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Eco-friendly cleaning products gaining market share

Despite a shift to ‘harsher’ cleaning products in some markets and sectors last year with consumers looking to sanitise everything in their homes, 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 comparable. 

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

Last year, Inside FMCG reported 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 Fairy. Roy Morgan data from the same period indicated something similar. Eco brands in home care had begun to proliferate, including Ecostore, Aware, Organic Choice and Uniquely Natural. 

Fast forward to this year. 

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 Covid.

IGA in Summer Hill, NSW for instance showed a three-fold increase in Earth Choice facings since 2014 and a 1.8 times 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.

Supa IGA Summer Hill in Sept 2014 (left) and in April 2021.

Eco-related claims on pack have also increased markedly. Snooper data indicates a five-fold increase of the number of facings with eco claims on pack in the period between 2014 and this year. 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.

Eco-related claims on pack in Coles & Woolworths now comprise 30-40 per cent of the Dish Liquid category space. Coles Mowbray, Tasmania, left, in February, and Woolworths Kilsyth, VIC in March.

Dish category environmentally friendly activity continues outside the aisle

Dishwashers have been getting a workout since last year 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 2021. 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 last September, #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.  Off-location displays of the initiative were observed by Snooper shoppers throughout last year.

Finish Water Waste display located next to Method plant-based eco range in Coles Glenorchy, Tasmania, last September.

This year, Finish is upping the ante with a goal of 10 million litres of water, with support of the initiative by both Coles and Rural Aid to enable water deliveries to drought-affected farmers.

In conclusion, the space allocated to eco-friendly products as well as the proliferation of eco-packaging and environmentally-focussed activations demonstrate that the eco ‘trend’ is beyond that; it is here to stay and goes beyond simple Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Brands are expected to continue innovating in that the eco space to both attract consumers and do their part in preserving the planet.

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