As the World Turns…

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | September 4, 2013

Surfactant suppliers must be agile to meet the needs of their customers whenever and wherever consumer demand takes them.

Don’t be too quick to sign that JV in Jakarta. Maybe that business trip to Chennai can wait as well. Just when multinationals were convinced that the futures of their companies lay in emerging markets, a new study by Bridgewater Associates LP found that, for the first time since 2007, Japan, Europe and the US are contributing more to growth in the $74 trillion global economy than China, India, Brazil and other emerging markets. Bridgewater, an investment firm that manages the world’s largest hedge fund, expects developed markets to contribute 60% of the estimated $2.4 trillion in global growth this year.

China is blamed for much of the slowdown in the fortunes of emerging markets. The country is expected to post growth of 7.5% this year, according to government estimates; not bad, but if accurate, it would be the slowest increase in China’s economy since 1990.
A slowdown in China could cause a domino effect, resulting in lower demand for goods and services from Southeast Asia and Latin America, according to experts. Household and personal product sales are more resilient than other consumer goods categories, and suppliers say the expanding middle class in both regions has provided a lift to sales—but there has been somewhat of a headwind in recent months, say some industry executives.

“Latin America is a strong force that continues to drive the development of the surfactant market. The growth is not as strong as originally projected, but Latin America is still on the upside of the curve,” said Bob Bogadek, business creation leader, Americas, Galaxy Surfactants. “As global corporations, Galaxy Surfactants and TRI-K Industries find it extremely important to have dedicated technical and marketing personnel in each territory to help support our customers.” 

According to Bogadek, there has been an evolution within the Latin American market over the last few years from copying trends to becoming trendsetters around the world.  Many of the local companies are becoming a significant force in the international field, such as Natura, Boticario, Ebel and Jafra. Customers are hungry for product information and suggestions for new formulations as the region continues to grow.  As disposable income increases, the need for new and unique products arises.

Culturally, it has become important to capitalize on the local ingredients found in the Amazon region and surrounding areas.  The Latin American people are proud of their heritage and customs, thereby finding a need to incorporate native sustainable resources to use in formulations to create their own identity, said Bogadek.

Evonik is focusing on four megatrends:
  • Globalization;
  • Resource Efficiency;
  • Health; and
  • Nutrition.
The first two in particular are intertwined and relate to the bottom line and sustainability of cleaning products in Latin America and Asia, according to David DelGuercio, senior vice president and general manager, global, household care, Evonik Goldschmidt Corporation. 

“Major consumer brands recognize this, and want to deal with suppliers that not only have the portfolio they need today, but also those that take a longer view and are planning years down the line in all regions of the world,” he explained.

Jeen International continues to expand its global network, according to Carl Cappabianca, general manager.

“This enables us to reach these rapidly growing markets with both specialty and traditional ingredients, including surfactants.”

For global surfactant industry suppliers, it is imperative to maintain operations in all parts of the globe, for as demand wanes in one region, it waxes in another. Although European and North American customers remain cautious, there has been a noticeable improvement in these mature markets in the past 12 months, especially pertaining to product development mix, according to Brian Chung, business development manager, home and personal care, Solvay Novecare.

“A year ago, the focus was largely on cost reduction and effectiveness, but now the opportunities we see are clearly more growth-driven,” he explained. “Solvay has developed a product portfolio that allows our customers to create formulations that meet their performance objectives. We will continue to strengthen our position in these mature markets and serve a diversified customer base.”

Croda is promoting value-added products to help its North American and European customers make new marketing claims and create high performance products. In the more developed regions of the world, consumers are looking for products with multi-purpose applications, and Croda is able to service these needs through multifunctional and specialty ingredients that offer a noticeable difference, explained Jeffrey Wu, sales development specialist, home care and geo technologies, Croda.

Meanwhile, in Latin America and Asia, the rising affluence of the middle class has driven demand for household cleaning products.

“Our regional sales teams have done an excellent job strengthening Croda’s position in these markets, while also providing valuable input on the needs of our customers and the consumers they service,” said Wu. “The R&D team has developed products and formulation support that meets the needs of the consumer in these regions. These have been critical to our success in emerging markets.”

