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Consumers demand change in wool product qualities
May '10
As per NSW independent wool expert, Paul Swan, the Merino industry can only remain economically sound in Australia, if the wool farmers, processors and marketers aim on producing a regular product.

While addressing the audience at the 8th World Merino Conference in France, Swan averred that, for the expansion of market, focus and efforts should be put on lightweight, next-to-skin knitwear and luxurious fibres. In addition, the Merino quality of wool should also reflect the necessities of purchasers and producers of these goods.

In 2008, the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) conducted a survey, asking nearly 22,000 customers on how rated wool, when placed in the categories such as luxury product, lifestyle fit, natural class and next-to-skin comfort.

Swan explains that, as per customers, wool fabric was less comfortable than average. This indicated that, the common negative linkage of wool, with next-to-skin comfort and lifestyle fit, outnumbered its comparatively good performance, in its natural and luxurious quality-based products.

But with customers turning to green or eco-friendly clothing, Swan said there were certain benefits with this changing customer demands.

Currently, the challenge for Merino wool producers worldwide is to develop and create merino wool products, which consumers find comfortable on the basis of its natural and luxurious qualities, said Swan.

According to Swan, certain vital fibre quality dimensions that, farmers and their representatives should think about, was the consistent demand for finer fibres and the choice for qualities in wool, which reduced breakage of yarn at processing, including increasing staple strength, lower coefficient in variations of fibre diameter and lower levels of mid-breaks.

However, Merino wool's future feasibility, while competing with other sources of productions such as meat and cropping, was dependent on the industry's capacity to raise the prices of wool. He said that, farmers will not invest in Merino wool unless, they are sure of earning revenue out of it.

As of now, Australia is the biggest Merino wool manufacturing country the world-over and the average price to manufacture a kilogram of clean fibre is in the range of US $5-7, motivated by increased cost of labour as compared to other wool producing countries.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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