DETERGENT MARKET UPDATE
Seventh Generation deal went so far as to include an unusual
clause that Unilever would maintain and protect SevGen’s core
mission, which is“to inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures
the health of the next seven generations.”
That was enough to convince Unilever CEO Paul Polman to
pursue the acquisition Seventh Generation.
“I didn’t do a lot of due diligence on the Seventh Generation
deal,”he told World Conference on Fabric and Home Care attend-
ees. “I liked their mentality to think seven generations ahead—
that’s the mentality we need to solve the world’s problems.”
Of course, an added plus is SevGen’s $200 million in sales and
history of double-digit growth, year-on-year, for the past decade.
Environmentalism should continue to shape consumer attitudes
about the products they buy. But consumers aren’t always swayed
by green or even how clean detergents get their clothes.
“The stain war is over,” insists Mike Eaton, founder and CEO
of Hero Clean. “The odor war is underway.”
According to Tracey L. Long, senior communications man-
ager, fabric care, P&G, consumers have a growing need for odor
removal from their clothing as “athlesiurewear” has become a
preferred form of daily apparel, not just for early morning runs,
CrossFit or spinning class.
A 2015 P&G survey of adults in the US, UK, South Africa,
India and Egypt found that:
• 30% of people wear athleisure clothes daily;
• 26% of people say athleisure clothes have become their
“normal” clothes; and
• 69% of people wear athleisure clothes three or more times
Consumer love of this look has
shifted the washload to one that is
composed of more synthetic fabrics.
“Synthetic fabrics are favored
for athlesiurewear garments as they
offer the stretchy fibers and body
hugging qualities that allow
for fit and range of mo-
tion,” observed Long. “At
the same time, these
synthetic fibers are
dirt and odor magnets
as they contain many
These channels al-
low moisture to pass
through the fabric but,
it also creates nooks and crannies for dirt and odor molecules to
settle in and“hide,” leading to malodor, according to Long.
“Match that fabric composition to the fact that 70% of the dirt
on your clothes is invisible—so while your clothes might look
clean on the outside, there are actually layers of built up body
soils and odors trapped deep down inside at the fiber level—and
you have an odor problem that may rival many ‘outside’ stains
To address odor issues, last year P&G introduced Tide Odor
Rescue with Febreze Odor Defense.
“For years the industry has focused on stain removal—we are
pivoting to ensure all signals of clear are addressed and so introduced Tide Odor Defense collection,” explained Long.
Another trend impacting consumer laundry habits is the rise
of high efficiency and large-size washers. According to P&G,
more than 50% of US households have a HE washer and with
that comes larger loads.
“Larger loads equal more cleaning to do through the wash so
dosing continues to be an important habit change we must help
drive to ensure satisfaction with our products,” explained Long.
To that end, P&G is recommending consumers use two pods
to clean very dirty clothes, but Long admitted that it is too early to
say whether consumers are changing their dosing habits.
Finally, growing consumer demand for products with natural
ingredients, yet they don’t want to sacrifice cleaning. In response,
P&G launched Tide Purclean this year, its first 65% bio-based detergent with the cleaning power of Tide, Long said.
As the new No. 2 player in the US laundry category, Henkel
is sure to respond to P&G’s launches with new products of its
own, but a spokesperson told Happi it was too early to discuss
the company’s plans.
“Please circle back in early 2017, as we’ll be able to discuss
more relating to Persil, integration, innovation and activations,”
Other Ideas on Laundry
P&G, Henkel and Church & Dwight dominate the laundry category, but there is plenty of room for companies to find their niche.
Sales of products from smaller companies not officially tracked
by Euromonitor rose more than 4% to $615 million last year.
One of them is Detergent 2.0, created by industry veteran Fred
Horowitz. His Wash n’Go Singles feature a patented formula that
is seven times more concentrated than regular laundry detergent.
Horowitz, who helped build Xtra into a leading bargain brand,
told Happi that there is a compelling white space in the market
for an aggressively priced laundry product.
“The consumer wants to use dose, she loves the efficiency,
but the price structure makes it unaffordable in the mass market,”
he maintained. “We are bringing our low cost overhead—call it
clarity of distribution channels—to bring margin to retailers and
a compelling price to consumers.”
According to Horowitz, while it is more expensive to make
Tide Purclean, a USDA-
certified bio-based product