Consortium.

Their sustainability goals include a 10% reduction in energy use per unit of production in three years with a 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2015. The company also achieved a zero landfill status for its factories in Green Bay, Wis., and Mooresville, Ind.

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