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Besides Latex or Memory foam, what can be used to make a Natural or Organic bed? 06 Apr 2012 00:00 #1

Hello, I am a small mattress manufactor and I am looking for a new core for my mattresses. I already have the variety of latex, memory foam, and springs bed. Personally, the new soy based foams contain polyurethane and are not truly a natural foam. Any thoughts on what the future may bring besides latex, memory foam, and springs?

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Re: Besides Latex or Memory foam, what can be used to make a Natural or Organic bed? 06 Apr 2012 02:17 #2

Hi Bond,

The basic choices for different support cores as you likely know boils down to innersprings, polyfoam, latex, water, or air with a few other less common options such as coir or other more "exotic" materials. In addition to this if you are going in the direction of a more futon like mattress then wool and cotton as a support core are also options.

In the comfort layers ... latex, memory foam, polyfoam, natural and synthetic fibers, microcoils, and various types of gel (gel memory foam, buckling column gel, and "pure" gels) are the most common options.

As you mention, the soy based (or any of the other plant based foams) are just polyfoam with some of the petrochemical polyols replaced with plant based polyols. While they are a step in the right direction (away from petrochemicals), they have a long way to go before they can be truly labelled even green and will never really be natural. At best they may be "artificial" meaning in between natural and synthetic much like bamboo and other regenerated cellulose fibers (like rayon) but the polyols are only about 2/3 or so of the contents of polyfoam (with isocyanates being the other main ingredient) and there will likely always be a whole soup of other chemicals added to it as well. They are just one of many versions of polyurethane foam.

As far as trends in the industry ... I think the current biggest trend is gel infused foams as everyone tries to emulate the success of Serta with the iComfort. This is basically a "me too" movement though and while gel foams are probably a legitimate emerging category of foam ... they are somewhat overblown and the claims about them are exaggerated at the moment IMO.

I think that two other clear trends are hybrid foams (mixtures of different types of foam in a single material) and various forms of foam fabrication to create various different feels and properties such as zoning. There is also a lot of interest in different ticking and in various temperature regulating materials either added in foam or in ticking materials. I also think that mattresses with zip covers and replaceable components are a growing trend as consumers start to learn that the choices that have been forced on them are not the only ones available and that the ability to see what's inside their mattress is not such a bad one.

Overall though ... I'm a big fan of simplicity, quality, and value and the drive for something different just for it's own sake in an effort to claim that a manufacturer has something proprietary is part of what is wrong with a lot of the industry IMO. More than anything ... I personally hope to see the re-emergence of high quality local manufacturers who reclaim a much higher market share of the north American market. It's about time that good information and transparency about the materials that are already part of the industry and real quality, value, and service becomes a bigger part of the industry rather than the constant drive for "something new" that is rarely better than what already exists and is used more to confuse consumers than to educate them about a better mattress.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.
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