EconomyFinancialHave you already tried them? The use of panties...

Have you already tried them? The use of panties and menstrual pads grows in Mexico

Alexa Roca bought some menstrual panties in a store in the United States in 2019. The garments were in her closet for months before she dared to try them, but once she did they seemed so comfortable that she decided to share this discovery with other women and created Muuns brand.

With a savings of 2,000 dollars, the entrepreneur began looking for factories in China that could manufacture these garments for her. He requested several samples until he decided to make a first order of 60 panties, which he sold in a month.

The first approach of the undertaking was to offer “an environmentally friendly product”, since these panties avoid the waste generated by the use of sanitary napkins and tampons. However, everything took a turn when women began to notice benefits related to their menstrual cycle, such as less cramping or that their period lasted fewer days.

“The women became very interested. Word spread and now the biggest focus of the brand is the benefits of wearing the garments on the well-being of the wearers. We have grown a lot, when I started I sold 200 garments a month and now I am selling more or less 4,000,” Roca said in an interview in early August.

Today, the brand sells monthly pants in stores like Coppel and is about to start sending them to countries like France, Spain, England and Canada. It has also started with the local production of garments, currently manufacturing in Mexico, in the Puente Grande women’s prison in Jalisco, 30% of its production.

Muuns was one of the first companies to explore this market. But now it is possible to find different brands, some of them already for sale in supermarkets, online stores, marketplaces and even on social networks.

The value of the global market for menstrual hygiene products, which includes pads and tampons, reached $38.18 billion in 2021 and will rise to $54.52 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights calculations.

In the study Making Menstrual Products Eco Friendly , published by Plastics Oceans International in February of last year, it is estimated that 45,000 million menstrual products are used in the world in a year, so reusable products such as menstrual pants are alternatives to reduce the waste.

With this trend on the rise, personal hygiene giant Essity has also set its sights on this segment. Under its Saba brand, it launched its Intimawear menstrual panties on the market at the end of 2020.

Paulina Barragán, communication manager for Latin America at Essity, said in a meeting with Expansión that this product was already being marketed in other countries, and is part of the company’s initiatives to have sustainable products on the market.

“We have the goal that at least 64% of products globally have to contain some improvement for the benefit of the environment or society (…) Intimawear is for these people who care about buying products that cover their needs, but taking care of the environment”, he says.

How long can cloth pads and menstrual panties be used?

The use of menstrual panties and cloth pads is on the rise. Their lifespan depends on care, as they have some specific instructions, such as drying in the sun. Some brands, as they calculate the duration of the garments in years, around three or four years. Others in washes, those of Saba, for example, last 50 washes.

Like the duration, the price of cloth pads and menstrual panties varies according to the brand. For example, those of Saba have a price of 590 pesos. Those of Muuns are priced at 449 pesos. In the marketplaces it is possible to find packages of up to three garments for 299 pesos. Cloth towels can be purchased from 90 pesos per piece or in packages of 10 to 600 pesos.

“There is a very good reception, however, seeing that the product does not have such a low cost, it is considered as an investment, which is a benefit for the times that it can be washed and used,” says Barragán without revealing what percentage of Saba’s sales represent its menstrual panties.

Goodbye to disposable feminine pads?

Total reusable sanitary napkin sales currently account for 5-10% of the global health and personal care market, but analyst firm Future Market Insights sees “this figure is likely to improve further in the of the growing adoption of reusable sanitary napkins around the world.

In its Reusable Sanitary Napkin Market Outlook (2022-2032) study, it estimates the global reusable sanitary napkin market size to be $2.8 billion by 2022 and forecasts total sales to grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 11.6% between 2022 and 2032, reaching a valuation of 8,300 million dollars in 2032.

Particularly in the Mexican market, it is not clear if reusable menstrual hygiene products will replace disposable ones or if they can even be a complementary market that allows expanding access to menstrual hygiene products for all girls and women in the country.

There are no specific figures on menstruating people who do not have access to these products. However, the Menstrual Hygiene Program of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), reveals that in Mexico 43% of girls and adolescents prefer to stay at home than go to school during their menstrual period; while 30% use toilet paper instead of sanitary pads.

In Mexico, the Dignified Menstruation organization promoted an initiative to eliminate VAT on menstrual hygiene products from the beginning of this year, and Alexa Roca, from Muuns, comments that in line with these initiatives, she will initiate an expert opinion so that her menstrual panties and menstrual hygiene products fit into this package.

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