Laundry Detergent Product Launch

Part
01
of five
Part
01

Ingredient Transparency: Canada

Sources published from 2017 to present provide inconsistent information. It appears, however, that the key takeaway is that even though both consumer awareness of ingredient transparency and consumer demand for ingredient transparency have increased, a considerable percentage of consumers are still confused or overwhelmed about ingredients and product claims and buy products that are not good for them, their families, and the environment. Insights specific to Canadian consumers are limited, so they were supplemented with insights specific to American consumers.

Consumer Awareness of Ingredient Transparency

  • A report published by Environmental Defence Canada in 2017 shows that at the time, most Canadian consumers did not actively research cleaning or personal care product ingredients and were not that aware of the level of ingredient transparency that was available to them.
  • One Canadian consumer shared with the organization that the only thing that had ever stopped him or her from buying a cleaning or personal care product was if the media had reported that the product is harmful to human health.
  • Another Canadian consumer wrongly assumed that every cleaning or personal care product on the market had been tested rigorously by a regulatory agency.
  • Yet another Canadian consumer shared that he or she has faith that a household product that is already on the market and is sold at well-known stores is not bad for him or her.
  • Focus group discussions showed that at the time, only a small percentage of Canadian consumers read ingredient lists completely or looked out for certain harmful ingredients.
  • Most Canadian consumers at the time wrongly believed that "Canadian laws mandated the rigorous testing of personal care and cleaning products." They were more concerned about brand recognition, brand reputation, price, and scent than long-term health impacts.
  • Canadian laws at the time also did not provide for the full disclosure of ingredients in household cleaning products and of unintentional ingredients and fragrance ingredients in personal care products.
  • Recent data to directly compare this 2017 Canadian data with could not be located in the public domain. However, NSF International, a product testing and certification organization, polled American consumers in 2019 and found that of American consumers, 34% scarcely or never verify product claims, and 46% have bought a product even though they were not sure of the veracity of the product claim.
  • Based on these figures, it seems that despite concerns about the impact of product ingredients on their health, a considerable percentage of American consumers still do not prioritize ingredient transparency over other purchase considerations.
  • It seems that even though they are aware of the benefits of ingredient transparency, some American consumers would still not actively research and choose products or brands that offer full transparency.

Consumer Demand for Ingredient Transparency

  • Environmental Defence Canada's 2017 report shows that while ingredient transparency was not top of mind for Canadians at the time, its usefulness and importance were apparent to Canadians, and it was something that Canadians desire.
  • Canadians at the time acknowledged how useful it would be to see readily identifiable information or warning labels on the product indicating that harmful chemicals are present and may bring about serious health risks.
  • They admitted that such information or labels would make them think twice about purchasing a cleaning or personal care product.
  • To provide an added perspective, according to market research firm Mintel, in 2017, 79% of American consumers who clean their homes agreed that it is essential for cleaning products to completely list their ingredients. Among millennials, this percentage was 83%.
  • Of American consumers who clean their homes, 94% would be loyal to a cleaning brand that provides full transparency, 81% would consider trying the entire portfolio of a cleaning brand that provides full transparency, and 39% would switch to a cleaning brand that provides more transparency.
  • Recent data to directly compare this 2017 data with could not be located in the public domain. An article published by Progressive Grocer in late 2018 only shows that according to Brian Sansoni, the vice president for communications and outreach at the Washington-based American Cleaning Institute, "product transparency is the new normal."

Consumer Perceptions of Ingredient Transparency

  • Based on Environmental Defence Canada's 2017 report, there were consumer concerns at the time about how adequate, clear, and consistent information on cleaning and personal care products was.
  • There were concerns that the messaging was confusing and that it was hard to ascertain how safe a product is.
  • A focus group participant commented that the writing on the back of cleaning and personal care products is so tiny that it is "almost like they don't want you to know."
  • Another focus group participant shared that "they never tell you exactly what's in there.. it doesn't say exactly what's inside."
  • In 2017, Clean Production Action, a Massachusetts-based organization, reported that according to SC Johnson, a leading manufacturer of cleaning products, "more and more, consumers want to know what's in the products they bring into their homes."
  • Recent data to directly compare this 2017 Canadian data with could not be located in the public domain. NSF International's 2019 survey only indicates that of American consumers, the percentage who find product claims valuable is almost equal to the percentage who find product claims confusing, meaningless, or overwhelming.