Dhaneshwar Patil, business creation leader, Europe for Galaxy Surfactants, noted that there has been a dramatic shift in buying power in Europe, as consumers shift from prestige to masstige products. Still, Europe remains a cornerstone of the industry.

“Surfactants in Europe are one of the largest categories in the cosmetics industry and possibly the strongest market worldwide,” said Patil. “Regardless of market fluctuations, surfactants will always be constant.” 

According to Dan Beio, vice president, research and development, RITA, the Asian markets are not necessarily driving the newest technologies, but they are making an impact, particularly in “sulfate-free” surfactants, especially amino acid- and sugar-based chemistries. 

“These technologies are becoming more affordable, getting very close, on a formula cost per ounce basis, to their sulfated counterparts,” said Beio. “This is exciting because the sulfate-free category is the fastest growing segment of the hair care business.”

According to Beio, Asia is adding a new dimension to the global surfactant market, due to quality, low-cost surfactants that help many medium- and small-sized companies compete due to these great prices. 

Frank Womack, global business director, functional additives, Air Products, noted that Latin America and Asia remain growth markets for surfactants, although the company does anticipate softening in the Asian market. Air Products is establishing supply capabilities and technical support in these regions to support demand, he added.

In Europe, the company’s outlook is more restrained.

“We see the European market stagnating and we do not anticipate a good recovery any time soon,” said Womack. “North America seems to be recovering economically and finding value in offerings that deliver VOC reduction, solvent replacement and DfE/sustainability.”

Timothy J. Roach, global marketing manager, bath and shower, Lubrizol, said that while the global marketplace is still recovering from a slow economy, emerging markets in Latin America and Asia continue to show excellent growth with promise for continued strong performance.

“Understanding regional product trends and market needs is key to delivering exceptional products to these fast growing markets,” he said.

There’s been growing demand for prestige products in Europe and North America during the past year, according to Cappabianca.
“The uptick in prestige R&D bodes well for growth later this year and next as new product launches hit market,” he said. “We’re seeing significant interest in both these regions for natural, greener and more sustainable ingredients in all segments including surfactants that are always in the formulation mix; be it prestige or mass market.”

What They’re Buying
Steve Turner, business line director, household care, Evonik Goldschmidt Corporation noted that advanced wetting characteristics are important to hard-surface cleaners, from kitchen and bath products to floor cleaners and auto washes.

“Superior wetting can ‘stretch’ the performance of cleaning agents while maintaining or improving cleaning power,” explained Turner, who also noted that the home care market is expected to grow along with improvements in the housing market. He pointed to US Department of Housing and Urban Development statistics that show in July 2010, sales of single-family houses were 276,000, with a median sales price of $204,000. In May 2013, sales reached 454,000, with a median price of $271,600.

“Year-over-year job growth and permits for new homes is also improving now and all this bodes well for growth in home care cleaning products going forward,” Turner told Happi.

Wu said that many customers are looking to formulate better all-purpose cleaners that deliver multiple benefits and faster cleaning. 

“This is the largest segment within the hard surface care category and growing in most markets around the world,” he explained.

As a result, Croda’s multifunctional and specialty ingredients that deliver unique consumer benefits or marketing claims are highly sought after by CPG companies.

In personal care, Beio points to growing demand for sulfate-free surfactant technologies in hair care formulas, but they’re not always the easiest chemistries to work with, he warned.

“These products are not easy to thicken, are tough to formulate clear products, have different foaming characteristics and don’t always have the same “squeaky clean” rinse out, to name a few,” said Beio. “But through diligent formulation, we have been able to create products that our customers are very satisfied with.” 

Growth in hair styling, body washes and shampoos has been fueled by a shift to natural, greener and more sustainable ingredients, due in part, to regulatory pressures for safer surfactants that are free of DEA and MEA, driven primarily by additions to the California Proposition 65 listings, according to Cappabianca.

“At Jeen, we are actively pursuing several liquid alternatives to these traditional, but pressured, chemistries including a range of MIPA-based approaches,” he added.

