Novozymes Ready for Possible Revolution in Dishwashing

Growing international concern about phosphate levels is not only impacting the laundry care market but is now also affecting dishwashing detergents, so much so that the category is set for a major shake-up in terms of product formulation in the coming years. One company that appears to be on top of the situation and ready to cash in on changing industry needs is Novozymes, which has recently launched two new enzymes specifically for dishwashing applications.  

Introduced in North America this year, Blaze Evity and Stainzyme Plus Evity are positioned as effective additions to automatic dishwashing detergents, helping to remove soiling and provide consumers with a consistent performance. At the same time – like virtually all products in the Novozymes portfolio – they are positioned on an environmental platform and are suitable for eco programmes on dishwashers, allowing cleaning with more efficient use of water and energy. The marketing literature for the new Evity suite of enzymes also makes much of the enzymes’ efficacy in both phosphate and phosphate-free detergents, and this is likely to be one of the prime selling points in North America at present.

US leading the way

In the US, restrictions on the use of phosphates in automatic dishwashing detergents have already led to changes in product formulation, and the search is on for the most effective alternatives. With many alternatives falling short in terms of results, Novozymes is hoping that manufacturers will start to tackle the issue enzymatically, and is claiming that its ingredients can improve the performance of phosphate-free formulations. If this is generally accepted to be the case, there could be significant scope for enzymes in the dishwashing category in the future.

At present, dishwashing applications account for around only 2% of global enzyme use, compared with 60% for laundry detergents. However, in North America, dishwashing is more established, with a 7% share of enzyme volumes, compared with 46% for laundry care, reflecting both greater penetration of automatic dishwashing detergents overall and manufacturer willingness to adopt enzymes as active ingredients.

Will the EU follow suit?

Although the EU is yet to follow the US lead in terms of legislative bans on phosphates, proposals to do so have been made and it is entirely possible that the use of phosphates in dishwashing detergents could be restricted by law by 2015. If this is the case, Novozymes is likely to extend coverage of its Evity enzymes. At the same time, the company could well invest some of its sizeable R&D budget in developing new enzymes for dishwashing applications to tap into the future needs of product formulators.