Research Strategy

Surveys and interviews of and articles and reports on consumers of household products such as personal care products and cleaning products were examined. Data specific to Canadian consumers is limited, so we decided to supplement it with the next best data available, i.e., data specific to American consumers. Since both Canada and the United States are in the same geographic region and are both developed countries, we assume that the behavior of Canadian consumers is not that different from the behavior of American consumers. Sources published from 2017 to present were examined to determine how consumer awareness, demand, and perceptions of ingredient transparency have changed over time.
Part
02
of five
Part
02

Concerned Consumers: Phychographics

A psychographic profile of Canadian and American consumers who are concerned about the ingredients in the personal care or household cleaning products they buy is provided below. Insights specific to Canadian consumers are limited, so they were supplemented with insights specific to American consumers.

Trusted Sources When Researching Product Claims

  • A survey commissioned by product certification organization NSF International in 2019 shows that when researching claims made by manufacturers of products such as cleaning products and personal care products, American consumers find government agencies and independent third-party certification suppliers highly trustworthy.
  • When researching product claims, 85% trust independent third-party certification organizations, while 78% trust government agencies.
  • Eighty-three percent of American consumers would trust a cleaning product more if its claims have been certified by an independent certifying body.

Desired Information When Researching Products

  • An article published in 2019 shows that according to the D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, an organization that has recently teamed up with SC Johnson and Clorox, 80% would purchase a product if its ingredients list could be easily understood.
  • However, based on this same article, 70% of consumers want to learn more about a product and desire more than just an ingredients list.
  • According to Brian Sansoni, the senior vice president for communications, membership, and outreach at the American Cleaning Institute, more and more consumers are seeking sustainability-related attributes not only in ingredients but in packaging, sourcing, and other product aspects as well.
  • The results of the 2019 Natural Beauty Survey show that Canadian beauty and personal care consumers behave similarly. According to this survey, "Canadians are putting their money where their mouth is and are looking to make informed decisions from a 360-perspective."
  • Canadian consumers no longer look at just the ingredient list. Before making a purchase, they consider the brand's production, packaging, and environmental impact as well.
  • As far as product ingredients are concerned, 89% of Canadian consumers desire more transparency from brands about their product ingredients, and 81% of Canadian consumers want to learn where these ingredients come from.

Product Preferences

  • Based on the Natural Beauty Survey, Canadian consumers prefer brands that share their values, use all-natural ingredients and environment-friendly packaging, and do not perform animal testing.
  • Seventy-seven percent of Canadian adults would support brands that use environment-friendly packaging.
  • Seventy-two percent of Canadian adults would support brands that do not perform animal testing.
  • Seventy-two percent of Canadian adults would support brands that use all-natural ingredients.
  • Sixty-two percent of Canadian adults would support brands that share their values.
  • According to Melanie Armstrong, the Canadian country manager at personal care company Tom's of Maine, "Canadians are altruistic consumers who are actively seeking products that are better for them and the environment and in turn are asking more from the brands they use daily."
  • Armstrong said their customers are glad they do not have to sacrifice their values just to get an effective product.

Social Factors Affecting Purchase Intention

  • An article published by the Harvard Business Review in 2019 shows that a lot of consumers say they want sustainable products but only a few buy them.
  • Based on this article, there are some ways social influence can be used to convince these consumers to buy.
  • Consumers want to fit in and are more likely to buy a sustainable product if other consumers around them are buying that product.
  • Consumers are more likely to buy a sustainable product if their sustainability-related behaviors and commitments are made public.

