Consumers are now demanding products that have a greatly reduced impact on the environment.

Khalid Saifullah, Star Tissue

Star Tissue believes using products made from 100% recycled tissue is the optimum way of minimising environmental impact as it means less trees being filled, less waste going to landfill, no bamboo plantations and no disruption to wild life.

The company will be targeting green consumers with the launch of Bliss ecoroll, an eco-friendly toilet range.

Khalid Saifullah MBE DL, Star Tissue, tells Wholesale Manager how becoming more environmentally friendly is crucial to the company’s ethos and how Star Tissue has significantly invested in its manufacturing plant.

Can you tell us a bit about the company history?

Star Tissue UK has been established since 2003 and has grown year on year to become one of the leading independent manufacturers of hygiene paper products.

We offer both pure and recycled tissue ensuring all our tissue is of a very high standard and is sourced from tissue manufacturers who are registered with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Our recent investments in state of the art manufacturing technology enables us to enhance the quality of the paper, creating a stronger sheet with greater absorption capacity. Our latest production technology and commitment to continuous product innovation ensures that we produce superior products for the UK AFH market. Our latest investments in production facilities in the UK have enabled us to offer a wide range of very competitively priced quality products efficiently with short lead times and the flexibility to match the products to the needs of individual clients and sectors.

Star Tissue has featured in the 2016 London Stock Exchange list of 1000 most dynamic and fast growing companies and the 2017 London Stock Exchange list of 10000 companies to ‘inspire Europe’. Continuous investment in new production technology and systems enables us to operate efficiently ensuring we can meet the needs of our diverse range of customers. As you would expect this is supported by a reliable logistics function ensuring a flexible and prompt delivery.

Star Tissue is also accredited with ISO 9001, 14001 and ISO 45001. As a family owned business we are proud of our strong reputation in the industry for providing exceptional customer service and value for money, whilst adhering to the highest ethical and environmental standards. Having these three standards has set us apart from our competitors and enables us to manufacture consistently high quality products. The ISO 45001 accreditation has also helped create a safe and healthy working environment for all our staff. The ISO 14001 accreditation confirms our commitment to minimize environmental impact in our day-to-day operations.

What are the key products in your range that wholesalers should be stocking?

The key product that wholesalers should be stocking is our new kleenall 3 ply household towel. Packed in 1’s and 3’s this product is perfect for offices, hospitality businesses and households. With the current market heavily focused on hygiene and wellbeing using paper products is seen as a much viable option for cleaning tasks. Research shows a leading cause of cross contamination within the home is the cloth kitchen towel. The kleenall household towel locks in germs and dirt to eliminate the potential for cross-contamination especially in the COVID-19 situation we are currently facing.

How much is the paper products market worth? Is the market in growth? What is driving the growth?

The global tissue market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 7% over the next 5 years. The market is experiencing major growth within the hospitality sector due to the expanding utilization of paper products. Consumers are more aware of health and wellbeing and the use of tissue paper for numerous sanitation and cleaning purpose has vastly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are opting to use tissue products over cloth-based products because people are able to throw them away easily and minimise the risk of contamination around the house. One of the major trends across the market is the emergence of organic and biodegradable product variants to help reduce carbon footprints and save the environment.

What are the biggest emerging trends in the paper products market?

One of the biggest emerging trends ongoing in the paper industry is sustainability. Sustainability is crucial for leading businesses due to the increased public demand for more products that have little or no impact on the environment. Consumers are much more invested in the production process of the products they buy. They want to know where they come from, how is it sourced, how they’re packaged and the values of the company making them.

We believe the best way to minimise environmental impact is to purchase products that are made from 100% recycled tissue as this requires no trees to be chopped down, reduces landfill, no bamboo plantations, and no wild life disrupted. Also purchasing products that are tightly wound with more meters of paper on a roll is another great way to reduce the carbon footprint as this reduces the amount of packaging required, reduces deliveries and energy consumption.

We will be launching our eco-friendly toilet range in the near future called Bliss ecoroll and this will target the environmentally savvy consumer. Reducing our carbon footprint and becoming more environmentally friendly is at the centre of everything we do at Star Tissue. In 2022, we have implemented major steps to make our operation more sustainable such as installing a pallet automiser, a new waste extraction system, 80% of our forklift fleet being electric, installing car charging stations and ensuring all our plastic is 100% recycled.

What effect has Covid-19 had on the market?

