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Enzymes and hand dishwashing; a primary ingredient for secondary claims

Euromonitor International Ltd.
60-61 Britton Street, London EC1M 5UX, United Kingdom


Hand dishwashing has gone through something of a revolution in the past decade or two. Advertising is a great way to observe this evolution of efficacy and claims; the days of grease-cutting efficacy backed by ‘long-lasting bubbles’ and ‘kind to hands’. While these claims remain and are still relevant to consumers, they now also vie for attention alongside a host of fragrances, antibacterial options, as well as a more recent round of heightened efficacy claims. New efficacy in hand dishwashing has tended to be based around ‘no scrubbing’ or ‘the power of an overnight soak in minutes’; these are powerful claims, which have continued to make hand dishwashing relevant to households that own a dishwasher, even though automatic dishwashing encourages us not to ‘pre-rinse’. The truth is that manual dishwashing is engrained and even enjoyed by some, and the advent of heightened enzymatic functionality appears to have kept hand dishwashing relevant in what is increasingly an age of automation.

Enzymes can very much be considered as the engine room of broadening functionality offered by a host of home care products. The fact they are also ‘natural’ (at least ‘replenishable’) and have been deployed to help push sustainability, makes them, on the face of it, quite magical ingredients.
It is little surprise then that hand dishwashing, one of the most vibrant categories in home care, has been particularly active in incorporating a broader range of enzymes, primarily in a bid to boost functionality and also (maybe less overtly) sustainability. Looking on a global level the growth of enzyme usage in dishwashing has been quite spectacular; volumes increased by a staggering 40% over the 2009-2014 period, with little sign this growth will slow as usage looks like becoming even more established in key markets such as Western Europe. It is also worth pointing out that over the same period, hand dishwashing saw a volume increase of 3%, while value gains were closer to 5%; an indication that compaction (in part enabled by enzymes) has been a key trend in hand dishwashing as with the home care market in general.


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