“We see opportunity in a volatile market,” explained Dirk Buengel, SVP-care chemicals, North America. “We have a broad portfolio of products that can help our customers make the right choice for their formulation needs.”
For example, BASF’s Sokalan HP 20 polymer for liquid detergents, disperses soil from clothes in low temperature wash liquid, a sustainability trend that is expanding around the world. Sokalan is also said to be ideal for unit dose formulations, a product form that makes doing laundry more convenient and even more sustainable, since there little chance to overdose with unit dose.
Consumers have certainly made their choice heard loud and clear. According to IRI, unit dose sales jumped nearly 20% in 2015, while liquid sales were flat and powder sales dropped 10% (see Happi’s January issue for a closer look at laundry care).
Similarly, as Europe phases out phosphates from ADW formulas, BASF offers Trilon M (MGDA), a phosphate-free chelating agent that is available in a variety of formats including liquids, granules and powder. BASF also recommends the Trilon M line as replacements for other, less environmentally complexing agents such as phosphonates, zeolites and silicates.
“Our customers can find a solution to their problem from within our broad portfolio,” explained Hans Reiners, president, Care Chemicals.
BASF customers can also find a large-scale consumer testing center in Tarrytown, NY, where BASF researchers conduct studies on human volunteers to evaluate product benefits as well as evaluate consumers’ sensory experience and perception of the products. Sensory experience has become a critical component of home cleaning chores. The BASF executives noted that sales of fragrance-boosting products have grown at a double-digit rate as consumers seek more enjoyable experiences, even when they’re doing laundry.
Sensorial attributes have been a focus at Dow Chemical, too. Supracare 425 offers high shine and superior skin sensorials to hand dish cleaning products and the new Acusol Millennium suspension aid for laundry and hand dish detergent offers sensorial benefits, too, according to company executives. During ACI, Dow Chemical also promoted its Acusol Shine specialty dispersants for phosphate-free automatic dishwashing formulations. Acusol Shine products are said to increase soil removal, ease of use, and improve spotting and filming. Dow also markets Acusol anti-redeposition polymers for powder laundry detergents that reduce water dependence with a lower dosage level and higher efficiency.
Evonik introduced two multi-unctional performance boosters for traditional fabric softeners under the Rewocare GSM 42 and Rewocare ASM 40 names. The former is available in Europe and the latter in North America. Both microemulsions increase the softening ability of a fabric conditioner by 15-20%. Both improve fragrance retention on fabrics, too.
“Rewocare ASM 40 provides a silky feel when incorporated into fabric softener formulas,” said Dana Nystrand, marketing manager, household care, Evonik. She noted that in multiple fragrance retention tests, the silicone-derivatives retained their scent 10 days after laundering, while retaining rewetting characteristics.
Both Rewocare GSM 42 and Rewocare ASM 40 can improve a fabric softener’s sustainability profile. When added to a formula, treated clothing requires less energy in drying and lasts longer, too, according to Evonik.
During ACI, Evonik also promoted its recently-introduced Rewoferm SL 446, a sophorolipid biosurfactant that is readily biodegradable under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions and complies with European Ecolabel requirements.
“Rewoform SL 446 is very interesting to many of our customers,“ asserted Steven Snead-Smith, business director for household care in the NAFTA region. “They are intrigued by its environmental attributes and its biofermentation manufacturing process.”
The biosurfactant has a low toxicological profile and offers significant advantages in foaming, degreasing and water hardness tolerance over traditional surfactants, according to Evonik.
Rivertop Renewables recently unveiled a technology platform based on a proprietary, cost-effective oxidation process to deliver glucaric acid for multiple markets and applications. For the auto dish market, the company unveiled Riose detergent builder, which promises to deliver superior performance in automatic dishwashing products.
Riose delivers two times the calcium building capacity of generic citrates, and equivalent capacity to phosphate and synthetic builders, according to Rivertop. As a result, the material delivers greater consumer satisfaction, heightened brand differentiation and increased market share through superior end-product performance. Moreover, the bio-based material can reduce total formulation cost across premium, mid-tier and value-end products.
Finally, under its Quantum brand name, Ineos has rolled out new monoethanolamine (MEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) products that meet the recent rulings for these materials under REACH and Prop. 65. Using a unique distillation process at its facility in Plaquemine, LA, Ineos has developed the capability of reaching virtually non-detectable levels of DEA in its MEA and TEA Pure Grade materials. TEA Pure has applications in fabric softeners, shaving foam, ointments, non-aerosol hair spray, hand lotion and liquid hand soap, while MEA Pure has applications in detergents, hard surface cleaners and personal cleansers, according to the company.
Around the World
Global markets pose different challenges that vary by region. Industry executives observed that North American demand remains consistent, but retailers such as Walmart and Target play a huge role in defining what is sustainable and what is not, a trend that was unheard of years ago. In Latin America, Brazil’s economic slowdown has impacted the region, but demand for more sophisticated cleaning solutions are here to stay, insisted the suppliers who spoke to Happi.
“We are seeing a change in format everywhere; consumers are moving from bars to powders in emerging markets, powders to liquids in countries such as China, and liquids to monodose in established markets,” explained Alam of Dow. “Each change has a challenge.”
Evonik’s Snead-Smith had a positive view of the economic trends that could impact the global household cleaning market.
“There’s nothing of great concern in China, Europe is reasonably stable and North America is doing okay and growing,” he told Happi.
Evonik has invested in emerging markets with new facilities in Brazil that came online in 2015 and one in Shanghai (2013).
With a range of new raw materials that should be of interest to formulators of detergent, fabric softener and household cleaning products, suppliers insist that they are well-prepared for whatever 2016 throws at them.
“The global market has opportunities,” concluded Reiners. “Yes, it’s a volatile market, but we are able to react to it.”