Values

  • A report published in 2019, called The New Age of Naturals, shows that consumers of natural or organic beauty and personal care products seek the truth and are principled, socially aware, and concerned about the welfare of the environment.
  • For over 90% of these consumers, the brand needs to list all ingredients not only on the product package but on the product website as well.
  • For 81% of these consumers, the brand must not perform animal testing.
  • For 72% of these consumers, the brand needs to pay its employees a living wage.
  • For 71% of these consumers, the brand needs to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility.
  • For 76% of these consumers, the brand needs to be green or environment-friendly.
  • Seventy-five percent of these consumers expect the product packaging to list the expected benefits or results.
  • Fifty-two percent of these consumers expect product effectiveness to be supported by scientific evidence.
  • Eighty-six percent of these consumers expect the product to have positive online customer reviews.

Purchase Considerations

  • Nielsen's report in 2016 that details the home cleaning and laundry attitudes of consumers around the world shows that consumers have several considerations when choosing household cleaners.
  • Among these purchase considerations are the efficacy of the product, the price of the product, the trustworthiness of the product, the size of the product package, and the environment-friendliness of the product.

Research Strategy

Surveys and interviews of and articles and reports on consumers of household products such as personal care products and cleaning products were examined. Recently published data specific to Canadian consumers is limited, so we decided to supplement it with the next best data available, i.e., data specific to American consumers. Since both Canada and the United States are in the same geographic region and are both developed countries, we assume that the behavior of Canadian consumers is not that different from the behavior of American consumers. One older source, which was published by Nielsen in 2016 and has a global scope, was included because it is specific to cleaning and laundry.
Part
03
of five
Part
03

Natural Laundry Detergent Purchase Barriers

Product claims that are confusing or untrustworthy, the perception that natural household cleaning products are of lower quality, and the perception that natural household cleaning products are far more expensive than conventional household cleaning products are some common factors that hinder American consumers from buying natural household cleaning products. Insights specific to American consumers were provided because insights specific to Canadian consumers could not be located in the public domain.

Product Claims That Are Confusing or Untrustworthy

  • Confusing, overwhelming, meaningless, or untrustworthy product claims appear to be one of the factors that hinder consumers from purchasing natural household cleaning products.
  • NSF International, a product testing and certification body, polled American consumers in 2019 and found that nearly 50% of them find product claims "confusing, overwhelming or meaningless"
  • According to Lisa Yakas, a senior product certification manager at the organization, "it's clear that many consumers have questions and concerns about the safety and authenticity of the products they buy, but they don't always know whom to trust or where to turn for an honest answer."
  • NSF International's survey shows that safety is the top priority of most Americans when it comes to cleaning products. According to this survey, 83% of Americans would be more inclined to trust a cleaning product if it has been certified by an independent organization.
  • Brands and manufacturers that make unverified or uncertified product claims cause confusion and mistrust among consumers.
  • Some consumers do not know how to research and confirm product claims, and some consumers may not know that there are independent third-party organizations that test and certify products.
  • Forty-eight percent of American consumers are not aware that cleaning products can be certified by third parties for safety.
  • Another survey, this time conducted by sustainability leader Genomatica in 2019, shows that of American consumers who read labels of sustainable products, 74% have a hard time understanding these labels, do not know many of the ingredients listed, and are unaware of ways to learn more about these ingredients.
  • According to Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling, "consumers have a craving to be environmentally-friendly and make sustainable choices, but many don't know what ingredients make up their products, and how sustainable those ingredients are."

Perception that Natural Cleaning Products Are of Lower Quality

  • An article published by Harvard Business Review in 2019 shows that American consumers typically associate sustainable product choices with lower quality.
  • In the article, an example was cited where people who valued the cleaning strength of a car cleaner were found to be less inclined to choose natural and more sustainable car cleaners.
  • According to the article, one way for a natural or sustainable brand to overcome this barrier is to highlight its product's features that are positively viewed by consumers and place less emphasis on the product's green credentials.