Jeen’s development efforts include MIPA-based ingredients as well as expansion of its Jeesperse cold process wax technology which, Cappabianca said, can often reduce the number of surfactants that need to be added to the formulation and allowing production to be done at lower, more energy efficient, temperatures.

According to BASF, product categories that connect with consumer trends have shown the best opportunity for growth—specifically, consumer convenience, and sustainability.

Galaxy Surfactants executives note that Latin American consumers have always been interested in hair care, but the segment is expanding even more thanks to demand from men.

“Recently, Latin men are becoming very aware of their appearance and as local economies improve, the need to have a better personal care regimen is critical to promote a healthier lifestyle,” explained Bogadek. “In the past, having personal care products was a status symbol but it is now an everyday item that has become a necessity. As economic purchasing power increases, many people find they can afford the ‘me too’ items.”    

In Europe, skin care including mildness for sensitive skin, anti-aging and male grooming have shown great opportunities for growth, according to Patil.

“As society has become more beauty conscious, the need to look and feel good has become ingrained in the culture,” he added.

Looking toward the future, mild surfactants seem the most promising.  Some of the products that have seen great success are GalSOFT SCG (sodium cocoyl glycinate), GalSOFT SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate), Galaxy NaCS (sodium cocoyl sarcosinate) and Galaxy NaLS (sodium lauroyl sarcosinate). 

The Regulatory Climate
When it comes to regulations, the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and California are top of mind for surfactant suppliers.

“Europe has the drive and interest in the emerging technologies, but they are burdened by REACH that tends to curb creativity due to its stringent dossier requirements,” explained Beio. “We are forecasting continued growth in our sulfate-free surfactant technologies and we see that trend continuing through 2014.”

According to Beio, Proposition 65 in California is helping to drive the transition to sulfate-free. Many companies using ethoxylated sulfated surfactants are now looking at warning labels due to the potential 1,4-dioxane content.

“It’s impossible logistically to segment out California with a separate formula, so many are reformulating and looking at switching to alternatives to the sulfates, as long as they perform and cost similarly.”

Bogadek of Galaxy agreed that 1,4-dioxane has become a major topic of conversation in surfactant circles, noting that there is need for lower parts per million levels to provide safer and purer products. Years ago, Galaxy began the process of using lower ppm levels of 1,4-dioxane with the goal to provide safer solutions. Sourcing issues play an important role in decision-making.

“It is important for us to maintain production by using only natural resources (palm kernel oil), regardless of costs,” said Bogadek.
“Galaxy is recognized as a supplier to multinational companies because we produce our surfactants from sustainable sources.
Many of our products are Ecocert-registered and recognized among other global regulatory agencies.”

Increased regulatory pressure continues around the globe, with the common thread being greater finished good safety for end consumers, observed Roach, who added that the onus is on suppliers to produce products that contain the lowest possible levels of dioxane, residuals and other unwanted materials. 

Even sodium lauryl sulfate is being viewed in a new light in the public forum, according to Chung of Solvay Novecare.

“We have noticed that the group of consumers concerned about theories that link SLS to nitrosamines has become more polarized, with scientists and researchers on one side and environmental activists groups on the other.”

And yet, more industry experts have come to the conclusion that “natural” does not necessarily mean better, Chung said.

“We are very much aware of the increased interest in clinically or dermatologically tested products, and for hypoallergenic formulations,” he added. “Solvay has a resolute commitment regarding the safety of our products and we intend to keep working to address our customer demands.”

BASF executives note that as a key partner to the home care and I&I as well as personal care industries, it is important that BASF work with regulators and key stakeholders to enable our customers to develop solutions that meet consumer needs.

“At BASF, product safety and stewardship are fundamental principles and are applied across our surfactant portfolio,” they said. 

What’s New?
As they weave through global regulatory minefields, suppliers are putting more resources on the ground. For example, Air Products continues to expand its innovation pipeline to develop new products that meet market trends and customer needs, according to Womack. In the industrial and institutional cleaning market, Air Products launched TomaKleen G-12 additive for solvent replacement in response to continued regulatory pressure on volatile organic carbons (VOCs) as well as the desire for multifunctional ingredients.

“Additionally, we launched Tomadol 902 surfactant for the triple benefit of improved cleaning efficacy, cleaning speed and formulation cost, particularly for hard surface applications,” he explained.