The toilet roll situation during the early months of the pandemic was unforeseen. The challenge we faced was trying to keep up with the unprecedented increased demand this created for the first couple of months. The market has seen products like wipes and tissue paper products become more appealing with almost a quarter of kitchen roll buyers/users cleaning their house with kitchen roll rather than cloths to reduce and minimise the risk of contamination around the house. COVID-19 has brought out an interesting dilemma for consumers with many sustainability-focused consumers having to weigh up hygiene against sustainability. However, this is only a short-term trend and sustainability will continue to be a huge driver of the market in the future. I believe consumers will want convenient cleaning options but in a way that doesn’t harm the planet.

COVID-19 will have a lasting effect in terms of how people feel about hygiene in the home. Some of the buying behaviours shaped by the pandemic will remain in place for the foreseeable future however short-term trends will eventually die down.

The world is undergoing increasingly rapid, unpredictable, and unprecedented change. But across industries, most companies have remained persistently focused on near- and medium-term earnings, typically assuming ongoing smooth business conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic heralds the need for a new approach and Star Tissue have a strategy in place to withstand unpredictable threat or change to emerge stronger.

We believe that as a resilient organization we are able to maintain a strong business model that can adapt to significant shifts in customer demand, the competitive landscape, technological changes, and the regulatory terrain. Particularly during times of crisis such as COVID-19 and Brexit, we were able to adapt strategically to evolve our business.

What investment has Star Tissue made in its manufacturing plant in recent years?

Over the past 3 years we have made significant investments in increasing manufacturing capacity, industry 4.0 and IOT. Through using this valuable machine data, we are able to plan maintenance and production with minimal disruption. In 2020 we installed a new state of the art production line to compliment our current operation. This has allowed us to further develop the quality of our current products whilst introducing brand new iterations.

We also recognise that logistics play an integral part in ensuring customers receive a reliable and flexible delivery service. We have invested heavily in our warehouse operation with over 180,000sq ft of quality warehousing, with the capacity to hold over 14,000 pallets of finished goods ready for call off. We have also added a new service yard spanning over 2 acres to support 8 loading bays. This is to ensure that we can hold and load several lorries and vans at one time enabling goods to be loaded and dispatched more efficiently.

Star Tissue employees are at the forefront of our ambition to deliver the best possible quality and service to our customers. Our transformation means increased investment in training and equipment, including spending on new processes in order to make them safer and less laborious.

Our new state of the art pallet automiser will make our production operations 40% more effective and less laborious. By the end of 2022, our forklift fleet will be 80% electric bringing major benefits to our warehouse operation. Moving to electric forklifts will further reduce our carbon footprint and reduce work-based noise. We have also be installed a brand new waste extraction system that will extract waste paper straight from the production line into a recycled waste containment unit ensuring we recycle 100% of our waste.

What NPD do you have at this time?

As our company continues to grow, we are always looking for new product innovations to complement our current operations. As we invest in new technologies, this has enabled us to manufacture high-quality state of the art products to target brand new sectors. 2021 saw us launch 12 new consumer products expanding our Bliss range from 2 products to 10 with 4’s 9’s and 18’s available in 2ply & 3ply and different unique bespoke scents.

We also launched our brand-new multipurpose household towel. We have dedicated time and effort to the product development process to ensure kleenall meets the quality standards our customers recognise. After extensive testing and product research, we manufactured and created the revolutionary triple lock technology to give kleenall that extra strength and absorbency to lock in germs, dirt and water. Our unique embossing pattern equipped with 3 layers of ultra-strong absorbency will enable the customer to polish, shine, mop up and clean the toughest areas around the home. We are also looking to introduce Bliss ecoroll into the market which will be a 100% recycled product with compostable packaging.

What merchandising advice do you have for wholesalers to grow the paper products category?

Obviously, the wholesalers have more insight into this I would only say that they need to offer a clear choice to customers of all family sizes and a clear offer to those that are concerned with the environment. At present, there are many products being marketed as environmentally friendly but when put under the microscope are not. The customer needs a clear message based on facts.

We recommend identifying market trends and having a leading offer in that trend, and differentiating the offer to meet the values of the company.

How do you work with wholesalers to help them grow sales?

We provide wholesalers with the latest market insight and paper trends to make sure they have everything they need to make the correct decisions. We work with wholesalers and distributors to actively market our products through supplier weeks, magazines and many other methods to help grow our brand through our customers. We also provide all our customers with the relevant marketing materials needed to help push the products they’re selling online and offline.

 

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