Industry News, Cosmetics & Persnoal Cares

Ready for Wrinkles In Any Business Plan

Ready for Wrinkles In Any Business Plan

Pandemics and price increases; wars and bad weather. The only thing predictable about the past three years is that no one can predict what will happen next for manufacturers and their suppliers in the global household products industry. Many of them were in Orlando last month for the annual meeting and industry convention of the American Cleaning Institute (see p.78).

All agreed that sustainability and growth were key components of conversations during the event.

According to Ralph Schweens, president, care chemicals, BASF, 2022 was certainly tumultuous, but a year marked with good demand for most of it.

“Consumers don’t stop working or cleaning. Demand was stable, and there were higher levels of demand for cleaning products than before covid,” he told Happi.

Now, with consumers traveling again and life returning to normal, BASF is cautiously optimistic that demand will pick up in North America. Marcelo Lu, SVP-care chemicals, North America, BASF, noted that demand in China was a bit slower during China Lunar New Year, but BASF is well positioned with more capacity in China and Europe.

“Our supply chains are very resilient,” added Lu. “We see the benefits of keeping some supply chains regionalized.”

And with China coming out of covid restrictions, BASF and other executives expect demand to pick up in the second and third quarter of the year.

“In 2023, the conversation is moving from price and supply to see where we can innovate sustainably,” noted Brad Pearson, global business director, cleaning goods, Nouryon. “Our customers continue to be increasingly focused on growth and commercializing solutions which meet consumer needs.”

Sales of home care products have stabilized, too. Suzanne Carroll, SVP-home & personal care, Nouryon, observed that while the pandemic led to a greater demand for cleaning products, as the pandemic subsided, sales stabilized at a higher level than pre-pandemic.

Univar Solutions posted record results in 2022, and Aaron Lee, global VP-homecare & industrial cleaning, said he came out of ACI with a lot of optimism for the year ahead, despite initial headwinds at the start of 2023.

“Customers are working through higher inventory levels, but we don’t anticipate that lasting past the first quarter.”

Innovations in Cleaning

Nouryon launched an antimicrobial active in the US. Triameen Y12D is said to enable formulators to create high-efficiency disinfectants for a range of uses including HI&I applications. According to Nouryon, Triameen Y12D is a highly efficient antimicrobial active with broad spectrum effectiveness to address bacteria, including mycobacteria, fungi, as well as select viruses. It has a strong sustainability profile and requires lower dosages than quaternary ammonium products.

“Our new antimicrobial active technology is quite unique,” said Stuart Holt, strategic marketing manager, cleaning goods, Nouryon.

By using non-quaternary ammonium technology, Triameen Y12D is different from other widely used antimicrobials in the US, according to Nouryon. It is also free of aldehydes and halogens and is non-sensitizing. In addition to the enhanced dose-effectiveness benefits compared to quats, Triameen Y12D is said to have an outstanding sustainability profile. The product, “as sold,” is easy-to-handle, highly active (92%), readily biodegradable and is majority- biobased (67% renewable carbon index).

The performance of Triameen Y12D can be boosted by formulating disinfectants with Nouryon’s portfolio of green chelating ingredients, including Dissolvine M-40 and GL-47-S products.

BASF is promoting two high performance blends for home care and industrial & institutional cleaning. Dehypound M is billed as a sustainable nonionic surfactant with superior performance. It is readily biodegradable and 71% biobased. Application possibilities include manual dishwash detergents; hard surface cleaners; car, truck, rail and marine cleaners; aerosol cleaners and detergents; and acid and alkaline cleaners. According to BASF, Dehypound M has excellent low film and streak performance. Its moderately high foam profile is ideal for foam and aerosol dispensing. Finally, Dehypound M makes it easy to formulate alkaline products.

Dehypound HDG is a nonionic surfactant with excellent multi-soil cleaning properties, according to BASF. It is said to provide powerful cleaning without solvents and superior degreasing over a wide temperature range. BASF describes it as a “high performance multi-application solution for a broad range of soils.” Its high active level makes it ideal for concentrated formulations.

Furthermore, it is compatible with nonionic, anionic, cationic and amphoteric surfactants, and both strong acid and alkali products.

With more formulators eager to create enzymatic-based cleaning systems, BASF offers several options. Lavergy C Bright 100L provides strong anti-graying performance at low temperatures on cotton. It is easy to formulate into liquid concentrates and is compatible with Lavergy protease types.

Lavergy Pro 114 LS is a non-boron stabilized protease that provides high cleaning performance at low wash temperatures. According to BASF, it has very good stability with other enzymes in detergent formulations.

BASF also has solutions to the 1,4 dioxane issue impacting so many household and personal product formulations. A New York state law limits personal care and household cleaning products to 1ppm 1,4 dioxane by the end of 2023. BASF’s 1,4 dioxane calculator enables users to select a BASF ingredient or an ingredient from outside BASF and instantly see if the formulation is less than 1ppm.

Cepsa Química is the leading supplier of linear alkylbenzene. According to Charly Eid, VP-global surfactants business, Cepsa’s NextLab is a new family of products that enables formulators to create sustainable laundry detergents without reformulating and without sacrificing performance.

“Our customers are looking for a drop-in solution that can also lower their carbon footprint,” said Eid.

