Luckily for soap makers, even when the economy goes
down the drain, people still get dirty. Toss in pandemic
flu fears, and you’ve got yourself the perfect breeding
ground for sales growth in the personal cleanser market.
Christine Esposito • Associate Editor
PEOPLE STILL GET DIRTY, regardless of the current state of the economy— a simple fact that has helped keep the
personal cleanser market afloat during past
year. According to data from SymphonyIRI
Group, a Chicago-based market research
firm, soap sales at FDMx outlets (excluding
Walmart) rose more than 5% to $2.08 billion
and unit sales gained 6.86% for the 52 weeks
ended Sept. 5 (see chart, p. 62).
And if dirt is good for soap makers,
germs are even better. Concerns over illnesses such as H1N1 have Americans
washing their hands at a greater rate (or so
they say). In the latest observational study
sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute (formerly The Soap and Detergent
Association), 85% of adults washed their
hands in public restrooms—the highest observed since these studies began in 1996—
and an impressive jump from the 77%
reported in 2007.
Hitting mass stores in January 2011, the
new Seventh Generation Hand Wash features plant derived cleansing in two
scents—Just Clean (fragrance free) and
Hand wash was a logical addition for
this eco-driven company.
“It was the No. 1 new product requested by Seventh Generation consumers,” said Elizabeth McDonough,
director of product management for Seventh Generation.
According to McDonough, company
officials saw a clear need for a natural-plant derived cleansing formula that had a
thick foam and lathered like conventional,
petroleum-based products. As such, the
Seventh Generation formulation includes
decyl glucoside, sodium coco sulfate and
lauryl lactyl lactate.
“One of the reasons we chose this particular surfactant system is that it is exclusively plant-derived and, thereby,
completely renewable which is a unique
feature in the hand wash category,” said
McDonough. “Rather than using petroleum as a starting point, this surfactant
system is based on responsibly sourced
palm kernel oil. As a member of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the first
CPG company in North America to purchase sustainable PKO credits, Seventh
Generation is committed to the complete
offset of our use of palm kernel oil across
our entire portfolio. “
Seventh Generation is rolling out a new hand soap
in 2011 that has a surfactant system is that it is exclusively plant-derived.
Hands On Approach
As a result of all that extra time spent at the
sink, hand soaps have been in the spotlight.
“Liquid soap was particularly strong in
2009, driven by the H1N1 scare,”said Carrie
Lennard, beauty and personal care industry
analyst with Euromonitor International.
Marketers are fueling the fire with new
products, and there’s more to come, including a big launch next year from Seventh Generation.
Foam is also the story at Hugo Naturals.
Its new Foaming Hand Soap is available in
two scents—Shea Butter & Oatmeal and
Vanilla & Sweet Orange. Both are formulated with moisturizing vegetable glycerin
and certified organic aloe vera, according to
the Chatsworth, CA-based company.
New this Fall at Method is a kitchen
hand wash available in lemongrass (a hot
ingredient trend in 2010) and basil scents.
This wash fights food and cooking smells
that linger on hands, such as garlic and
onions, with an odor neutralizing,
biodegradable formula that is free of
parabens, phthalates, triclosan and
EDTA—key requirements for this green