Perception that Natural Cleaning Products Are More Expensive

  • An article published in 2020 by The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, shows that natural household cleaning products tend to be pricey.
  • According to this article, consumer advocacy group Choice does not endorse these cleaners because "they tend to be quite expensive and they tend not to work as well as the ones full of heavy chemicals."
  • A Forbes contributor noted that a natural household cleaner, such as that sold by Seventh Generation, could cost thrice as much as a conventional household cleaner.
  • According to an article published by Bloomberg in 2019, "average Americans can't afford to buy green."

Research Strategy

Surveys and interviews of and articles and reports on consumers of household cleaning products were examined. Data specific to Canadian consumers could not be located among recently published sources in the public domain, so we decided to provide the next best data available, i.e., data specific to American consumers. Since both Canada and the United States are in the same geographic region and are both developed countries, we assume that the behavior of Canadian consumers is not that different from the behavior of American consumers. As instructed, hard data or statistics were provided where possible. We were unable to find any data that is specific to laundry detergents.
Part
04
of five
Part
04

Safe Ingredients

When it comes to household cleaning products, millennial consumers typically define "safe" ingredients as ingredients that are free of harsh chemicals and are not detrimental to human health, pet health, and the environment. They typically associate "safe" ingredients with the words "non-toxic," "natural," "organic," "plant-based," "clean," "gentle," "green," "family-friendly," "environment-friendly," "dermatologist-recommended," "dermatologist-tested," "third-party tested", "certified," "dye-free," and "perfume-free." Insights specific to Canadian consumers are very limited, so they were supplemented with insights specific to American consumers.

Definition of "Safe" Ingredients

  • Based on an article published by Lemi Shine, a Texas-based company that develops cleaning products using non-toxic citric extracts, it appears that for millennials, "safe" ingredients are ingredients that are free of harsh or toxic chemicals and are not harmful to themselves, their families, their pets, and the planet.
  • According to this article, millennials would pay more just to make sure that they and their families and pets are not exposed to harmful products. Millennials would not want to come in contact with harsh chemicals, and they would like the environment to be free of these chemicals as well.
  • These details are in line with the findings of some studies that "non-toxic" is the household care product claim that consumers find most important and that avoiding potentially harmful chemicals is the key thing that millennial moms want. The same article from Lemi Shine suggests that millennials consider plant-based ingredients such as citric extracts safe.
  • Another article published by Lemi Shine suggests that millennials associate safe ingredients with a clean label and with natural ingredients that provide a gentler clean. This article suggests as well that they do not associate safe ingredients with artificial ingredients or harmful chemicals with a strong smell. It is not clear from the article, however, if millennials know which ingredients are harmful or toxic, or if they know that ingredients such as formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and toxic fluorinated chemicals are harmful.
  • Based on a survey conducted by Digsite, a Wisconsin-based agile research platform provider, it appears that for millennials, safe ingredients are ingredients that are family-friendly and are good for their health and their environment. "Dermatologist-recommended," "dermatologist-tested," "dye-free," "non-toxic," and "perfume-free" are words that millennials would associate with safe cleaning products.
  • Additionally, it appears from this survey that millennials do not associate safe ingredients with dyes, preservatives, and strong smells.
  • An older article, one that was published by Progressive Grocer in late 2018, suggests that as far as safe cleaning product ingredients are concerned, Americans want cleaner and greener ingredients. It suggests that "clean," "green," "natural," "organic," "plant-based," and "third-party tested" are some words that Americans would associate with safe cleaning products and ingredients.
  • According to Kimberly Kawa, a retail reporting analyst at retail consumer insights provider SPINS, the idea of using "beneficial bacteria" OR "non-pathogenic good bacteria" in cleaning products is gaining traction among American consumers.
  • As early as 2017, 67% of American millennials were willing to use probiotic cleaners to protect the good bacteria in their home. This is according to an article published by Mintel that year. Based on this same article, 72% of American millennials agreed that "cleaning products with natural ingredients are safer than products with conventional ingredients."
  • It appears that as far as beauty and personal care products are concerned, Canadian consumers associate "safe" ingredients with "all-natural," "vegan," "organic," and "environment-friendly" ingredients.

