Lisbon, Portugal — The distinctive smell of new, flexible polyurethane could make it an unacceptable material in furniture. This warning was given to delegates at the EuroPUR meeting in mid-June by Kacper Krecioch, an engineering and quality leader at global furniture retailer Ikea.
"There is no doubt that foam is the best comfort material in the world," Krecioch said. "But when it comes to the smell, we are far, far away."
Krecioch noted that within the next 20-30 years, roughly half the world's population will live in Asia, and 65 percent of the world's middle class will be there. Historically, Western consumers have driven standards and definitions of quality, with performance and service life among the most important components. But, the growing population in Asia will drive a greater focus on safety and health aspects of a product.