Clean Excitement

January 3, 2007

Classic clean citrus notes make way for novel scents such as cinnamon spice, mountain fresh and honeysuckle rain in household products.

Clean Excitement

Classic clean citrus notes make way for novel scents such as cinnamon spice, mountain fresh and honeysuckle rain in household products.

LaToyah Burke
Associate Editor

Mint glass cleaner? Mountain Fresh floor cleaner? Cinnamon Apple dishwasher formula? Gone are the days when the odor of ammonia and pine filled the air. In their quest for a clean home, consumers don’t have to hold their noses or cringe at the thought of cleaning thanks to fragrance innovations in cleaning product formulas. Pleasant fragrance formulations have made their way into the products that clean, disinfect and deodorize homes. Today’s household products  include fresh scents as well as fruit blends and even exotic fragrances.

Household product fragrances have evolved to be functional with aromatherapy and odoriferous with essential oils and natural ingredients. Years ago, pine was the fragrance of choice for household cleaning products.

Later, citrus-based scents made their way into formulations. These types of fragrances became associated with the consumer’s perception of the scent of clean. Fast forward to present day cleaners that boast not only crisp scents, but also powerful cleansing properties and convenience in a bottle.

Fragrant Experiences

Now there’s increasing demand for exotic notes within the formulations of household products. According to Christopher Casale, perfumer of Alpine Aromatics, “The fragrance types have been straying from the traditional lemons and pines to more complex fragrances, in particular ozonic and fruity types.”
In the past, household product fragrances left the consumer with the same old cleaning experience
But he noted that these classic clean scents—lemon and pine—will always be associated with cleanliness. For example, Clorox’s Pine-Sol, S.C. Johnson’s Lemon Pledge and Procter and Gamble’s Lemon Joy are all known for their classic clean scents and all of them happen to incorporate the scent within the brand name.

Alan R. Hirsch M.D., director of the Smell &  Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, noted that odorant molecules are detected and recognized by olfactory receptors deep within the nose. Odor recognition involves the selection of odorants that trigger chain reactions within the brain. These triggers send messages to the olfactory bulb, the brain’s first processor of odor information. Memories of these triggers and processes form consumers perception of clean smells. But, with so many new choices, consumers can effectively rewire their perceptions of clean.

Dr. Hirsch noted that odors evoke more powerful reactions than the other senses. But no two people react in the same way. Perceptions of smell are based on many factors such as where we grew up and in what era.

“The newest trend is that odors are being used in a functional way,” explained Dr. Hirsch. “People want smells to enhance the experience in a room, green apple or cucumber for example will help to perceive the room as larger. Barbecued roasted meats will make an atrium seem smaller. The smell of vanilla will help sleep- deprived consumers to sleep better.”

Dr. Hirsch pointed out “comfortable feelings are triggered by olfactory sensors, which evoke nostalgia.” He noted that these triggers lie in products such as Vapor Rub and Play Doh which are nostalgic scents for consumers born between 1930 and 1980.

Certain scents can boost performance, mixed floral scents are known to improve learning. According to Dr. Hirsch, certain odors trigger vivid associations that are similar to a flashbulb memory.

Palmolive has just one aromatherapy offering, its lavender and ylang ylang dishwashing liquid advertises aromatherapy right on the bottle.

Renuzit Subtle Effects home fragrance mists deliver a clean smelling experience.
Aromatherapy, recently incorporated into the household cleansing experience via the air care category, has registered great gains. Dial’s Renuzit offers many options in the air care category. Renuzit Super Odor Neutralizer is available in Citrus Sunburst and Orchard Garden. Its newest Pure Breeze fragrance is very on-trend with consumers and contains a scent prevalent in the air freshener category.

Subtle natural scents inspired Dial to create Renuzit Subtle Effects line of air fresheners, which include: Cool Morning Air, Quiet Lavender Whisper, Gentle Citrus Orchard and Light Alpine Frost scents. The new line debuts nationally this month. According to IRI, Renuzit is No. 5 in the home air freshener category, with $59 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended
Nov. 5.

Airwick scented oils have scents designed to enhance mood, and include fragrances with lavender and chamomile for relaxation, eucalyptus for revitalization, amber and wild rose for harmonization and lotus flower and blue orchid for inspiration.

“Within the past year, I have seen more requests requiring the addition of essential oils. It is a trend that will continue to grow,” said Mr. Casale of Alpine Aromatics.
Consumers want to enhance the cleaning experience by utilizing products made from essential oils. This and many other topics will be discussed at the World Perfumery Congress in Cannes France, June 5th-9th 2007. The World Perfumery Congress brings the fragrance industry together every three years. The exhibition includes information on new raw materials and synthetics as well as new software and more.

