Natural ingredients emerge among new global leaders in the fabric softener arena
Long-lasting fragrance continues to serve as a key driver within the global fabric softener and conditioner category. The scent of fresh laundry has evolved steadily as companies continue to introduce fabric products that move beyond the “just washed” scent to capture more fragrance experiences. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), natural botanical fragrances have raised their profile within the category.
There was a significant increase in the number of new products that were promoted as having herbal and botanical ingredients or fragrances. In products introduced globally, this was the most popular positioning claim overall in the first quarter of 2007. Essential oils have increased their popularity among other household categories, and this positioning has carried over strongly into the fabric softener arena. These essential oils not only provide a new scent experience, but they are also setting the stage for premium positioning within the category.
Popular herbal ingredients and fragrances that have surfaced within the category include lavender, jasmine, jojoba, bergamot, lemongrass, peony, mint and chamomile. In Poland, PZ Cussons released concentrated fabric conditioner under the E Naturals brand. The conditioner comes in a new range that features mint and chamomile extracts. The Red Grapefruit and Cactus fragrance variant is also available.
Fabric softener companies are also using essential oil positioning to elevate more intimate connectivity. Persan has released San Concentrated Fabric Conditioner, with lavender and chamomile scent. The product, launched in Spain, claims to have relaxing properties that can help provide a calmer sleep. Colgate-Palmolive has also debuted its aromatherapy fabric conditioner in Singapore. It features essential oils of lavender and ylang ylang, and claims to soften and fragrance laundry while awakening the senses. The range also includes a variety that features essential oils of orange and bergamot.
Beyond essential oils and botanicals, fabric softeners and conditioners also are starting to infuse ingredients and fragrances that have traditionally been associated with body lotions and other personal care products. Almond, vanilla and honey are known for their scents and can be found in a number of moisturizers. However, they are now elevating their appearance in the new product sector as well. In Austria, Erdal Rex released Frosch Fabric Softener Almond Milk. The product is based on vegetables, and the almond scent provides light freshness.
Tomil in Poland has introduced Wansou Summer Mild Fabric Softener, a concentrated fabric softener with honey extract. The product claims to reduce static and make clothes smell pleasantly fresh. In the United Kingdom, Procter & Gamble released Fairy Naturals Fabric Softener, blending almond milk and honey fragrances.
Flowers continue to remain widespread within the category, with several innovative fragrances surfacing. Key fragrances and flower ingredients include dandelion, lotus flower, orchid, lily, violet, hibiscus, rose, orange blossom and almond blossom. D Masoutis launched Mr. Grand Maitre Fabric Conditioner in Greece. Fragranced with a wild roses scent, the product comes unscented as well. In the United States, Good Home Co. Laundry Fragrance has debuted. This line is available in Lavender, Dandelion, and Pure Grass varieties.
Innovative scents continue to be born from the fruit fragrance and ingredient category as well. The first quarter of the year brought GNPD introductions in the fabric softener and conditioner category that included several fruit fragrances. These include apple, melon, mandarin, lime, orange and grapefruit. Unilever has launched Cajoline Concentrated Fabric Conditioner in a bold Orange Salsa fragrance. The product also contains perfumed microcapsules, claiming to both stimulate the senses and provide a long-lasting diffusion. Procter & Gamble in the United States has also introduced Ultra Gain Joyful Expressions Fabric Softener in Mandarin Lime Fusion scent, developed to compliment the fragrance-heavy detergent counterpart that is also manufactured under the Joyful Expressions category.
As natural positioning continues to build within the laundry category, botanical and herbal ingredients will continue to thrive and diversify. In addition, more exotic fragrances are predicted to move on the horizon to continue stimulating further interest in the overall category.
Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, visit www.mintel.com or call 1-312-932-0600.