Pouring Milk in a Fishbowl

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | November 25, 2009

If we can all agree that the recession is over, then the next point to ponder is, “How do we get growing again?” Two answers come quickly to mind: the anti-aging category and environmentally-friendly products. Both subjects are covered extensively in this and nearly every issue of Happi.

But in all my years of writing about household cleaning products, rarely do you hear reasonable arguments from either side of the green debate. The greenest of the greens would have you believe that using bleach is some sort of crime against nature, while the staunchest supporters of traditional chemistry argue until they’re blue in the face that the environmentalists have it all wrong, wrong, wrong. As everyone knows, effective discussion can’t begin until emotions are in check.

That’s why it was so refreshing to interview Eric Lehner, chief executive officer at Winning Brands, a small household cleaning product manufacturer in Barrie, Canada, for the household cleaning article in this issue. Like any CEO, Lehner touts the benefits of his company and its green formulations. At the same time, however, he’s quick to admit that every product, green or otherwise, has a negative impact on the environment. Or, as Lehner puts it, “If you pour a glass of milk into a fishbowl, the fish wouldn’t like it very much.”

Milk in a fishbowl. It’s catchy, but I’m not sure it has the legs to become a rallying cry for reasonable discussion in the green debate. Still, it’s a start.

Also, this month, Melissa Meisel looks at the latest launches in the multibillion dollar shampoo and conditioner market and Christine Esposito reports on some of newest ideas in active ingredients for skin care products.

Finally, to find out how OPI’s laser-focus on nail care has kept it growing despite the recession, read “A Polished Act,” which can be found on this site.

This issue marks the end of a difficult year for the global household and personal products industry. The good news is that nearly every supplier, marketer and analyst that we’ve talked to in recent weeks note that business is picking up and that there are reasons to be optimistic about 2010.

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