Jean Pierre Subrenat, chairman WPC and president of Creative Concepts explained, “the household sector is an extremely important section of the World Perfumery Congress. Though not as glamorous as fine fragrance or perfume, the technical aspect of this industry is extremely complicated and a very important part of this business. Organic and natural ingredients are on the increase.”

According to Allison Yang, Procter & Gamble external relations household care, “through consumer research we’ve found that consumers are interested in multisensorial experiences that enhance their day. Essential oils have also been a way for us to incorporate familiar scents into our products.”

Domestic Care Gets Interesting

Consumers don’t just want to clean their homes, they want to enjoy the cleaning experience as well. This experience must be multi-functional, combined with a sense of ease. It must be holistic, appealing to the senses and end with the smell of clean. The use of various fragrances helps facilitate that experience.

According to the Kline Group, sales growth will continue to be driven by products that meet consumers’ expectations of efficacy, are multi-functional, offer ease of use and value and are perceived as safe. This growth could be enhanced by incorporating essential oils for scent and aromatherapy and naturals into existing household cleaner formulas that consumers expect to see in the household care aisle.

According to Cynthia Milgroom, vice president of marketing, Dial Corporation, “research shows that consumers use a variety of fragrances as a finishing touch to their cleaning routine.”

Consumers seem to be redefining what clean really is and what it may smell like. Cleansers aren’t just formulated with run of the mill citrus-based scent anymore. Now, household cleaning fragrance offerings include exotic blends, and even edible ingredient-inspired fragrances like pomegranate, kiwi or spice.

The Thymes home collection is offered in four distinct fragrances. Kumquat Lime contains essential oils and other natural ingredients.
For example, The Thymes, Minneapolis MN, makes household cleaning a pleasant experience with its blend of flower extracts, natural emollients and essential oils in fragrance variants that include apricot quince, kumquat lime, lavender bergamot and mandarin coriander.

The Thymes Home Collection includes hand lotion, hard-working hand cream, hand wash, home fragrance mist, dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleaner and an aromatic candle in the aforementioned scents. Each facet of the household collection of cleansers and personal products, from parsley, a proven odor neutralizer, to calming calendula flower, accomplishes its task while dispensing a pleasant fragrance.
Another way things have been shaking up in household product fragrance is the incorporation of natural ingredients. Orange oil is the most common type of natural oil used in household products. It has a combined advantage in that it provides extra cleaning power to typical cleansers as well as a clean scent. Although organic ingredients have not yet penetrated the market, industry insiders think there may be a place for them in the near future.

Procter and Gamble has considered this uncharted territory.  “It is essential that as we consider natural, organic and other ingredients that we continue to deliver first and foremost the same great cleaning power,” said P&G’s Ms. Yang.

In addition to burning candles and spraying an air freshener, consumers can enjoy an incredible scent experience when they do the laundry. Tide’s Simple Pleasures, a new detergent that incorporates naturally inspired scents, provides a unique scent experience with amazing cleaning power. As scent is increasingly becoming infused into people’s lives, consumers have an opportunity to surround themselves with the fragrances they love in the clothing they adore. The detergent is available in three distinct varieties: relaxing Vanilla and Lavender, refreshing Water Lily and Jasmine and romantic Rose and Violet.

“There is no question that certain scents have the power to inspire moods,” said Dr. Hirsch. “People can almost instantly derive pleasure from smelling distinct scents. Coupling those scents with a person’s favorite article of clothing will no doubt create an incredible scent experience.”

Fragrant candles and room fresheners have gained staying power and show that consumers are looking to incorporate scent into their lives in other ways.

According to Tony Brand, company spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, “consumers want to create an atmosphere in their home that makes them, their family and their guests feel welcome and at ease.”

Airwick products make this possible. Whether to create one consistent smell throughout the house or to adjust each scent according to the room it serves, Reckitt Benckiser’s Airwick includes a variety of scents and products that enrich and enliven aromatic experience.

Another interesting feature to the category are seasonal scents. Companies are offering warm scents usually associated with winter like Cascade’s cinnamon apple scented 2in1 ActionPacs combined with Dawn in a water-soluble pouch, to deliver clean. And Airwick’s Harvest Spice is also popular during the winter season. Finding the right scent to market nowadays requires research. At Procter & Gamble, a combination of polls, surveys and other market research techniques help to determine whether to introduce a new scent to an already established brand. For instance, a recent poll question on P&G’s website asks, what scent feels right for your kitchen? At press time 24% liked strawberry, 21% went with apple and the overwhelming choice at 40% was citrus. The rest opted for other.

Speaking of Organics

Though they have not yet made their way into household products, organics seem to be creating quite a buzz. With so much emphasis placed on naturals, it seems that organic ingredients are the next step in improving the household cleansing experience. Marketers say consumers have a desire to break away from synthetic materials.

