Eco-friendly cleaning products on the rise

Sustainability remains important despite the pandemic, with some consumers prepared to place sustainability over the hip pocket.

As published in

Despite a shift to ‘harsher’ cleaning products in some markets and sectors during 2020 with consumers looking to sanitise everything in their houses, the dish care category illustrates the continuing consumer march toward more eco-friendly products.

Snooper data indicates that 25 per cent of dish liquid buyers consider eco friendliness as a top criteria when purchasing a dish product and more than 90 per cent of  shoppers are willing to try eco-friendly alternatives. However this is tempered somewhat by price, with 40 per cent indicating they would switch to eco-friendly alternatives if the price is comparable1

Nevertheless, the rise of eco-friendly products continues apace.

A 2019 article in Inside FMCG indicated that in dish care there was a shift to eco-friendly brands, with Earth Choice bought by nearly one in four dishwashing liquid buyers, up nearly two points from two years prior, and Green Choice purchased by 2.5 per cent. The growth of these brands was coming at the expense of major brands such as Morning Fresh, Palmolive and Fairy2. Roy Morgan data from the same period indicated something similar3. Eco brands in homecare had begun to proliferate, including Ecostore, Aware, Organic Choice and Uniquely Natural.

Fast forward to 2021

A snapshot from some IGA stores reviewed by Snooper shows the growth of shelf space allocated to eco products in liquid dishcare, even in a category in decline as consumers shift into dishwasher tablets due to the increase in dishwasher penetration as a result (among other reasons) of an increase in kitchen renovations since COVID4.

IGA in Summer Hill, NSW for instance showed a 3X increase in Earth Choice facings since 2014 and a 1.8X increase in facings for Uniquely Natural in the same period. Eco Store, a brand not even ranged in 2014, now has eight facings. These three brands collectively now command 39 per cent share of shelf, versus 13 per cent in 2014. [See Photos A and B below].

Photo A: Supa IGA Summer Hill, Sept 2014 – Photo B: Supa IGA Summer Hill, April 2021

Eco-related claims on pack have also increased markedly. Snooper data indicates an increase of five times for the number of facings with eco claims on pack in the period between 2014 and 2021. This has partially been driven by Palmolive’s eco packaging, given it is one of the leading brands in the dish liquid category. Palmolive claim to now use 100 per cent recycled bottles, and last year launched a biodegradable formula dish soap. Two months ago Colgate Palmolive announced a relaunch of its Ultra Dish Soap in 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles with clear recycling instructions.

Photo C: Eco-related claims on pack in Coles & Woolworths now comprise 30% – 40% of the Dish Liquid category space – Coles Mowbray, TAS (February 2021) and Woolworths Kilsyth, VIC (March 2021)

Dish category environmentally-friendly activity continues outside the aisle

Dishwashers have been getting a workout during 2020 and into 2021 due to elevated levels of cooking at home as working from home becomes the norm. Around 20 per cent of surveyed consumers in a group of high-cooking-involvement segments had purchased a dishwasher in 2020, and a similar number planned purchase in 20215. We can therefore expect to see a continuation in the rise of dishwasher tablets.

Unsurprisingly, Reckitt Benckiser’s Finish has therefore reignited its #FinishWaterWaste initiative.

Originally launched in September 2019, #FinishWaterWaste was predicated on a datapoint that presumed by stopping the consumer habit of pre-rinsing dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher, Australians could save up to 40 litres of water per load and collectively save 20 billion litres of water in one year. Australians were encouraged to share social media posts or make in-store purchases to trigger a donation of 40 litres of water, ultimately amounting to 6.8 million litres ‘delivered’ in 2019.  Offlocation displays of the initiative were observed by Snooper shoppers thoughout 2020, see Photo D below.

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