SURFACTANT MARKET UPDATE
polishes and leather creams, he said.
“Ritamulse SCG is a good example of a natural based, all-
in-one emulsifier,” according to Keech. “Nonionic guar gums are
great options to formulate serums and gels for improved skin feel
and a better safety profile.”
In addition, instead of mineral oil, more customers are using a
variety of esters and lower cost natural oils to get similar benefits.
“In general, customers are also looking for cost savings,”
Keech added. “Another way we have been able to address this
is through customized surfactant packages. These customer specific blends can help save money by reducing kettle and blending
time, and even help a company move to cold process formulas.”
The challenge for new product development is formulating
a sulfate-free product that retains the characteristics of sulfate
formulations, observed Bill Woods, business manager-North
America, Galaxy Surfactants. He noted that consumers are expecting products that have the
same rheological properties, detergency, and skin feel as products
that contain sulfate.
“In essence, they are not will-
ing to sacrifice efficiency, per-
formance or feel,” said Woods.
“Consumers will pay a higher
price for a product that is sustain-
able, mild and sulfate-free, but if
that product does not have the
same characteristics and perfor-
mance that they are expecting,
repeat customers will be hard to
Unfortunately, suppliers and
their customers must deal with a
growing list of issues from a grow-
ing list of sources—government agencies, NGOs and, perhaps,
most critically, retailers. Gallagher noted that Walmart’s list of
eight ingredients is closely adhered to by suppliers in a range of
industries; materials on that list include: formaldehyde, triclosan,
toluene, diethyl phthalate, nonylphenol ethoxylates, butylpara-
bens, dibutyl phthalate and propyl paraben. Nearly all of them
are unrelated to surfactants, but a wary public has put the indus-
try on notice and sent suppliers searching for alternatives.
“Probably the materials of the future will be made through
biochemistry such as fermentation,” predicted Gallagher.
As a result, he expects rhamnolipids to grow in importance. This
class of glycolipids is produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Rhamnolipids, sophorlipids and other glycolipid biosurfactants
have the attention of many suppliers, but much work remains.
“No company has jumped out to a leadership position; it is
very early for the technology,”maintained Gallagher. He admitted
that the biosurfactant technology costs more, but as volumes rise,
prices will come down.
The industry is giving more attention to biodegradability,
agreed Lea Seidenbinder of Seppic.
“We definitely see a shift for a more natural solution,”she said.
“Seppic offers specialty surfactant designed for gentle cleansing,
sensorial foams with the additional benefit of natural origin even
before it was trendy.”
Indeed, 100% of Seppic’s offer is from vegetable origin, ac-
cording to Seidenbinder.
“The end consumer is looking for more products (that com-
bine) great efficacy and the benefit of well being.”
Woods of Galaxy Surfactants agreed.
“Consumers are growing ever conscious of the products they
buy, the ingredients in them and where they come from,” he
noted.“Ingredient suppliers, like Galaxy Surfactants, are increasing their overall sustainability efforts and tracking their progress
against well-defined objectives to
meet these industry changes.
Filling a Need
Whether biosurfactant or a more
traditional surface active agent,
suppliers can rest easy knowing
that demand for their products
is constant. Linda Boasmond
of Cedar Concepts told Happi
that analysts expect the surfactant business for personal care
and HI&I to grow at a CAGR of
4-5.5%, driven by the development of markets in Latin America
and Asia-Pacific regions, due to rising income levels in those regions.
For example, according to Euromonitor International, the
Asia Pacific (APAC) beauty and personal care market is set to
grow by nearly 25% during the next four years, reaching a value
of $167 billion.
According to Ashland’s Zee Pongonis, disposable income is
rising in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America, and
that empowers consumers to purchase higher performing cleaning products.
“Increasingly, these formulations include label claims similar
to those found in well-established markets,” she told Happi.“This
trend bodes well for Ashland with products such as Sorez HS
205 polymer, a polymer that works synergistically with surfactant
systems designed for hard surface cleaners. At low use levels, the
polymer reduces the ability of soil to stay in place, making clean-
Pongonis said Ashland serves formulators and marketers of
cleaners with solutions that complement regional and global
Say, is that sustainable palm in your hand?