Move Over Trojans, Condoms Appeal to Crunchy Women

Female marketeers tap into socially conscious generation.

ByABC News
February 24, 2014, 5:33 PM

Feb. 27, 2014— -- Condoms may have macho names like Trojan and Magnum, but some women are now taking the reins, hoping to appeal to women by making more environmentally friendly condoms that purport to serve the greater good.

Conventional condom aisles "scream sex," said Meika Hollender. "They are bold, bright and male oriented."

So Hollender, 26, is poised to go a different route by marketing a sustainable brand of condoms in May.

"While women are buying condoms, they are not doing it very happily," she said. "Even though we are a big part of the market, we don't use them when having sex."

Sustain Condoms, made of latex described by the company as non-toxic and produced in a rubber plantation in India with fair-trade and fair-wage credentials, are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and carry the slogan, "Do what's natural."

Hollender is a graduate of New York University's Stern School of Business and her father and business partner, Jeffrey Hollender, 59, is the founder of the green products company Seventh Generation in Burlington, Vt.

Condoms, once hidden behind the counter, have now moved to the feminine product aisles, reflecting women's new interest.

"We know from talking to buyers at major retail stores and drug stores where condoms are sold that women are a significant part of the market," said Jeffrey Hollender.

"Part of the challenge we are facing is the huge discomfort women feel buying condoms," he said. "If a man buys them, he's having sex and he's cool. Women have a negative attitude."

The Hollenders said that women are looking for more natural products with less exposure to chemical additives. They want to be able to see the ingredients on condom labeling and decide for themselves. Some condoms can contain harsh additives such as glycerin, paraben and spermacides, which can irritate the vagina.

"We will list all the ingredients that go into the manufacturing of the product on our website," said Hollender.

Condoms made of natural latex are not wasteful, which is better for the environment, according to the Hollenders.

Many condoms today are made from synthetic materials because of concerns about allergies to latex.

Popular brands like Trojans are made out of a variety of synthetic and natural materials.

The company said in a statement to "The Trojan Brand takes rigorous steps and precautions to ensure that our users are getting the best quality condoms from a brand trusted over 90 years and their safety and pleasure is at the forefront of each of our innovations. It's important to note that the US FDA has strict rules about manufacturing standards for medical devices such as condoms. Trojan condoms have a decades-long history of safe use, and for many consumers are the best choice for prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections."

The Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of both latex and synthetic condoms to ensure ingredients are safe and the product is effective for both birth control and helping to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The Hollenders join other condom producers in the crunchy marketplace, catering to consumers who are willing to change their lifestyle to be green.

San Francisco-based L Condoms boasts that they are made of "sustainably-tapped latex ... vegan and not tested on animals ... low in protein and scent and packaged in recycled materials." They even have a one-hour delivery service and their condoms are delivered locally by bicycle in an unlabeled black box.