An 85,000-square-foot expansion at Procter & Gamble’s Tambrands production facility on Hotel Road in Auburn, is underway April 21 at an estimated construction cost of just over $116 million. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

AUBURN — It is one of the great shortages of 2022 — tampons.

And while relatively few people are actually talking about it, women in search of tampons are growing increasingly frustrated.

Out on Hotel Road, the parking lot is full and the machinery inside the massive Tambrands plant is humming, trying to chip away at a shortage that has been months in the making.

Parent company Procter & Gamble partially blamed the shortage on an ad campaign featuring comedian Amy Schumer. In a June 7 article, Time magazine quotes P&G spokeswoman Cheri McMaster as saying that following the campaign that launched in July 2020 — starring Schumer — “retail sales growth has exploded,” adding that demand for Tampax products is up 7.7% over the last two years. But that doesn’t explain why other brands of tampons are also in short supply, the article asserts.

Time reported that “P&G posted its biggest sales gain in decades in the most recent quarter, and the amount of money it made from sales in its feminine care division was up 10%.”

Time also reported that P&G said in its most recent earnings call that it was “still having trouble sourcing raw materials for feminine care products, getting them to the places that need them, and getting products on trucks to retailers.”


The Tambrands plant in Auburn is P&G’s only tampon production facility in the United States and supplies the product to Canada, Europe and Asia as well. P&G is among the biggest makers and supplier of tampons, cranking out between 9 million to 11 million tampons a day at the Hotel Road facility alone.

Procter & Gamble’s Tambrands plant on Hotel Road in Auburn is seen in April 2021. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

Tampon production is a multibillion-dollar business. The Tambrands plant is currently undergoing a $116 million expansion to add 85,000 square feet, pushing the building’s total to more than 600,000 square feet. With roughly 400 workers (contractors included) already, the company just held another job fair in May. Starting pay is in the $25 an hour range, but unemployment in Androscoggin County hit 2.9% last month.

P&G told Time and NBC News that the plant here is working 24/7 — something the Sun Journal could not confirm, as questions submitted to P&G about its current production have gone unanswered.

Tampax tampons are out of stock in many stores, but just like the baby formula shortage, consumers are finding ways around the empty shelves. Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Amazon have varying ship dates, depending on the product. Prices are up about 10% according to the manufacturers, attributed to the increased cost of raw materials, packaging and shipping.

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