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Scent-Sational: Eco-friendly Homecare Introductions Boom

Kristen Walker, Mintel

Eco-friendly cleaning products have seen rapid growth in recent years. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), household products making claims relating to environmental sustainability and ethical practices increased nearly 700% globally between 2006 and 2008.

This flood of sustainable product introductions has brought with it a bevy of innovative formulations to further differentiate these products from their conventional counterparts. Particularly in North America, many manufacturers are complementing their natural formulations with unexpected fragrances inspired by and derived from a variety of sources, including flowers, herbs and edible ingredients.

The combination of novel scents with safer, more natural components has helped the environmentally friendly cleaning products sector appeal to the growing number of consumers concerned with the negative effects of harsh chemicals used for household chores.

Soothing with Lavender
Lavender fragrance incorporations grew by nearly 70% between 2006 and 2008 in the household care products sector. This floral fragrance boasts calming aromatherapeutic benefits and is traditionally used in many soap, bath and personal care products, making its migration into the home care category particularly noteworthy.

In the United States, Maison De-Luxe Lavender Spruce All-Purpose Spray Cleaner is an all natural cleaner that incorporates lavender, spruce, sage and chamomile essential oils. The product's mild gel formulation has nonionic emulsifiers that cut dirt and grease. It also contains essential oils and plant-based ingredients that meet the EPA's "Design for Environment" standards. This product contains no dyes, solvents, parabens, petroleum or synthetic fragrance and claims to biodegrade in 28 days.

Also available in the United States, The Caldrea Co. recently introduced its Caldrea Lavender Pine Dish Soap Liquid. This concentrated product claims to have aromatherapeutic properties and is made with the essential oils of lavender, pine needle and cedarwood. The biodegradable soap is not tested on animals and contains soap bark extract, which the company claims is one of nature's best degreasers.

Garden Variety
Beyond floral fragrances, more innovative manufacturers are looking to herbs and plant extracts as inspiration for creating naturally fragrant cleaners. With many eco-friendly products utilizing plant-based solvents and surfactants in their formulations, the introduction of botanical scents is a natural fit for the green cleaning category.

In the United States, Clean & Co.’s Mrs. Meyer's line of household cleaners incorporates basil as the signature scent for its natural product offerings. For instance, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Countertop Spray is available in a basil scent and contains a vegetable protein extract which naturally removes odors and is biodegradable, cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

In South Africa, Woolworths Earth Friendly Pomegranate & Ginger Natural Dishwashing Liquid is formulated with naturally derived, plant-based and biodegradable ingredients. This product is fragranced with natural pomegranate and ginger oils and is free from synthetic chemicals, artificial colors, animal ingredients and has not been tested on animals.

Scents from the Kitchen
Across all consumer product sectors, manufacturers are looking outside of their own categories for formulation inspiration, and the natural household products segment has been no exception. A growing number of innovative manufacturers are experimenting with a range of culinary combinations to help spice up natural cleaning formulas. From dessert inspirations to ethnic cuisine, edible scents are gaining momentum in the category.

In Canada, for instance, Wal-Mart’s Great Value line recently introduced The Green Line Bathroom Cleaner in a Mint Chocolate scent. This biodegradable cleaning product is free from dyes and artificial fragrances and is part of the "For the Greener Good" products partnership initiatives. It has not been tested on animals and retails in a bottle made from postconsumer materials.

In Vietnam, NaGoMi Dishwashing Liquid incorporates several food ingredients, including grape, green tea, persimmon and grape fruit extracts.

Finally, in the United States, Williams-Sonoma recently introduced a kitchen cleaner inspired by essences of Asian cuisine. Its Pure & Green Wasabi & Green Tea Countertop Spray incorporates natural essences of antioxidant-rich green tea leaves combined with a hint of spicy wasabi to create a refreshing citrus-floral scent. This biodegradable product is free from harsh chemicals and parabens.

Unexpected fragrances and novel ingredients add another layer of appeal to the natural cleaning products sector. As consumers become more educated about eco-friendly practices and the negative effect their actions can have on the environment as well as their health and wellbeing, green cleaning products are likely to continue to gain momentum. In particular, cleaning products that make green claims without demanding large price premiums will resonate with consumers in the current state of the economy.

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, click here or call 1-312-932-0600.

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