Fresher, Cleaner, Longer, Stronger

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | January 5, 2010

Household cleaners are counting on novel fragrances with staying power to drive sales.

A consumer approaches the vast array of household cleaningproducts on the store shelves. After considering brand name, function and price point, scent most likely is the next step in finalizing the purchase. He or she may think, “Shall I try the new lavender fragrance to clean my dishes or stick with the fresh scent?” or “Do I want to wipe my counters down with a classic citrus spray or try a tea tree oil variation?”

Despite the latest cleaning creation from the Febreze stable and other innovative debuts in the marketplace, total sales in the household cleaner category fell 2.7% to $1.5 billion for the year ended Nov. 1, 2009 in supermarkets, drugstores and mass-market retailers excluding Walmart, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), a Chicago, IL-based market research firm. This includes all purpose cleaner/disinfectants, which dropped 4.9% to $393.7 million; glass cleaner/ammonia, which slipped 7.9% to $145.4 million and nonabrasive tub/tile cleaner, which dipped 7.5% to $235.2 million.

However, spray disinfectant sales rose 7.6% to $110.9 million (surely with the assistance of the global H1N1 epidemic), while toilet bowl cleaner/deodorizer sales increased 2.3% to $250.4 million within the category.

Sales of laundry detergent were also on the upswing, with a 2.6% jump to $3.72 billion. For a closer look at the laundry detergent category, be sure to read Ebb Tide? on Happi.com.
Original fresh from Gain.
“In general, scent trends overall in home care products are more focused on simple, easy to understand scents,” noted Lynn Dornblaser, new products expert, Mintel, Chicago, IL. “These are often ones that are single component scents or two-component scents like lavender or citrus. They can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort to consumers. That’s important these days, as consumers are going to be less willing in a recession to make a mistake with the products they buy.”

According to Debbie Nencheck, vice president, marketing, fragrances, Takasago International Corp. USA, Rockleigh, NJ, household cleaners are increasingly influenced by the home fragrance/air care market—which is anything but simple.

“Consumers are exposed to an ever-growing selection of fragrances for the home from a variety of retail outlets from the supermarket to dedicated retail,” she said. “This vast array of choices has influenced consumer desires and leads to the rising expectation for impactful and sophisticated fragrances.”

The Nose Knows…

So, just what is it about fragrance that entices the consumer?

According to Joseph Lattarulo, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Robertet Fragrances, Oakland, NJ,“What draws today’s consumers to a household cleaning product is that consumers are making cleaning more of a lifestyle choice instead of a chore. They don’t just want to clean their homes, they want to enjoy the experience. More then ever before, consumers are using fragrances as a finishing touch to their cleaning routine.” He added that packaging, color and scent as well as delivery systems have become the focus in today’s top household cleaning products.

Jack Corley, executive vice president and director of sales and marketing, Trilogy Fragrances Inc., Lakewood, NJ, told Happi the right household cleaning product scent connotes “functionality, safety, hygiene and comfort. ” This year, progressive, green and sustainable features also are a must, he added.

Febreze with Gain Apple Mango Tango.
“Historically, citrus-based fragrances have had the greatest appeal, as they often contain functional cleaning attributes (terpenes, such as d-limonene) and most consumers associate the hedonics of citrus oils like lemon and orange as pleasant,” Corley said. “In recent years we have seen bold olfactive moves influenced by the designer fragrance trend including essential oil-inspired scents such as lavender or eucalyptus, which convey sustainability.”

Trilogy Fragrances recently introduced GreenScents, a “100% natural” fragrance line correlating with the Natural Product Association’s (NPA) new natural standard for home care products. This month, Trilogy will unveil another green fragrance line called CleanScents, also coordinating with the standard. They consist of a variety of “citrus, floral, earthy and aromatherapeutic fragrance blends that will appeal to the cleaning product’s marketing message,” said Corley.

Another fragrance supplier, CPL Aromas, also recently tapped into the green trend. Its latest development is EcoBoost, a method of developing fragrances for various applications that reduces the need for labeling, according to Angela Stavrevska, marketing and trends manager, CPL Aromas, UK.

Stavrevska told Happi that due to the functionality of cleaning products, fragrance has been traditionally seen as secondary to product efficacy and price. But today, brand managers understand the importance of fragrance for a number of reasons.

“Fragrance makes the cleaning process more enjoyable for consumers and therefore gain their loyalty; counteracts odors and, especially with encapsulation now widely used in laundry products, helps consumers’homes and fabrics appear fresher and cleaner for longer,” she said.

A successful fragrance helps to reinforce that expectations are met—hard surface cleaners need to smell clean; fabric softeners need to smell soft, noted Karen Mack, fragrance evaluator and principal scientist, applied technology, Arylessence, Atlanta, GA.

“The fragrance that best fits the product concept—either marketing position or efficacy—will attract the consumer to choose one product over the other,” she said.

Mack notes that in 2009 there were numerous launches of fragranced products with added deodorization.

“The idea of getting something ‘extra’ has long driven consumers to purchase the product that gives them more value for their money,” she said. For example, Arylessence recently provided the fragrance for an odor control product designed to eliminate malodors in the dishwasher and garbage disposal, an area that had oftenbeen ignored in the past.

New and Noteworthy

One of the categories classically known for its novel fragrances is laundry care. After all, who wouldn’t want garments constantly smelling fresh and clean in the latest alluring scent?

