Procter & Gamble Was Testing Opaque Detergent Pod Jars Before U.S. Launch

Since detergent pods hit the market back in 2012, authorities (and Consumerist) have been warning consumers to keep the products far, far away from children who might mistake them for candy. Procter & Gamble reports that incidents of young children poisoned by Tide’s detergent pods are way down. Public awareness probably helped, but putting them in jars that make them look less like candy has helped a lot more.

There have been about 14,000 cases of kids poisoned with laundry detergent since detergent pods hit the market last year, many of whom needed hospitalization. One fatality occurred earlier this year, a 7-month-old boy who died in Florida

Procter & Gamble’s Tide Pods currently have about 70% of the market here in the U.S. The white, orange, and blue swirled pods originally came in easy-to-open clear jars that looked like something out of an old-timey candy shop.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the original reason for the clear packaging was to show off the cool-looking pods, and show consumers how many came in each package. That makes sense, with a new product, but here’s the thing: similar problems came up with one of Procter & Gamble’s brands in Italy, because little kids everywhere are pretty much alike and enjoy sticking things in their mouths. At the same time Tide Pods hit the market in the U.S., the company was testing the new package in Italy. Why not introduce them here, too? The company “wanted to see whether opaque packages worked in Italy” first, says the WSJ. Did they? Evidently. Not before some more kids worldwide nommed on the pods, though.

Safety Experts Raise Concern Over Popular Laundry Packs [WSJ]
Tide’s New Pods Trying to Avoid the Candy Look [WSJ]

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  1. Kakolukia says:

    At a certain point you can only do so much to protect people from themselves and that goes both for adults who should know better and children who should have better adults watching over them. I have one of the clear plastic containers of pods that is running low and because P&G still has no better solution either they or my retailer aren’t stocking pods at all.

    At what point do we go back to the common sense policy of every time in history pre-1980’s or 90’s and say that it’s the parent’s responsibility not the manufacturer’s?

    • Unholy79 says:

      I don’t think we’ll ever go back to that sadly. Our society has gotten way too fat and happy on entitlement and being placated in defense of their own laziness and stupidity. I recently picked up a container of the tide pods, showed one of the colorful pods to my 7 year old and asked if he thought it was candy. He said ‘no, it smells like soap’ and promptly threw it at his sister’s head. There IS hope for the next generation I tell you.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        The kids eating these tend to be toddler-aged. The pods open up when they get wet, and 7-year-olds (generally) don’t go sticking everything they find in their mouths.