Features

Innovation Despite Recession

March 3, 2009

Even in a global slowdown, this is no time to skimp on research and development efforts in the household care segment, say industry suppliers.

Innovation Despite Recession



Even in a global slowdown, this is no time to skimp on research and development efforts in the household care segment, say industry suppliers.



Tom Branna
Editorial Director



Despite the gloomy economic picture, R&D departments are bustling with activity in the laundry and household care categories. Suppliers continue to get requests for innovative solutions from formulators of finished products as they attempt to meet the growing demands of consumers around the world.
   
The global laundry care market stands at about $6 billion. But companies that once posted annual gains of 5% or more are reporting growth of 3% or less these days. Still, global household care product veterans are taking the tough times in stride.
   
“For those of us who have been through this before, you realize that life doesn’t end. But you do have to be flexible and innovative,” said David Del Guercio, Evonik’s household care business director for North America.
   
In fact, Evonik has projects in the works that will debut in the second half of 2009 and into 2010.
   
“The requests for innovation haven’t stopped,” said Mr. Del Guercio, who noted that Evonik continues to get requests for ways to reduce packaging and new technology to support the next generation of compaction.
   
Dow Chemical executives have also observed a slight slowdown in overall demand, especially in the institutional sector, as people travel less and eat out less frequently.
   
“Despite the world economic downturn, we will continue to innovate and to offer a wide range of ingredients, technologies and innovative products to help our brand owners keep up with consumer expectations in performance, convenience and personal and environmental wellness,” explained Carlos Silva Lopes, global marketing director, Dow Fabric & Surface Care.
   
Following up on last year’s launch of the Ecosurf SA line of biodegradable surfactants, Dow Chemical has launch-ed Ecosurf EH Specialty Surfactants, a new line of surfactants that is not only are readily biodegradable but can also meet the criteria for the U.S. EPA “Design for Environment (DfE)” screen for surfactants. According to Dow Chemical, these surfactants provide excellent performance in the removal of greasy soils and crosslinked baked-on soils, have low odor to enhance fragrance impact, narrow gel ranges for concentrated formulations, and low foam profile for easy rinsing.
   
Rhodia’s response to the downturn has been to launch R&D programs to design cost-effective formulations that respond to customers’ needs for less expensive formulations. Formulations that use Rhodia’s high-performance additives can optimize cost, giving consumers the benefits they want at the right price, according to Sébastien Méric, global vice president, home and personal care, Rhodia Novecare.
   
“Our customers are consistent in their request for ingredients that do more for less and we are determined to meet their needs,” he explained.
   
Most observers agree that there is some tier-shifting taking place in the household cleaner category as cash-strapped consumers trade down when purchasing home care staples.
    
“Consumers are more price sensitive than before,” said Mr. Lopes. “To help our brand owners to stay ahead of the downturn, we continue to develop innovative technologies/solutions while staying very close to the markets such that we can anticipate changes well in advance, make accurate forecast on our brand owners’ order patterns and to ensure our key raw material offerings remain available.”

A Natural Step for Cognis



Decades ago, Cognis was one of the first suppliers to embrace the natural movement with the launch of its alkyl polyglycoside surfactants. Over the years, the company has created a cadre of ingredients to help household and personal care companies create natural detergents, hard surface cleaners and cosmetics. Now, Cognis executives say that they are taking green formulations to the next level with the introduction of its Green Formulation Grid to help chemists create green and effective products (see Happi, November 2008).
   
“We’ve lifted the green conversation to the next level,” explained Josef Koster, director of marketing, Care Chemicals North America, Cognis. “It started with raw material sourcing, but now we’re explaining how our products provide superior performance to overcome the misconception in the industry that green ingredients don’t work as well as traditional materials.”
   
Although Cognis offers a broad array of green ingredients for the global household and personal care industry, company executives admit that, at the current time, Cognis does not offer natural solutions for every formulation need. For example, the industrial and institutional (I&I) cleaning market still needs a natural surface modifier, while over on the personal care side of the ledger, there is no truly green UV filter, noted Rita Köster, director of global marketing, home care and I&I, Cognis.
   
“We know that right now, some things currently are not possible,” she said. “We’re very transparent and honest about these gaps, and we’re working to close them.”
   
But one solution that has already been accepted by formulators is Plantasil Micro (INCI: Dicaprylyl ether [and] decyl glucoside [and] glyceryl oleate), a transparent microemulsion which provides improved hair conditioning performance to shampoos.
   
“Plantasil Micro mimics the conditioning benefits that silicones impart to hair care formulas,” explained Ms. Köster.
   