NextLab is said to provide excellent washing performance, provide flexibility and processability, with good compatibility with other ingredients. At the same time, it reduces global warming potential 25-35% (cradle to gate) and is obtained from renewable raw materials.

Unilever is already using NextLab in its detergent offerings.

Expansions around the world

Nouryon has recently expanded application development centers in Deventer, the Netherlands and Chattanooga, TN. The investments provide advanced solution provider capabilities dedicated to cleaning in Europe and North America. According to Nouryon, the expansion accelerates meaningful and sustainable innovation to meet the evolving needs of the cleaning market, while supporting the company’s existing global network of application development centers.

“Agility is important right now. As a mid-sized company, we can move faster,” asserted Carroll. “Our centers of excellence are local, too. We can meet the customer exactly where they are located.”

Nouryon has 11 application and development centers. They offer advanced performance-in-use testing for hard surface cleaning, dishwashing, and laundry applications, with the ability to evaluate processes under household, industrial, and institutional conditions. These capabilities will also support advanced analytical competencies, ecotoxicity development, and regulatory compliance.

“Collaboration with our customers is critical for accelerating the development of novel, high efficiency, and more sustainable cleaning solutions,” said Carroll. “Our investment marks an expansion in resources, equipment and technical competency, allowing us to enhance our essential solutions and deliver more robust value to our customers.”

Last year, Nouryon announced an expansion of biodegradable chelates production in the Netherlands to meet growing consumer demand for eco-friendly auto dishwashing and liquid laundry products. Upon the completion of this plant, the investment will double the company’s Dissolvine green chelates capacity by supplying Dissolvine MGDA (Methylglycine N,N-diacetic trisodium salt) and Dissolvine GLDA (Glutamic acid, N,N-diacetic tetrasodium salt).

“There is a lot of movement toward green chelates,” explained Holt. “We bring together a unique chelating agent infrastructure and novel products.”

The facility will complement the company’s existing plants in Ningbo, China and Lima, OH. Nouryon has application development centers for the cleaning end-market in Deventer, Stenungsund, Sweden, and in the US (Bridgewater, NJ and Chattanooga, TN).

Univar Solutions continues to expand in 2023. The addition of Kale Kimya, a specialty ingredients distributor based in Turkey with a focus in home care and industrial cleaning, and beauty and personal care will help Univar expand and grow in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Most recently, it acquired ChemSol in Central America that will expand Univar’s specialty footprint in the region.

Sustainability Goals

During ACI week, sustainability and natural formulations were key topics of conversation for many industry executives. In fact, Schweens pointed out that innovation is not possible without sustainability. By 2030, 100% of BASF 2021 global power demand will be obtained from renewable resources. Furthermore, the company has set a net zero emissions goal by 2050. Sustainability efforts go far beyond in-house efforts, note industry suppliers.

“Our customers are looking for sustainable formulations that offer multifunctionality while maintaining performance at a comparable price point to conventional chemistries,” said Lee.

He noted growing demand for biosurfactants, too. While sophorolipids and rhamnolipids are not new, their sustainability profile has found functionality in various home care applications.

“We have partnered with key producers in this space on the various alternatives available,” he explained. “Realizing that some customers are still early on the path of adoption of biosurfactants, we have solutions no matter where they are in their sustainability journey. Whether biosurfactants are used as a primary or secondary surfactant, the investments in this area cannot be ignored, and we are proud to support our customers as a leader in this space.”

In other sustainability initiatives, Univar is aligning with suppliers that are taking similar climate actions to reduce carbon emissions and have like-minded codes of conduct for sustainable sourcing and solutions.

“We are already working with many of the leaders in sustainable products such as enzymes and microbials, through our partnership with Novozymes,” said Lee. “We have also partnered with leaders in surfactants and green preservation.”

In fact, Univar solution centers worldwide have more than 300 HIC projects with most having a sustainable facet to support customers.

“Whether it is a 100% bio-based detergent or a customer looking to make their product more eco-friendly, our technical services team excels at sustainable innovation, helping our customers formulate multifunctional products to provide a more sustainable cleaning portfolio,” said Lee.

By the end of 2030, Nouryon will reduce Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, and reduce total waste intensity and water consumption by 10%, v. a 2019 base year. Nouryon was awarded an EcoVadis Platinum rating for its sustainability performance in 2022.

“We started from scratch four years ago and we achieved a platinum rating in a very short period of time,” observed Carroll.

“We’re excited to reach it and keep it,” added Pearson.

Future Trends

According to Lee, three trends will drive the cleaning product sector in 2023:

  • Refillables and ecofriendly products;
  • Products with dual functionality; and
  • Cost-effective reformulations.

Lee cited a Mintel report that found the top two innovations that consumers are looking for are ecofriendly products in reusable or refillable packaging. But at the same time, consumers demand more than ecofriendly formulas.

“Although products must be green, they also must provide some other functionality,” he asserted. “For example, a hard surface cleaner that also provides immunity support. Or a natural laundry detergent that eliminates the buildup of biofilms or functions in low temperature,” he noted, too, that more consumers traded down to less expensive cleaning brands in 2022.

“The younger demographic is also starting to trade down due inflation,” observed Lee. “And 27% of consumers are worried about utility costs, according to Mintel.”

Is a recession, or worse, stagflation, ahead? Suppliers don’t have a crystal ball, but they’re making investments to ride out many economic uncertainties.

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