Green that Cleans

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | July 2, 2010

Rick Theiler of Henkel on the state of the household cleaning business, and what companies and the industry must do to get growing again.

The Great Recession wreaked havoc with consumer spending budgets and corporate R&D plans. Shoppers bought fewer products, preferring instead to draw down their pantry inventories and cleaning product stockpiles. When they did decide to make a purchase, shoppers relied on brands and products they knew and trusted. At the same time, the weak economy made consumer product companies less eager to roll out new products to cash-strapped consumers.

It’s no wonder, then, sales of household cleaners have been on the decline for years. The good news is that consumers are ready to spend again and marketers are rolling out new products to meet their needs, according to Richard Theiler, senior vice president-technology, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

“The household cleaning product category hit bottom in 2009,” insisted Theiler. “(This year) for the first year since 2006, we will see a marginal uptick.”

One thing driving that growth is that in the U.S. and around the world, household cleanliness is associated with health and well-being. With health issues such as H1N1 making headlines on a regular basis, consumers are more concerned with cleanliness than ever. At the same time, however, these consumers could use some help getting the job done faster.

According to Theiler, on average, consumers spend 35 minutes a day cleaning—an allotment of time that has not declined over the years, despite busier schedules.

Soft Scrub Total: Just one product does it all, according to Henkel.
“Yet, just under half of consumers don’t think that 35 minutes is enough time to clean,” observed Theiler, who said these shoppers would welcome an innovative cleaning product that would help them save time.

Anticipating the economic recovery and consumers’ needs, earlier this year, Henkel rolled out Soft Scrub Total Bath & Bowl and Soft Scrub Total Kitchen; both promise to simplify cleaning routines, since consumers need only one product to clean the entire bathroom or kitchen. According to Henkel, the Soft Scrub formula is safe on multiple surfaces, including granite, cultured marble, plastic laminate, stainless steel and chrome. The trigger dispenses either a foam or a spray, and even works upside down to get into hard-to-reach places such as under the toilet rim or inside the microwave.

Consumer interest in gentler cleaning formulas is on the rise, too. Theiler recalled a January 2010
Datamonitor study that found 55% of consumers are concerned about household product safety and chemical harshness, but fewer than 22% believe natural products work.

“There is a substantial gap in the views of green products,” explained Theiler, who pointed out that green household cleaners represent less than 5% of the category and that most consumers aren’t willing to pay as much for them as they would have four years ago due to the recession and questions about product efficacy.

Greener Cleaners

To help remedy the situation, Henkel is a supporter of CleanGredients.org and is a backer of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program. Theiler noted that the new Soft Scrub formulas are solvent-, chelant- and preservative-free, and contain natural lactic acid and alkylpolyglucoside surfactant. The end result is a formula that’s effective on soil and grease removal but with a good environmental profile—at a time when more consumers than ever are concerned about the products they use.

“The consumer packaged goods industry is impacting the rise of affluence, but we are a leading contributor of environmental impact and we have to get that in balance,” insisted Theiler.

Related End-User Markets:

  • Monday Morning Quarterback

    Monday Morning Quarterback

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 6, 2017
    Super Bowl commercials are big business. Let’s look at some of personal and household care brands that bought spots this year

  • Discourse on Disclosure

    Discourse on Disclosure

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 6, 2017
    Transparency impacts the cleaning industry.

  • The Top Stories of 2016

    The Top Stories of 2016

    December 26, 2016
    The companies and topics that grabbed headlines and your attention this year.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director ||September 1, 2016
    Suppliers offer a range of solutions to help household and personal care product formulators develop formulas

  • Take Notice

    Take Notice

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||June 1, 2016
    Packaging trends revolve around trendy artwork, eco-conscious materials—and portability is a plus too!

  • Get Smart About Your Big Data

    Get Smart About Your Big Data

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 1, 2016
    Experts at the IRI Growth Summit explain how to make personal connections with customers.

  • Who Makes That?

    Who Makes That?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||April 1, 2016
    From concept and formulation to testing and filling, today’s contract manufacturers perform a range of services for marketers

  • Testing for Sustainable Preservatives

    Adam P. Byrne, William Michael Hart-Cooper, Kaj Johnson, Larry H. Stanker, Dominic W. S. Wong, William J. Orts||January 4, 2016
    A rapid, inexpensive and qualitative protocol for determining microbial growth inhibition.

  • It’s All About Teamwork

    It’s All About Teamwork

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||January 4, 2016
    Collaboration was the theme of the Consumer Specialty Products Association 2015 annual meeting.

  • Making Sense of Smells

    Making Sense of Smells

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 1, 2016
    Household product perfumery is more complex than ever, with a variety of notes obtained from many different sources.

  • Pod Nation

    Pod Nation

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 1, 2016
    Laundry detergent sales remain steady, but where consumers are spending money and how they’re cleaning clothes is changing.

  • What Do You Mean by Clean?

    What Do You Mean by Clean?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2015
    Household cleaning has undergone many changes over the years and more are on the way, as suppliers develop novel ingredients.

  • Talking Point

    Talking Point

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 1, 2015
    For its inaugural Sustainability Dialog in Frankfurt, Clariant gathered stakeholders that included a mix of customers, third

  • Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory

    October 1, 2015
    Our directory is your source to find a manufacturer to get your product to market.

  • A Consumer Revolution

    A Consumer Revolution

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||June 1, 2015
    IRI’s 2015 Summit celebrates the progression of information.

  • A Nod To The Nose

    A Nod To The Nose

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 6, 2015
    The right scent enhances the experience and adds some excitement in the workhorse household products sector.

  • A Dose of Reality?

    A Dose of Reality?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 6, 2015
    Unit dose formats have provided a shot in the arm for the laundry detergent industry, but issues remain.

  • The Next 100 Years

    The Next 100 Years

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||January 6, 2015
    Its Centennial Celebration over, the Consumer Specialty Products Association charts a path for growth for another century. One thing is constant, however, CSPA will remain a trusted business partner for members, regulators, legislators, retailers and NGOs.

  • Never Ending Journey

    Never Ending Journey

    Melissa Meisel and Christine Esposito , Associate Editors||November 3, 2014
    Sustainability is the present and future of household and personal care packaging.

  • How Now, Kao?

    How Now, Kao?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 3, 2014
    The multinational consumer product giant is bringing its extensive product line to consumers around the world.

  • Find Your Niche

    Find Your Niche

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 3, 2014
    Yes, the US household cleaning category is dominated by multinationals, but there’s still room for smaller, agile companies.

  • Trade Association Directory 2014

    February 7, 2014
    Following are the contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in the pages of Happi. Associations that are not listed but wish to be included should contact Tom Branna, Happi/Rodman Media, Ramsey, NJ Tel: (201) 880-2223; Fax: (201) 825-0553; Email: tbranna@rodmanmedia.com.