HAPPI: As the first mouthwash launch in quite a few years, what did Tom’s feel it needed to address in its existing formulations? What prompted the development of this new option for consumers?
Seavey: Given the success we’ve seen with our Wicked Fresh! as the No. 1 natural mouthwash brand, there was demand for another option in this category that delivered on a wider array of benefits. Fresh breath is table stakes in mouthwash and toothpaste and based on the growth of the multi-benefit mouthwash segment, we believed mouthwash users were looking for a natural mouthwash that delivered more than just basic breath freshening. So, we went about developing a product that could provide additional benefits like clinically-proven cavity protection, enamel strength and a whole mouth clean. This was also developed to be a companion product to our popular Whole Care Toothpaste line, also multi-benefit, for a clean mouth, naturally.
HAPPI: How did your R&D team tackle the issues with specific ingredients of concern?
Seavey: Crafting products without alcohol is a focus for Tom's of Maine, particularly in mouthwash where some conventional brands formulate the majority of their products with alcohol. None of our products contain alcohol, which can be tricky in natural mouthwash where the alcohol often serves the purpose of solubilizing the flavor oils with the water base. With our Whole Care MW, we use water soluble natural flavor—which took a long time to find and test, and comes at a significantly higher cost—in order to avoid alcohol or polysorbate (which some other natural mouthwash brands use) as the solubilizer in the product.
HAPPI: Taste matters in this category—how did Tom’s zero-in on providing the best experience with this mouthwash?
Seavey: Yes, taste does matter and we have decades of experience working with natural flavors and combinations that people will like. With this launch, our R&D team conducted three rounds of flavor testing and found just the right blend of natural mint flavors. We also conducted consumer testing with initial iterations of the product and tweaked the ingredients based on the learnings from this testing.
HAPPI: Is there a specific target consumer who will gravitate toward this new SKU?
Seavey: Yes, the target consumer for Whole Care Mouthwash is invested in their long-term well-being and seeing results over time, versus immediate, quick fix results. Whereas those looking for a breath-freshening mouthwash are simply looking for instant fresh breath as a confidence booster for those close encounter moments where they want to put their best foot forward.