Consumers are demanding household products that contain natural, plant-derived ingredients. Many consumers have already incorporated organics into some aspect of their life so a move into household products seems like a natural progression. However, suppliers worry that the cost outweighs the benefit.

According to Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing at Arylessence, a flavor and fragrance company, the opportunity for products to succeed in the natural/organic arena depends upon marketers ensuring that the platform is supported by a strategically designed natural fragrance or they risk missing the mark completely.

“Key fragrance trends will influence the selection for household products,” said Ms. Burns. “Even more true is today’s fine fragrance influence—fine fragrance trends trickle down to the household market, serving as a barometer for perfumers.”
Burns also noted that as more consumers adopt the “good for your body, good for your home” mentality, they  seek health and wellness positioned products that run the gamut of packaged goods categories. Social accountability has become an ingredient for potential backlash, as consumers want to know if the manufacturing process is detrimental to the environment.

Noticeably, manufacturers are highlighting their use of ingredients such as pomegranate, lemongrass or sage. This type of branding and labeling grabs the attention of would-be organic product consumers.

“The decision to purchase household products with a natural and/or organic position is a lifestyle for many consumers, said Ms. Burns. “For another group of consumers, they may choose to buy more natural products on a more occasional basis.”

Familiar dish detergents get updated with exciting new scents.

This depends on market leaders making natural and organic variants available. For instance, Dawn botanicals reportedly contains “essences of nature’s finest botanicals,” with its Refreshing Honeysuckle and Rain, Uplifting Lemongrass and Orange Blossom and Soothing Jasmine and Lavender offerings. Not only do these products clean dishes, they have the added benefit of being either refreshing, uplifting or soothing with the help of natural ingredients known for their aromatherapy use.

According to DialCorp.’s Ms. Milgroom, “as the demand rises for natural products, the prevalence of natural and organic ingredients will increase in everyday household products. We see this trend happening in specialty products in air care with components such as organic fragrance oils, environmentally-friendly packaging and formulas. This is an area of active development for Henkel and Dial.”

While food and herbs can be certified organic, the word “organic” on the label of dish or laundry detergent doesn’t mean much unless their ingredients were organically harvested. The Thymes has two collections, Fresh Basil and Ginger Milk that contain organic extracts. Naturally derived or plant-based formulas that are biodegradable and phosphate-free are, just about, the closest to organic consumers can get.
Enter Greenwood Naturals. This  three-product-line was created by volunteer parents at Greenwood School in California. The all-purpose cleaner, counter top spray and dish soap all contain lavender essential oils in conjunction with other naturally derived cleaning agents, according to the company. At $12.99, $6.99 and $7.99 respectively, the Greenwood Naturals line seems pricey, but sales benefit a tuition assistance fund.

Fragrance Without a Twist

Now that consumers have moved past the twist of lime, burst of pine and refreshing lemon scents, suppliers must make available a wider palette of scents for products. Norm Vanrees, president at Chemia Corporation, agreed that the household category has previously leaned toward citrusy oils. But with a wider palette at their disposal, suppliers can create an array of novel scents. “Fragrances, based on the 12 classifications, (floral, wood, oriental and fresh notes) are selected based on customer needs according to their application,” Mr. Vanrees said.

Mr. Vanrees notes that consumers tend to associate clean scents with light florals. “Clean scents are formulated with many different fragrance notes. An example of a clean scent may be a fresh cotton or linen type fragrance.”

Method cleaners are made from naturally-derived surfactants. Soothing aromas are the hallmark of Method’s  fragrance offerings. After polling friends, the makers of Method cleaning products realized that fragrance was a driving force among consumers.

According to Adam Lowry, Method co-founder, “there is no reason your bathroom cleaner fragrance can’t be as premium and high quality as the eau de toilette you wear everyday.”
Method targets “anyone who has tried green cleaning products and been disappointed, anyone who doesn’t want to sacrifice design to be green. Method delivers great performance combined with great fragrance and responsible design,” according to Mr. Lowry.

Method all purpose cleanser scents include pink grapefruit, French lavender and cucumber. The window wash comes in mint. Dish detergents are available in mint, lavendar, cucumber and mandarin.  Ylang ylang scented daily shower and eucalyptus mint tub and tile sprays are for the bathroom. In the air care category, Air Enhancer a neutralizer, Aroma Soy candles and Aroma Pill plug-in style diffusers come in an array of scents which include Vanilla Apple, Lavender Lemongrass, Sweet Water, Eucalyptus Mint, Freesia Blossom and Grapefruit Pear.

The strategy is indeed working. Method floor cleaner is No. 10 in the U.S., Method window cleaner and nonabrasive tub/tile cleaner are both No. 12, according to Information Resources, Inc.

The personal products sector has made viable products with 100% natural ingredients with some containing organic materials. Consumers now look for this combination in household products with fragrances that don’t come across as heavy and artifical and work in synergy with cleaning agents.