Tomadol 902 surfactant is designed to provide superior cleaning and degreasing at reduced use levels, particularly compared to NPE surfactants and NPE-alternatives. It is formulated to be highly compatible with other surfactants and solvents, and can replace oxygenated solvents in many formulations. It is effective over a broad range of temperatures, readily biodegradable and has near-zero VOC.

“Tomakleen G-12 solvent replacement additive is designed for formulators seeking alternatives to oxygenated solvents due to increasing regulations, wanting to improve worker safety and desiring to improve the cleaning performance of hard surface cleaners,” Womack concluded.

BASF executives say they remain focused on developing solutions that address customers’ market needs. Examples include Texapon high active surfactants used in clear and pearlescent shampoos, bath and shower products, and laundry detergents.

Another is Comperlan, a co-surfactant for personal cleansing applications. Comperlan MIPA, for example, is suitable for use in cleansing systems such as shampoos, body washes, shower gels, liquid hand soaps and facial cleansers, according to BASF.

RITA is committed to making the job of formulating products easier for its customers by offering many custom blends that save time and money, according to Beio.

“Our Ritafactants are a formulator’s and compounder’s dream,” said Beio. “Instead of buying, receiving, QC’ing, inventorying, weighing, adding and possibly heating three or four ingredients, we do it all.”

Galaxy Surfactants acquired TRI-K Industries in 2009 and expanded product offerings to include natural actives, cosmetic proteins and multifunctional peptides, said Bogadek, who also noted the company’s capacity and global footprint expanded as well.

“A new phenoxyethanol plant was built in Jhagadia, India, increasing our capacity to being among the top few manufacturers of phenoxyethanol in the world,” he explained.  

Galaxy’s Patil also pointed out that in 2011, a new surfactant plant was built in Attaka-Suez, Egypt to serve the large demand of Middle East, European and African regions. More recently, during the past two years, offices have been established in Turkey and The Netherlands.

Jeen International’s focus on expanding its global distribution network has been a key component of the company’s growth and sustained competitiveness, according to Cappabianca.

“We have found, particularly in the emerging markets, that introduction of our Jeesperse cold process wax technology has been gaining significant traction where single vessel, low energy manufacturing is common and time/cost savings can be significant with formulations ranging from traditional shampoos and lotions to body washes and styling products,” he said.

New products for home care and new capacity in emerging markets has been a focus of Evonik during the past year, according to Turner, who explained that last year the company launched Rewoquat WE 45, a liquid-at-room- temperature fabric softener, which has been well received in the market.

“We also launched a new silicone surfactant, Rewocare BDS 15, earlier this year which improves wetting and spreading on hard surfaces for the home care market segment,” he added.

Additionally, Evonik is expanding its global presence with new plant capacity underway in China and Brazil capable of producing surfactants from renewable resources. The new capacity in Shanghai is due to come on-stream by the end of 2013, and at a new plant in Brazil by 2014.

Solvay continues to focus primarily on innovation and sustainability, as company executives consider sustainable development a fundamental responsibility, according to Chung. In addition, in the past year, Solvay has made strategic investments in Asia, including start of construction on a large-scale alkoxylation facility in Singapore and the acquisition of Sunshield Chemicals in India.

“While we work toward expanding our influence in Asia and Latin America, we continue to support our customers in Europe and North America, investing in new technologies and delivering state-of-the-art performance,” said Chung.

Croda launched ModiSurf Lift earlier this year, which makes cleaning faster and easier for consumers. For customers interested in green technologies, Croda launched NatraSense LF-8, a 100% bio-based surfactant, developed for applications that demand a low foaming, green formulation. 

“In support of our manufacturing sustainability initiatives, we’ve completed the construction of a biofermentation plant in the UK that’s producing sophorolipids for the home care cleaning market,” said Wu. “Most recently, Croda’s acquisition of the specialty products business of Arizona Chemical, including a portfolio of class leading oil gelling polymers, is helping Croda offer new delivery systems and product forms to our customers.” 

