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Unilever airs plans to introduce laundry detergent in tablet form

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — Unilever announced Wednesday it will introduce a new tablet form of Wisk to the U.S. market.

The announcement comes a day after industry rival Procter & Gamble Co. of Cincinnati said it would reintroduce the first tablet laundry detergent in the United States since 1978, when P&G discontinued Salvo.

Wisk Dual Action Laundry Tablets will be marketed in the United States in the fall by the European company's Greenwich-based Unilever Home & Personal Care division.

Unilever's Persil Tablets introduced in Europe in 1998 were the first quickly dissolving tablets, the company said. P&G introduced a tablet laundry detergent in the United Kingdom under the Ariel brand about a year ago.

The new tablets by both companies are designed so that they dissolve immediately in the washer. The P&G Tide Tablet has a special coating.

P&G was the first to market a tablet laundry detergent. Salvo was discontinued in 1978 partly because the tablets didn't always dissolve.

In the United Kingdom, tablets account for about 10 percent of the $1.5 billion annual laundry detergent market. The annual U.S. market for laundry detergents is $6 billion.