CLEAN LABEL WHAT CONSUMERS WANT Consumers typically fall into one of two categories: value- driven or purpose-driven. The value-driven consumer is primarily concerned about cost and will select a brand based on price, convenience or perceived value for the money. The purpose-driven consumer will instead select a brand based on how it aligns with personal values, such as sustainability, and is willing to pay more. In 2020, IBM conducted a survey of consumer shopping behavior in 28 countries in association with the National Retail Federation. Nearly eight in 10 respondents said sustainability was important. Seven in 10 said they were looking for specific attributes in their product choice, and nearly six in 10 would change their shopping habits to help reduce negative environmental impact (1). When shopping for a food, beverage, personal care or home care product, consumers are likely to analyze the product label. They may not recognize all of the ingredients by name, but they know what they don’t want to see. Food and beverage manufacturers often aim for no more than 10 ingredients. However, cleaning products, including liquid laundry detergents and fabric softeners, are not required by law in the EU, UK, Canada or the US to carry a list of ingredients. Most brands have begun to post general ingredient lists on their website without too much detail for competitors to snoop. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has started a voluntary program called ‘Safer Choice.’ To join, a manufacturer must submit its full ingredient deck. The EPA provides use of its Safer Choice logo to those products it considers ‘safe.’ Consumers also have an app at their disposal to help them check their purchase for the addition of microplastic polymers (2). So, what do the terms ‘clean label,’ ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainability’ mean to consumers? The three have become catch-all terms, sometimes intertwined, that can encompass almost anything. A list might consist of issues such as • Not containing chemicals harmful to my family • Toxicity of chemicals to the environment • Understanding of fragrance ingredients/use essential oils • Free from plastics • Biodegradable • Made from plants/vegan • Food-grade ingredients • Paraben free • Hypoallergenic • Gentle on skin • Cruelty free • Concentrated formula • No product waste/recyclable packaging • Good factory conditions and equal rights/livable wage for workers • Alignment with social justice issues. Now add to that, effective at stain removal, produces gentle sudsing and leaves clothes smelling fresh and looking clean! For brands, it can be hard to be all things to all consumers: Produce a high-quality product, become an expert at reducing waste, and do no harm in the process. Since we won’t be able to solve all in this article, we will try to tackle several of the formulation issues instead. TACKLING PLASTICS In 1972, the first known patent of a “plastic synthetic resin material in a state of fine comminution” to act as a scrubber was granted. Since that time, plastics began to appear in body washes, liquid face soaps, liquid laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Companies liked that they could control the consistency of shape. In personal care products, they could control degree of abrasiveness. In liquid laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dish washing liquid, they could be used as thickeners, opacifiers and pearlescents. They became a way for brands to inject newness into their formulations and a great differentiator. The microplastics also posed little to no evidence of irritation to human skin, wouldn’t decompose over shelf life and were economical – all bonuses to formulators. How to clean up home cleaning products: Leveraging the clean label trend SANDRA CATARINO, YVES BOLAND CP KELCO Keywords : • Microbeads • Microplastic polymers • Biodegradable • Sustainability • Clean label • Suspension agent • Clean label Abstract : ‘Clean label’ is a trend that continues to evolve in meaning and relevance, with multiple market intelligence sites proclaiming it a top trend for many years now. What began in the food and beverage segment as a way to eat healthier has grown to encompass a whole lifestyle. There’s now clean beauty transforming the personal care market and clean home care (clean cleaning?). What does this mean for the future of liquid laundry detergents and fabric softeners in particular? Does it mean that consumers now care as much about ingredients as the brand itself? What is driving the change and what ingredient qualities now appeal to consumers? 26 HPC Today vol. 16(1) 2021