Home care – overview of March and April’s new product launches

This bi-monthly summary highlight some of the most interesting product launches in home care, with a focus on the direction the industry is taking in terms of innovation and developments.

The smell of success

With spring cleaning in the minds of many consumers, home care manufacturers have been looking to capitalise with a host of new launches hitting the shelves, with many focusing their innovation on scents. Home care manufacturers are well aware of the importance of fragrance, which more often than not can swing the final decision on a product purchase.

With spending power returning to both consumers and manufacturers, innovations in scent – generally the most expensive ingredient in a home care product – may well see renewed activity throughout the year as the global economy further stabilises.

Bursts of fragrance for Bold

Procter & Gamble has re-launched its Bold 2in1 portfolio in the UK to incorporate Perfume Micro Capsule (PMC) technology, which claims to offer 12 hours of freshness in garments that are being worn. The new PMC technology diffuses perfume capsules through the clothes during the wash, which remain intact until worn.

Through touch, movement or heat, the capsules burst individually, each time releasing the scent. As part of the re-launch, Bold is also unveiling a new scent – Crystal Rain & White Lily – playing on the natural and emotive trends that are still proving popular with consumers and driving the direction of scent innovation.

Comfort and Surf combined

Also in UK laundry care, Unilever has announced a £5.3 million media push for its Comfort and Surf brands, specifically the Twilight Sensations range, which is available in Jasmine & Black Gardenia and Vanilla & Black Orchid.

For the first time a single campaign will promote both brands, aiming to drive customer awareness of the benefit of using Comfort Twilight Sensations and Surf Twilight Sensations together – namely an enhanced fragrance experience.

Mr Clean brings freshness to the bathroom

Outside of laundry care, fragrance is still asserting an influence over innovation. Procter & Gamble has expanded its Mr Clean range in the US market, launching a new line targeted specifically at the bathroom. The new products include the Mr Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber with Febreze and Mr Clean Disinfecting Bath Cleaner with Febreze, which will be available in Meadows & Rain and Lavender Vanilla & Comfort fragrances.

As well as promising enhanced cleaning capabilities and germ-killing properties, the new line promises to leave bathrooms smelling fresh with the scent of Febreze – bringing fragrance to a sector in which sales have primarily been driven by functionality. In addition, the brand has also launched Mr Clean with Febreze Freshness Antibacterial Citrus & Light in both pourable multi-surface cleaner and all-purpose spray formats, which again promise to fragrance the home.

It’s all about image in air care

While scent is obviously of prime importance in the air care sector, here manufacturers are also innovating in terms of format, specifically taking the product beyond being merely functional and adding more visual appeal that will complement the home and catch the eye of image-conscious consumers from the supermarket shelves.

Manufacturers will be hoping this move into design-led products will provide a boost for the sector, which saw sluggish sales in the developed markets of North America and Western Europe in 2009.

Ambi-Pur finds a new format

Procter & Gamble, which launched Ambi-Pur National Geographic scents in July 2009 in the UK market, has expanded the range to include Alaska Glacier Bay, the third fragrance in the line. More significantly, the company has now also expanded the National Geographic range to include a new reed diffuser format. National Geographic Reeds, a first for the brand, is available in Japan Tatami and Nevada Desert Flower and is designed as a decorative item for the home.

The reeds naturally absorb perfume from the bottle and release it gently into the air to fragrance the entire room. The launch of the reeds was supported in March by a £1.5 million television and press campaign.

Design goes one step further with no spills

In the US, Procter & Gamble has furthered this format innovation by expanding the Febreze Home Collection to include a No Spill Wood Diffuser. The No Spill Wood Diffuser offers a new take on the reed diffuser and boasts a spill-free design.

The No Spill Wood Diffuser allows Febreze scented oils to be absorbed into the wood from a sealed perfume jar then diffused through the air to fragrance the room without the worry or hassle of spills. Scents available include Willow Blossom, Pomegranate Mango, Green Tea Citrus and Honeysuckle Orchid. The new product is available only at Wal-Mart from now to September 2010 and then in other major retailers.

