By Sarah Hossain
The Cotton Research & Promotion Program, funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers and conducted by Cotton Incorporated, continues to be one of the most successful commodity programs in U.S. agricultural history. The program now has gone one step further with the recent development of a new home fabric finish that will help ensure cotton remains the first choice among consumers.
According to a recent study by Lifestyle Monitor™, an on-going consumer telephone survey created by Cotton Incorporated, 75 percent of consumers rate durability as an important purchase factor.
Cotton Incorporated has responded to this determination by creating endure™, a new finish for home textiles that will in-crease durability and wear-life of sheets. The name endure™ was chosen because it conveys the positive attributes of an improved cotton product.
“Consumers have always had a strong emotional connection with cotton’s more important attribute; comfort,” said Mark Messura, vice president of Strategic Planning for Cotton Incorporated.
In-house testing at Cotton Incorporated shows the endure™ finish will last on sheets for more than 50 laundry cycles. The finish also helps sheets stay wrinkle free, maintain their color and reduce the amount of shrinkage. It achieves all of this without sacrificing any of the soft hand, easy care, or comfort associated with cotton sheets. It also allows sheets and bedding to maintain their shape and size over time.
David Earley, manager of textile market development for Cotton Incorporated, said endure™ was inspired by a similar finish technology developed for apparel called Tough Cotton™.
After seeing the success of Tough Cotton™ in the apparel market, Cotton Incorporated wanted to test its application in the home textile market.
The process is designed especially for home textiles, although Earley said that with further research and developments it could be adapted for upholstery and decorative fabrics.
Earley said that because cotton is not as durable as heavy-duty nylon or polyester, endure™ would help cotton get into those markets by extending the wear-life and making it more resistant to abrasions. This allows sheets to maintain their original color longer.
The new finish will not only benefit consumers, but also the cotton industry. According to Earley, manufacturers and retailers have inquired about selling points for sheets that go beyond thread count. He said endure™ is definitely a viable option for this.
Because of its abilities, endure™ will increase consumer demand and satisfaction with cotton products. With this satisfaction, consumers will continue to demand cotton.
Cotton Incorporated will be offering a variety of promotional tools to help manufacturers sell to retailers and to help retailers educate consumers on the benefits of products featuring this innovation. The marketing package is expected to further increase the demand for cotton apparel and home textiles.
“Nothing lasts forever,” Earley said. “But in our disposable society, some things can last longer.”