I’ve been covering this industry for more than 20 years now and writing this column for eight of ’em. And in all that time, I’ve never seen so many glum expressions and dour projections as I have in the past month or so. In early December, Happi attended two major tradeshows where attendance was spotty at best. What’s more, I came home with more than a few business cards of friends and acquaintances looking for work. No doubt about it, we live in scary times.Still, the new year is filled with new possibilities if you know where to look for them. That’s where Happi comes in. Times may be tough, but when you look around, there are plenty of new opportunities for business. One of the most exciting to come along in quite some time is the emergence of Sun Products, the detergent company that was formed by investment group Vestar Capital Partners last year when it purchased the U.S. detergent business of Unilever and combined it with its recently-acquired Huish detergent business. Sun enters the U.S. laundry market at a time when P&G dominates, but smaller companies such as Method and Seventh Generation are making plenty of noise with their own blends of environmentally-friendly products. Associate editor Christine Esposito looks at this mature but dynamic market this month.
Want another reason to be optimistic? How about vanity? Nobody, it seems, is willing to age gracefully and consumers, no matter what their socioeconomic background, will pony up money when it comes time to buy the latest anti-aging cream or serum. In fact, sales of prestige skin care products jumped 8% in the first half of 2008. But getting those anti-aging active ingredients to their intended site takes a bit of cosmetic chemistry wizardry, and that’s where skin care delivery systems come in. Read more about the latest trends in this important category on Happi.com this month.
Finally, fragrance impacts every segment of the household cleaning category. To learn more about what olfactory notes are hot right now, read The New Smell of Clean.
The start of the New Year may be a rough one, but the household and personal products industry is amazingly resilient. Be patient. Things will turn around in mid-2009.