Meeting the needs of consumers whenever and wherever needed remains the goal of surfactant suppliers and their customers—whether they’re adding capacity in Guangzhou, expanding product portfolios in Portugal or building sales in São Paulo.

New Surfactants

Here is a list of new products that were introduced by surfactant suppliers in the past 12 months. To get more information on any of the products detailed below, contact the supplier directly using the information provided.

Air Products          
Allentown, PA
Tel: 610-791-4911
Website: www.airproducts.com
Tomakleen G-12
Description: proprietary
Applications: solvent replacement for hard surface cleaners and degreasers
Use levels: dependent on formulation, typically used at 25 wt% of solvent amount as solvent replacement
Tomadol 902
Description: proprietary
Applications:  hard surface cleaning and degreasing
Use levels:  designed for high performance at low concentration, with goal of 1 wt% or less depending on formulation
Croda Inc
Edison, NJ
Tel: 732.417.0800
Website: www.croda.com
ModiSurf Lift
Description: Ester
Applications: All-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, floor cleaners, hard surface care
Use levels: 1-3%
Comments: Surface modification additive that makes next time cleaning easier
NatraSense AG-810
Description: Alkyl polyglucoside
Applications: Hard surface care, fabric care, hand washing
Use levels: 1-5%
Comments: Low colored APG that provides excellent detergency and processing benefits in a wide variety of application areas
Coltide Radiance
Description: Quaternized hydrolyzed wheat protein/silicone copolymers
Applications: Fabric care for color protection, fiber protection, and anti-greying
Use levels: 0.25 grams per wash
Comments: Additive for fabric softeners/conditions that provides fiber and color protection
Evonik Goldschmidt Corporation
Hopewell, VA
Tel: 804 541-8658
Website: www.household-care.evonik.com
Rewocare BDS 15
Description: Organo-modified silicone surfactant
Applications: Ideal for rinse aids in automatic-dishwash and other hard-surface kitchen and bath cleaning products.
Use levels: 0.05 to 0.5%
Comments: Even at low use levels and on hydrophobic surfaces, the readily biodegradable Rewocare BDS 15 silicone surfactant can out-wet fatty alcohol ethoxylates and other standard surfactants by a factor of 10 or more. 
Galaxy Surfactants, Ltd.
Navi Mumbai, India
Tel: +91 22-6513-4444
Email: bob.bogadek@galaxysurfactants.com, Dhaneshwar.Patil@galaxysurfactants.com
Website: www.galaxysurfactants.com
Galsoft SCG
Description: Sodium cocoyl glycinate
Applications: Toiletries, skin care, hair care, baby care
Use levels: 2-10%
Comments: A mild, natural surfactant composed of glycine and fatty acids 
GalHueShield HCS
Description: p-Methoxycinnamidopropyl dimethyl behenyl ammonium chloride
Applications: Hair care
Use levels: 0.5-1.5%
Comments: Multi-functional hair color protector from UV-induced damage and applied hair color treatment. Provides superior conditioning properties, enhancing sensorial attributes.
Description: Methoxycinnamidopropyl hydroxysultaine
Applications: Skin care, sun care
Use levels: 7.5-10%
Comments: Patented, water soluble UVB absorber with excellent substantivity to skin and hair. 
Jeen International Corporation
Fairfield, NJ USA

Tel: 973-439-1401

Email:  info@jeen.com
Website:  www.jeen.com
Jeesperse ICE-T VICL-C-A
INCI: Stearic acid, glycol stearate, stearamide AMP, carbomer, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol      

Use Levels: 1.0-10.0%

Applications: Skin care, hair care, sunscreens, color cosmetics and general skin care formulations

Comments: Launched this spring, the Jeesperse ICE-T instant cold emulsion technology includes optimized powders that, when introduced into water at room temperature, rapidly form stable emulsions typically eliminating the need for traditional emulsifiers and allowing the addition of waxes into the system without heating. Benefits include reduced energy costs, time savings, no cool-down and single vessel production. The Jeesperse ICE-T VICL-C-A is designed specifically to serve as the core, base product for various lotion formulations.
INCI: Hydroxypropyl guar, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, stearic alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate 60, glyceryl stearate

Use Levels:  1.0-10.0%

Applications: Hair care, conditioners and a range of related general hair care formulations.

