Invent Medic invests in growing feminine care products market
Invent Medic recently announced the purchase of the Malmö company FlowCup. Thus began an acquisition journey aimed at widening the range of products in menstrual health and at increasing sales. BioStock looks closer at the menstrual cup market to get an understanding of the venture’s potential.
Lund-based Invent Medic is entering a large market with the acquisition of FlowCup. The global market for hygiene products for women today stands at just over 20 billion USD. It consists mostly of disposable pads and tampons. However, more and more women are looking for alternatives that are more sustainable and kinder to the genital area.
One such option is the menstrual cup, a reusable silicone menstrual pad that does not dry out the mucous membranes.
Taboo made for a difficult market launch
The menstrual cup was created in the early 1900s with the American actress Leona W. Chalmers singled out as its inventor. There was no immediate success at first. One reason was the difficulty to reach out to the public with the new invention. Words like vagina and menstruation were banned in advertising, which made marketing difficult. Another aggravating factor was the rubber shortage that arose during World War II.
American company Tassette still tried to launch the product widely in the US. Despite a large marketing apparatus, the company had difficulty attracting women. At the time, they were not open to a menstrual pad that had to be emptied and then reused. The company failed to crack the code for the marketing and closed its business in the early 70s.
Heading for a breakthrough
However, it did not take many years before new attempts were made to take the concept to women around the world. Right now, the menstrual cup is about to have its real breakthrough, largely driven by the sustainable nature of the product in relation to other hygiene products. The market for menstrual cups in 2021 amounted to just under 900 MUSD and is expected to have grown to approximately 1.4 billion USD by 2029.
“The menstrual cup is often met with both great curiosity and sometimes even some skepticism by women. However, the fact is that about 90 per cent of our customers are so satisfied that disposable menstrual pads are forsaken for good. When customers actually tries the menstrual cup, they realise the great benefits both from a hygienic, economic and sustainability perspective,” says FlowCup founder Diana Lidforsen, now E-Commerce Manager at Invent Medic.
Increased environmental awareness is supporting the comeback
The sustainability aspect is an important part of Invent Medic’s investment in the area. A look at the statistics shows that, during her lifetime the average woman uses about 11,000 tampons or pads, equivalent to 150 kilograms of waste where 90 per cent consist of plastic. Large parts of this waste end up in landfills or in the sea and it can take over 450 years for them to decompose.
Awareness of the environment and the plastic problem has increased interest in finding alternatives to traditional feminine care products. In recent years, the menstrual cup has emerged as a good alternative, both from an environmental and economic perspective.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to discover a freer and more sustainable period with the help of the menstrual cup. The more people who choose menstrual cups instead of disposable protection, the greater the savings we get on the earth’s resources,” says Diana Lidforsen. She continues:
“As a further step in working the environmental aspect, FlowCup is trying to get as close to the concept of “Zero-Waste” as possible. Packaging and manuals often end up in the garbage, which is why FlowCup has chosen to completely exclude product packaging and offers your user manual digitally.”
Aiming for increased presence in Europe
Menstrual cups come in different designs, with the majority being bell-shaped and made of either latex or silicone. The market is relatively fragmented and among the major players internationally we find names such as Diva International, Anigan, YUUKI and Mooncup. In Sweden, however, we have other market leaders in the form of companies such as Lunette, Intimina and Allmatters.
For Invent Medic, FlowCup is currently represented in Sweden and across several European countries. Recently, the company’s proprietary menstrual cup was incorporated into the FlowCup family. The cup, which previously went by the name Efemia Menstrual Cup, has now been renamed to FlowCup Flex. FlowCup Flex has a slim design and a stick that can be customised in length. Because it is so flexible, one size fits most people. The ambition is to strengthen the brand and sales in the already established markets and at the same time expand to at least one new market in Europe.
Aiming for convenience and safety
In this context, it is worth mentioning that menstrual cups are not regulated in the EU in the same way as they are in the US, where they are classified as medical devices. Thus, there is no standard or follow-up regarding the safety of the cups in the EU. This is despite the fact that the product sits directly adjacent to the mucous membrane for longer periods.
Invent Medic’s strategy is to keep the user’s safety first and have chosen to meet safety requirements imposed on medical devices. Another important factor in the development is to create products that are easy to use, comfortable and flexible, while being safe from leaks. According to the company, this is, combined with the safety aspect, what makes the products that stand out from the crowd.
“The menstrual cups are made of soft, high-quality silicone without dyes to create a pleasant and safe experience. Since all women look different and have different needs, FlowCup’s models have been developed based on feedback from a large number of users and therefore meet most people’s wishes regarding design, feel and price,” says Diana Lidforsen.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.