Research Strategy

Surveys and interviews of and articles and reports on millennial consumers of household cleaning products and personal care products were examined. Recently published data specific to Canadian consumers is very limited, so we decided to provide the next best data available, i.e., data specific to American consumers, and look at older sources as well. Since both Canada and the United States are in the same geographic region and are both developed countries, we assume that the behavior of Canadian consumers is not that different from the behavior of American consumers.
Part
05
of five
Part
05

Compromises

Cooking home meals and cleaning the house appear to be two areas that millennial parents in Canada and the United States compromise to be able to keep up with their busy lives. Insights specific to young millennial parents in Canada are limited, so they were supplemented with insights specific to American millennials and American consumers.

Cooking Home Meals

  • Cooking home meals appears to be one of the lifestyle areas that millennial families in Canada compromise to be able to keep up with their busy lives. An article published by The NPD Group in 2019 shows that millennial parents in Canada "seek out convenient meal solutions given their lack of time and busy lifestyles."
  • Millennials in the country are more inclined than other generations to buy home-meal replacements or subscribe to a meal delivery service.
  • Millennial parents in the country typically seek hassle-free meals that they and their children can eat, so they can save time.
  • According to an article published by Global News in 2019, most Canadians no longer cook at home because they often find themselves too tired or too busy to cook when they get home after a long day at work. They typically just turn to food delivery services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Foodora.

Cleaning the House

  • House cleaning appears to be one of the lifestyle areas that American families compromise to be able to keep up with their busy lives. An article published by market research firm Mintel in 2017 shows that the number of hours American consumers spend each week to clean their house had decreased from 4.6 hours in 2013 to 3.75 hours in 2017.
  • According to this article, at the time, 68% of American consumers who clean their house were willing to shell out more money for cleaning products that can help them save time. Among millennials, this percentage was higher at 76%.
  • Additionally, based on this same article, 62% of American consumers who clean their house were willing to shell out more money for cleaning products that can lengthen the time between cleans. Among millennials, this percentage was again higher at 72%.
  • Mintel Household Analyst Stephen Brown shared that "house cleaning is an independent task for many, highlighting the importance of products that simplify the process, reduce steps or make it more enjoyable."
  • He added that "cleaning products that protect surfaces from future spills, mold or rust may gain appeal among younger house cleaners, especially when paired with targeted messaging that highlights time savings."
  • In a survey conducted by Digsite, a Wisconsin-based agile research platform provider, a millennial respondent shared that he or she always searches for cleaning products that can help cut cleaning time down and increase family time.
  • This sentiment was echoed by Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute in 2019. That year, Sansoni, the vice president for communications and outreach at the institute, said that "consumers continue to seek out products that make cleaning routines easier."
  • It appears, however, that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, families and consumers have started increasing their house cleaning time. Based on a survey conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by the American Cleaning Institute in September 2020, "Americans are cleaning more than ever before."
  • According to this survey, 46% of American consumers will spend more time cleaning and disinfecting their house to avoid contracting the coronavirus. This survey indicates as well that 56% of American consumers will continue cleaning and disinfecting their house more often.

Research Strategy

Surveys and interviews of and articles and reports on young millennial parents and young families in Canada were examined. Recently published data specific to young millennial parents, young families, parents, or families in Canada is very limited, so we decided to provide the next best data available, i.e., data specific to American millennials and consumers. Since both Canada and the United States are in the same geographic region and are both developed countries, we assume that the behavior of Canadian millennials is not that different from the behavior of American millennials.

Research proposal:

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