Comments: Launched this spring, the Jeesperse ICE-T instant cold emulsion technology includes optimized powders that, when introduced into water at room temperature, rapidly form stable emulsions typically eliminating the need for traditional emulsifiers and allowing the addition of waxes into the system without heating. Benefits include reduced energy costs, time savings, no cool-down and single vessel production. The Jeesperse ICE-T C-PANT is designed specifically to serve as the core, base product for various hair care conditioning, styling and related formulations.
Jeequat NDCS
INCI: Cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, cocamidopropyl betain, sorbitan laurate
Use Levels: 3.0-7.0%

Applications: Hair conditioners, leave-in products

Comments: Cold-processable, ready-to-use hair care cationic conditioner concentrate, naturally-derived from rapeseed oil, containing behentrimonium chloride. Has a balanced hydrophile/lipophile profile to ensure the highest viscosity and superior conditioning effect at the lowest cost to address a wide range of formulating needs.
Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. 

Brecksville, OH

Tel: 800-379-5389

Email: personalcare@lubrizol.com
Website: www.lubrizol.com/personalcare
Sulfochem ES-70DXS Surfactant
Description: Sodium laureth (2) sulfate

Applications: Personal and household cleansing products.

Use levels: As-supplied, when used as a primary surfactant, the recommended use level for personal care applications is 10-40 wt% and 5-30 wt% for home care applications.
Comments: This vegetable-based, highly flowable, easy-to-process surfactant is supplied as a highly concentrated product (70% active). In surfactant cleansing formulations, it exhibits excellent flash foaming properties and has very low residual color and odor. It contains less than 10 ppm residual 1,4-dioxane and is anti-oxidant and preservative-free.
Sulfochem ES-70US Surfactant
Description: Sodium laureth (2) sulfate

Applications: Personal and household cleansing products.

Use levels: As-supplied, when used as a primary surfactant, the recommended use level for personal care applications is 10-40 wt% and 5-30 wt% for home care applications.

Comments: This vegetable-based, highly flowable, easy-to-process surfactant is supplied as a highly concentrated product (70% active). In surfactant cleansing formulations, it exhibits excellent flash foaming properties and has very low residual color and odor and it is anti-oxidant and preservative-free. 
RITA Corporation

Crystal Lake, IL

Tel: 815-337-2500

Email: sales@ritacorp.com
Website: www.ritacorp.com
Ritafactant 138ANLG

Description: Decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, sodium lauroyl lactylate

Applications: Foaming agent used in shampoos, liquid hand cleansers, body wash, facial cleanser 

Use levels: 5-30%

Comments: This patented, very mild and high foaming combination of sugar based glucosides and lactylates gently cleans without stripping away epidermal and inter-cuticle skin and hair lipids. The lactylate, being an “interrupted soap” acts as a cleanser, and emulsifier, and leaves a very nice skin after feel. We have taken on the difficulty of melting and handling the lactylate into a blend of sulfate-free surfactants so our customers can add this cold to any formulation. 
Ritafactant SCI-2

Description: Cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium cocoyl isethionate

Applications: Foaming agent used in shampoos, liquid hand cleansers, body wash, facial cleanser

Use levels: 5-15%

Comments: This combination of sulfate free surfactants provide very high foaming and give the foam that is produced a very creamy feel.  This combination can be used as the primary foaming contributor or can be used as secondary foamer, since it creates mounds of “flash” foam.  We have taken on the difficulty of melting and handling the Isothionate into this blend of betaine so our customers can add this cold to any formulation. 
Ritathix DOE

Description: PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate and methyl gluceth-10

Applications: Thickener used in all types of surfactant systems

Use levels: 0.5-2.5%

Comments: This unique combination of thickening ingredient and solvent allows us to create a liquid thickener which works perfectly with sulfate free surfactants, which are very difficult to thicken. You can also create crystal clear formulations using this thickener. And, unlike other PEG thickeners, you don’t get that “plastic” structure. It creates more of a Newtonian gel structure, which allows for even very thick liquids to disperse more readily onto the hair, resulting is much less frictional stress being placed on the wet hair.