Co-ordination comes to toilet care

While toilet care will possibly always be the least glamorous home care sector, this has not stopped UK manufacturer Jeyes from launching two new limited-edition design-led toilet care products in May under the Bloo brand.

New liquid toilet cleaners will be available in turquoise-coloured Flower Festival and hot pink Fruity Burst and will be accompanied by colour co-ordinated toilet rim blocks. The manufacturer says the colourful matching range means products can be co-ordinated with and displayed alongside other bathroom products and accessories.

Sticking with stain removal

The marked upturn in activity in the laundry care sector evident earlier in 2010 continues, and remains largely driven by innovations in stain removal. As the spot and stain remover category is predicted to show strong global value growth to 2014 it is no surprise that even more detergent manufacturers are looking to add value to their ranges by launching products in the category.

Ariel and Dash target Europe

Procter & Gamble has launched its Ariel/Dash Stain Remover range in Belgium and the Netherlands, with launches in further European countries expected to follow. The product is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

The range includes in-wash booster and pre-treater products, which the manufacturer claims are more effective at removing fresh and dried-in stains in the first wash. The range is available in powder, gel, spray and liquitab format, although format availability varies by country.

A Boost for your detergent

UK manufacturer Challs International, which is primarily known for its Buster range of plughole unblockers, has announced the launch of Boost Your Wash stain
remover in May.

The product, which will retail at £3.99, is designed to be added to the wash alongside a traditional detergent to shift stubborn stains. Boost Your Wash is to be used specifically on clothing and the manufacturer says it also includes odour control and antibacterial properties.

Sun Products goes head-to-head

Sun Products Corp is also jumping on the stain removal bandwagon with the launch of All Oxi-Active laundry detergent in April, a 2-in-1 detergent with added stain-fighting power for the US market, which is going head-to-head for market share with the recently launched Arm & Hammer plus OxiClean and OxiClean Max Force Liqui-gel.

Environmental factors extend their influence

March and April has also seen continued launch activity in terms of environmentally-friendly home care products, particularly in the US. The trend is unlikely to show any sign of abating throughout 2010 as environmental concerns continue to weigh heavily on consumers as a result of continued media attention. Emphasising the growing importance of green, two of the US’ major players have recently expanded their environmentally-friendly ranges.

Duane Reade expands its range

New York’s largest chemist chain, Duane Reade, is expanding the number of environmentally-friendly products on its shelves. As part of this, the company has launched new green home care products under Duane Reade’s Apt 5 private label line. The Apt 5 Goes Green line now includes a multi-purpose cleaner, a bathroom cleaner, a dishwasher detergent, a hand dishwashing detergent and a glass cleaner. All items are priced at US$3.99.

In addition to the Apt 5 line, Duane Reade has also formed an exclusive partnership with Ecostore USA to carry Ecostore’s plant- and mineral-based household cleaning products, including EcoStore laundry liquid. The store has also added Method laundry detergent and Dapple Baby-Safe Toy & Surface cleaner to its shelves.

Clorox Green Works heads into hotels

Home care manufacturer Clorox has also expanded its environmentally-friendly Green Works range with four new concentrated products for the hotel market. Green Works Concentrates are designed for commercial cleaning and are aimed at helping hotels improve their green credentials.

The line was designed to meet all of a hotel’s cleaning needs and includes General Purpose Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Neutral Floor Cleaner and Glass Cleaner.

Rug Doctor launches niche wipes

Environmentally-friendly products are now also creeping into more niche categories, and again this is likely to continue. Rug Doctor has launched three eco-friendly carpet cleaning products, adding to the company’s existing line of environmentally-friendly Green Formula carpet cleaning products.

The new Spot & Stain Remover Wipes for general cleaning and Urine Eliminator Wipes for pet stains are biodegradable, and come in recyclable packages of 24 per pack. Also available is Rug Doctor’s new concentrated 2X Pet Formula Carpet Cleaner.