Since announcing its 2015 Sustain- ability Goals in 2006, Dow Chemical has made a lot of progress in areas such as health and safety, sustainable chemistry, innovation, energy efficiency, according to Mr. Lopes. “Customers, brand owners and industry partners are supportive and happy to know that we are committed to sustainability.”
   
For cleaning applications, Dow Chemical has developed surfactants, solvents, foam control agents, emulsifiers, polymers, formulation technology and services that offer low VOC, low odor, are biodegradable, have low foam for easy rinsing, use less water and energy, and meet eco-label requirements. 
   
“Our biodegradable surfactants and chelants not only offer excellent performance in soil and grease removal but also enable concentrated formulations for reduced packaging,” said Mr. Lopes.

Product Launches at Croda



Kevin Gallagher, president, Croda Inc, noted 2008 was another good year for home care innovation at Croda with the launch of Cirrasol ST, a patented softening additive for liquid laundry detergents. Cirrasol ST offers softening through the wash without affecting detergency and does not result in graying of the fabric. Croda also launched NatSurf 265, a naturally-based nonionic surfactant for hard surface cleaning products. NatSurf 265 offers some unique cleaning benefits such as low smearing. The NatSurf 265 was recently approved by DfE and is now listed on the cleangredients website.
   
With core competencies in formulations, surface treatment, active delivery and rheology, Rhodia researchers can develop high-efficiency mild surfactants, soil release polymers and other products, enabling customers to create more concentrated end-products. Rho- dia’s portfolio also incorporates renewable raw materials, such as guar, and includes products that are sustainable and eco-friendly based on biodegradability, natural-bases and APE-free polymers and surfactants.
   
Rhodia has also launched the Rhodiasolv range of non-toxic and eco-friendly solvents that are used for many applications including industrial cleaning and textile cleaning.
   
“Thanks to their very good profile and properties—low VOC, readily biode-gradable and non-flammable—they offer high performance and environmentally-friendly solutions,” explained Mr. Méric. “We are working to adapt this eco-friendly solvent range to home care and fabric applications.”
   
Beyond product formulations, Rhodia is committed to sustainable development through the company’s Rhodia Way framework, instilling and integrating a sustainable approach in processes and throughout product life cycles. It includes R&D/innovation, manufacturing and delivery steps to customer process and consumer use.
   
Croda recently launched a home care green guide which highlights more than 150 green chemistries that Croda currently offers into numerous home care applications. According to the company, 70% of its products globally are based on natural raw materials and a few are also produced from third party certified sustainable sources such as the Crodamazon oils sourced from the Brazilian rainforest. 
   
“That figure will rise as we continue to act responsibly toward the environment and continue to deliver green, and equally as important, performance-focused products,” observed Mr. Gallagher.

A Surge in Demand for Enzymes



For an industry that considers good growth to be 5-6%, Novozymes’ success stands out. For the past two years, the enzyme producer has been posting double-digit gains, as formulators search for effective sustainable ingredients.
   
“Enzymes were always known for their stain removing capabilities, but now they’re considered a base ingredient to deliver detergency,” explained Anders Lund, senior marketing director, Novozymes. “Customers like the fact that enzymes are sustainable, readily degradable and are produced from renewable sources.”
   
Reliable prices, too, have been a boon for enzymes.
   
“When oil prices reached to $150 a barrel, the cost of many other raw materials skyrocketed,” recalled Mr. Lund. “Enzyme prices, on the other hand, are stable. Our customers were not so exposed to the volatile raw material prices.”
   
At the same time, Novozymes offers a wide range of enzymes including proteases, amylases, lipases, mannases and cellulases.
   
“Our competitors may offer protease and amylase, but they don’t have the same breadth as we do,” insisted Mr. Lund.
   
Novozymes’ product line will expand later this year, when the company introduces new lipases with better performance profiles that enable formulators to reduce surfactant levels in their formulas, according to Mr. Lund.
   
“Technically, on average, about 15-25% of surfactants can be replaced with enzymes,” said Mr. Lund.
   

What McIntyre Means to Rhodia



With its acquisition of McIntyre expected to close this month, Mr. Méric said the move complements and strengthens Rhodia’s positions in specialty surfactants, formulated blends and polymers for home and personal care.
   
“For example, our current portfolio of polymers and surfactants will be enhanced by McIntyre’s extensive range of amine oxides, amphoterics and blends, which will further improve high-performance benefits in easy-to-use, long-lasting cleaning formulations,” explained Mr. Méric. “The McIntyre acquisition will also complete our vegetable-derived formulations, combining performance and environmental protection.”

What’s Ahead?



