Competing kitchen rolls

By: Budai Klára Date: 2024. 05. 02. 11:57

Last year was a difficult one for the paper towel category too. NIQ data shows that although the market expanded by 16.2% in value, it contracted by 11.7% in volume.

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/5

Horváth Barbara - Essity

Barbara Horváth
senior category manager
Essity Hungary

“The kitchen roll segment clearly faces the challenge of being a substitutable product, which makes it relatively easy for households to save on this expense”,

says Barbara Horváth, senior category manager of Essity Hungary Kft.

Colourful communication

Essity Hungary Kft.’s Zewa brand closed 2023 with a volume growth around 11% and a value sales rise of almost 30%.

Réka Forgách
brand manager
Essity Hungary

“As consumers increasingly seek sustainability, product benefits such as the possibility to tear the sheets into halves are becoming important. Zewa Premium Flexisheets is a product that offers exactly this, adapting to the size of the dirt and thanks to this being an economical and environmentally friendly solution”,

informs Réka Forgách, brand manager of Essity Hungary Kft.

Kitchen rolls will be in the spotlight at the company this year. As part of their 360-degree communication strategy, the category will be promoted with TV, online and social media ads, a nationwide prize draw, in-store communication and extensive sample distribution. Orsolya Varga, marketing manager of Vajda-Papír Kft. told our magazine that the majority of paper towel products are still purchased in discount supermarkets, as the channel has a 38% value and a 36% volume share.

“Hypermarkets are also important in the category, with a 19% value share. Drugstores perform well too, with a value share of 14%”,

adds the marketing manager.

The biggest paper weight

Orsolya Varga
marketing manager

Vajda-Papír’s production costs have increased by more than 100% since September 2021. The market share of the company’s kitchen roll brands was 14.4% in 2023, up 1.7 percentage points from a year earlier, and their volume share was 14.8% last year, 2.8 percentage points more than in 2022. In product development they pay special attention to sustainable and responsible production. They use pulp from FSC®-certified responsible forest management and other controlled sources. Ooops! Maxi paper towel is the most popular single-roll product in the category among branded products, and the 500-sheet kitchen roll has the biggest net paper weight per unit, in recyclable packaging with the lowest possible weight.



Producers’ responsibility is indispensable for the sustainability of products and packaging

Only this big, but how big!

Attila Kecskeméti, chief operating officer of Magyar Piszke Papír Kft. points out that the biggest challenge for the sector in 2024 is the more than 30% increase in raw material prices, mainly caused by global market factors.

Attila Kecskeméti
chief operating officer
Magyar Piszke Papír

“Classic 2-roll, 50-sheet products are in decline, compared to 1-roll, so-called mono-roll products. In addition to the classic compact products, more and more foam-based, large-diameter variants with relatively low paper content are being sold, which is a clear reaction to the price-sensitivity of consumers and of course not a good trend from an environmental perspective”,

says Attila Kecskeméti.

New product range

Magyar Piszke Papír Kft. has seen a strong growth in the boxed, shrink wrap free product range, as sales doubled if compared to the previous year’s performance. This seems to be an area that requires a lot of communication to attract consumers, but if the trial stage is reached, there is a very high proportion of returning customers who appreciate the environmentally friendly approach, alongside the excellent value for money and quality. The company was the first in the Hungarian market to launch boxed, shrink wrap free, high quality Crepto toilet paper in 2019, which was unique at a European level too. Since then two types of paper towels, facial tissues and napkins have come out in the same format.

This year the plan is to become more popular

Sales of Sofidel Hungary Kft.’s Regina brand have grown in value and volume alike if compared to the same period last year. Regina produced a volume sales jump of 20.2%, further strengthening its market position.

Gábor Vizur
category manager
Sofidel Hungary

“With existing products as well as new launches, particular attention is paid to sustainable and responsible production. We use pulp raw material from FSC® certified, responsible and controlled forestry”,

says Gábor Vizur, category manager of Sofidel Hungary Kft.

This year they want to increase market share in the light of consumer needs/habits and aim to make the Regina brand stronger and more popular among consumers. The most popular Regina products in the category are 2-roll kitchen towels, sales of which were up 36% in value and 11% in volume.



A competitive environment full of challenges

Attila Gerencsér
business unit manager

Attila Gerencsér, business unit manager of Carboferr Zrt. (they represent the RENOVA brand) calls attention to the fact that fluctuations in the cost and availability of raw materials such as wood pulp and recycled fibres can have a big influence on the profitability of household paper product manufacturers.

“Market saturation in some segments – such as toilet paper and paper towel – is strengthening competition, which leads to a price pressure”,

explains the business unit manager.

For years Renova has been committed to sustainable production and reducing packaging materials. In this spirit they have put a new product range on the market, called Love&Action, made from 80% recycled cardboard. Renova XXL, Design and Red Label coloured 1-roll kitchen towels are able to encourage impulse buying, as they are thematic – this year a new XXL edition will hit the shops before the UEFA 2024 football tournament.

Regional expansion

As a forest owner Metsa Group plants four saplings for every tree felled.

Gödri Sándor, Metsa

Sándor Gödri
sales director
Metsä Tissue HU

“Our group uses almost 100% of the felled trees in its production process. Metsa Tissue uses 100% recyclable shrink wrap for packaging its products and we are working towards using 66% recycled foil”,

informs Sándor Gödri, sales director of Metsa Tissue HU Kft.

The company’s goal is to strengthen their market position with the existing successful product range. In terms of expansion, they are focusing on the region, so that they don’t have to use too much fuel for transporting goods. Just like in the past, in-store marketing activities are prioritised, where the majority of shoppers can decide locally what to buy on-site.




The biggest challenge for the sector for 2024 is a significant increase of over 30% in raw material prices

Trend-setting innovations

Omar Balducci
sales manager

Lucart offers a wide range of solutions, including the “Texicell” exclusive Airlaid range, which uses air instead of water in the production process of pure cellulose fibres, giving products exceptional absorbency and strength even when wet.

Omar Balducci, sales director of Lucart Kft.:

“In 2023 our sales grew by around 24% compared to 2022, with outstanding growth in our most innovative product lines, for instance EcoNatural and IDENTITY. The demand for certified products is growing significantly. This is why it is important that our products are certified by official bodies such as Ecolabel, FSC or Cradle to Cradle”. //


Natural cleaning products

Consumer attention is turning towards detergents and cleaners with natural ingredients. Fragrance, skin- and eco-friendly composition, sustainable packaging, no animal testing and vegan credentials are among the main factors influencing purchases.

Consumers are increasingly turning their attention to natural ingredients

“Recycled packaging is now a basic consumer expectation. Souldrops is the first brand to package its entire product range in materials recycled from waste in a certified way. As our latest developments demonstrate, our aim is to create products that are as natural and environmentally friendly as possible. We have obtained the most important eco-certifications – PETA, Vegan and Green Brands – for both our Herbow and Souldrops products”,

explains Katalin István, marketing director of Herbow International Zrt.

This year they are launching Herbow cleaning products made with probiotic live flora. //

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