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Trust, transparency and biorenewable surfactants


Consumer Products, Stepan Company, Northfield IL, USA


As consumers become more concerned with the products used in, on and around them, ingredient and product manufacturers are sharing more information on the compositions of personal care and home cleaning products and the origins of the ingredients used. Through labeling, website communication and certifications, manufacturers are providing transparency to ensure the trust of consumers. Innovations in surfactants derived from biorenewable sources also connect with consumers’ desire for more natural and sustainable products.

If you asked a consumer to sum up their expectations of personal care and home care products, I believe they would agree with the statement, “Provide a benefit and do no harm,” meaning do no harm to people, the environment or future generations. That is a considerable ask for a shampoo or a laundry detergent! However, that is our challenge. Consumers are not buying products just to perform a task, they are scrutinizing the companies that make these products and the ingredients they use.

According to a recent study by Mintel, 55% of consumers in the United States expect brands to be a force for positive change and 58% say they avoid brands that they believe act unethically (1). Euromonitor International describes this trend as “Mindful Consumerism” “All natural” and “Clean label” claims are becoming increasingly commonplace due to consumers’ growing prioritization of well-being and healthy living (2). 

Euromonitor International’s 2017 Global Consumer Trends Survey of consumers’ purchasing habits and views on environmental issues found that: 26% of respondents stated that buying eco- or ethically-conscious product ...

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