According to Silvia Tavera-Leal, research and development section manager, laundry detergents, North America, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, once consumers enjoy a laundry product’s fragrance, they want this scent to be present across all their laundry care—not only “allowing them to enjoy their preferred scent throughout the task, but giving them confidence that they will not mix non-compatible fragrances, yielding an undesirable scent result.”

Florals continue to grow in household cleaning product categories and especially in laundry care, she told Happi. Why? This fragrance category gives consumers an array of options from “fun, whimsical and bright fragrances to traditional and nostalgic scents,” according to Tavera-Leal.

“This is a very youthful and fun trend that serves to bring joy in small doses to day-to-day experiences, yet it has the power to attract the Baby Boomers as well, with old favorite fragrances becoming new again, found in new, unexpected product categories,” she said, pointing to Gain’s new Spring Lavender scent as an example. The fragrance is available both in laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets and immediately became a “consumer favorite” in the category.

P&G also recently released Febreeze Fabric Refresher with the scent of Gain or Downy. According to the company, the fine mist formula provides a longer-lasting freshness and even application that penetrates evenly in the air and on fabrics for up to two days—as if you laundered them.

Fields Organics’ multi-pack.
Cleaning products such as counter wipes or kitchen sprays also benefit from the power of fragrance. According to Sylwia Aldrin, research and development director, Weiman Products, LLC, Gurnee, IL, scent is a powerful indicator of how consumers define“clean.”

“One consumer may believe a clean bathroom smells of bleach, while another may believe that a clean bathroom is absent from any fragrance at all,” she said. “Scent is a very personal choice and consumers choose products based on how ‘clean’ smells to them.”

Many Weiman products are formulated with citrus and floral scents that bring a fresh, natural element to cleaning, noted Aldrin. For example, Weiman Leather Wipes feature a lemon scent, while Weiman Granite Cleaner & Polish contains notes of apple and pear.

Jerry Caiazzo Jr., director of perfumery, Alpine Aromatics Inc., Piscataway, NJ, agreed that consumers are drawn to fresh scents—fragrances that“may create an ambiance, mask odors and that are clean and welcoming.” He also noted that island-themed, tropical scents are big for 2010, as “they allow consumers a degree of escapism, a chance to get away from the everyday.”

Another big trend this year in household cleaners is line extensions.Some marketers that specialize in products such as candles or body care are looking for opportunities in the household cleaner category.

Thymes, a Minneapolis, MN-based marketer known for home fragrance items such as candles and soap, recently extended its Frasier Fir range with a biodegradable dishwashing liquid and an all-purpose cleaner formulated with essential oils. According to Stacy Brown, a fragrance expert with the company, “it seemed to be a natural progression given that our customers love this fragrance and want to be surrounded by the scent. Additionally, the fragrance is reminiscent of scents found in traditional cleaning products, but at the same time is more sophisticated and complex.”

Tocca, another brand known for its high-end perfumes and candles, also recently entered the household category with a new line of“laundry delicate” washes. These gentle cleansers for fine fabrics such as silks and cashmeres come in Tocca’s signature scents: Touch, a fruity-floral accord with notes of gardenia, pomegranate and Egyptian balsam; Cleopatra, a blend of cucumber and grapefruit; Florence, which features the sophisticated essence of the old European Garden rose known as centifolias combined with iris root; and Stella, a blood orange.

All in all, fragrance evokes a range of emotions. In terms of cleaning products, scent can both motivate and reward you simultaneously, said Lori Fields, founder, Fields Organics, New York, NY. The company’s cleaners, including multi-surface cleaner in green tea or lavender mint, are aimed at households with children.

“We are seeing a lot of natural fragrances with an updated twist and the return of key classic fragrances that evoke a nostalgic feeling,” she said.

The Future of Fragrance

Industry experts predict a merging of laundry and cleaner categories in 2010 and
beyond. As laundry becomes more sophisticated, it becomes the “trickle over” leader into cleaners, noted Mack of Arylessence.

“Subtle notes of laundry detergent get into our psyche and they become the‘definition’ of clean,” she said. “Using those familiar laundry notes helps to reinforce that something is clean and fresh. Product cycles are getting much shorter, and auxiliary products are often launched at the same time, or close on the heels of new laundry detergent variants.”

Also, it is quite likely that scents for household products will continue to be influenced by personal scent trends, added Dornblaser of Mintel.

Caiazzo Jr. of Alpine Aromatics predicts the next big household fragrances will be inspired by the great outdoors. Innovative ingredients from plant extracts, herbs and botanicals will be big in 2010, he told Happi.

Fields of Fields Organics sees opportunity in superfruits. “Future trends for 2010 and beyond will mirror some key food trends, for example, using newer fruit/antioxidant combinations that can be found in some of the popular fruit drinks in the market.”

Sweet, savory or spicy, the future of fragrance in household cleaners lies in the bigger“s” of simplicity.

“One of the aspects of that trend is that we think consumers will look for products that help reassure or provide a sense of familiarity,” said Nencheck of Takasago. “As fragrance continues to be a differentiating factor in the market, there will be an increasing reliance on scent to support key product promises. The emotional values of comfort, purity and care will become increasing antidotes to the uncertain times we live in and fragrance will have the ability to communicate these positive attributes in the context of home cleaning.”