With 2009 nearly 25% over, most marketers are going ahead with new product launches planned for the year. But if the recession lingers, what will happen in 2010? No one, it seems, is willing to hazard a guess—other than to say their R&D labs will be buzzing with activity.
   
“We’re not cutting our R&D budgets,” insisted Mr. Del Guercio. “There’s been no change in the customer’s request for innovation and that means that here is no shortage of opportunities.”
  • Fit for Fitness

    Fit for Fitness

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 21, 2017
    Kinx Active is a new brand targeting women who want beauty products that can stand up to their fitness routines.

  • Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 13, 2017
    Cargo Cosmetics has rolled out its new Spring/Summer collection with Hawiianan singer Anuhea.

  • Cashing In on Coconuts

    Cashing In on Coconuts

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||February 6, 2017
    Organic to Green is making waves for its new oils and eco-friendly packaging.

  • Trade Association Directory 2017

    February 2, 2017
    Contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in Happi.

  • What the Halal  Is Going On?

    What the Halal Is Going On?

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||February 2, 2017
    Demand for these beauty products is surging thanks to a fastgrowing Muslim population.

  • Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Guadalupe Pellon and Annette Mehling , BASF||February 2, 2017
    BASF researchers detail the attributes of the company’s highly effective hair care system focusing on scalp sensitivity.

  • What’s in Style?

    What’s in Style?

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    The latest sprays, gels, mousses, serums and creams for hair are filled with luxury components and meet a variety of needs

  • Defining Clean Skin

    Defining Clean Skin

    Nava Dayan PhD, Dr. Nava Dayan LLC||February 1, 2017
    A look at the issues, research and history surrounding this controversial topic.

  • Linked In

    Linked In

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    Through virtual reality, apps and connected devices, beauty and personal care brands can strengthen their customer relations

  • Hitting the Right Notes

    Hitting the Right Notes

    January 6, 2017
    Agilex Fragrances is the leader in the middle market fragrance category.

  • The Smell of Clean in 2017

    The Smell of Clean in 2017

    January 6, 2017
    Changing consumer lifestyles and demographics are impacting the scents found in the household cleaning category.

  • On the Edge

    On the Edge

    January 6, 2017
    Expanding beauty brands to watch in 2017

  • A New Contender?

    A New Contender?

    January 6, 2017
    Detergent sales are up, innovation continues and Henkel is determined to make it a dogfight in the segment.

  • Engagement 2016

    Engagement 2016

    January 6, 2017
    CSPA convenes in Fort Lauderdale for annual meeting.

  • Slow & Steady

    Slow & Steady

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    In a tumultuous environment, steady gains posted in the industrial and institutional cleaning sector are welcomed.

  • The World Comes to Orlando

    The World Comes to Orlando

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    More than 1,600 chemists traveled to Florida for the IFSCC Congress

  • The Plex Phenomenon

    The Plex Phenomenon

    Denise Costrini, Croda North America||December 1, 2016
    Croda details the hair-protecting qualities of bond multipliers and the company’s new bond-building formulation system.

  • New Hair Care Ingredients

    December 1, 2016
    Check out the latest releases from suppliers.

  • Hair & Now

    Hair & Now

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor ||December 1, 2016
    The shampoo and conditioner category is expanding with modern takes on these classic formulations.

  • Perform or Perish

    Perform or Perish

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 1, 2016
    Success in today’s skin care sector begins with active ingredients, formulated in products that address modern-day issues.

  • Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Daniel Greenberg, Agilex Fragrances||November 2, 2016
    Fragrance disclosure is a potentially dangerous issue.

  • New and Noteworthy:  Fine Fragrance Roundup  for Fall 2016

    New and Noteworthy: Fine Fragrance Roundup for Fall 2016

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Check out the latest launches in fragrance this season.

  • Soap Opera

    Soap Opera

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    FDA’s recent antibacterial ruling has soap sector stakeholders scrambling to keep some ingredients in their formulation kit.

  • New Ingredients for  Household Cleaners

    New Ingredients for Household Cleaners

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    Here are ingredients introduced by suppliers during the past 12 months.

  • Clean It Up

    Clean It Up

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    The home care industry takes a hard look at itself and the changing world it competes in.

  • A-Okay!

    A-Okay!

    Imogen Matthews, For In-Cosmetics||November 2, 2016
    K-Beauty influences cosmetic development around the world.

  • Shine On

    Shine On

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Oral care products are rising to the task with innovative components.

  • Next Gen  Antiseptics

    Next Gen Antiseptics

    Emily Kalal and Katherine S. Maka, RITA Corporation||November 2, 2016
    RITA researchers detail the benefits of 0.75% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antiseptic handwash