Who says consumers can’t make a difference? Increased awareness about environmental issues have affected people’s buying patterns and CPG companies are taking notice. With the growing demand for goods sourced from sustainable materials, organizations need to respond to the shifting market focus in order to remain competitive. From green laundry detergents to microbead-free facial and body scrubs, the pressure is on to develop eco-friendly CPG products. It’s important for companies to consider how appropriate software can help support their efforts to meet new demands.
Achieving Sustainability in CPG Products Must Balance Efficacy with Environmental Safety
A few challenges hamper the development of sustainable CPG products, with the main ones being cost and efficacy. Many renewable sources of CPG ingredients require a vast amount of resources. Green solvents, which are increasingly incorporated into paints, coatings and printing inks, are derived from agricultural sources such as corn and sugarcane.1 Growing the materials, harvesting them and processing them into a usable form can be a daunting process, which is why many researchers are looking at potential uses for biomass feedstocks. By-products that would normally be regulated as waste could serve a new purpose, cutting down on costs.
But as important as the cost of achieving sustainability in CPG markets can be, consumers remain interested in more practical concerns like efficacy. One of the reasons green laundry detergents haven’t gained widespread popularity despite being on the market for years is that people remain skeptical about their ability to clean clothes as well as traditional products. Consumers want to do their part in being environmentally savvy but not if it means they end up using what they consider an inferior product. Companies seeking market advantage in these sectors will need to ensure any new CPG formulations they release meet these high expectations.
Achieving Sustainability in CPG Markets Requires Insightful Formulation Development
Consumer desires aren’t the only reason for the boosted interest in achieving sustainability in CPG markets. Increased environmental regulations—as demonstrated by the microbead ban in the United States—are also fueling demand for eco-friendly ingredients.2 In particular, the paint and coating sector has received much focus. Additives added to paint formulations to improve resistance and effectiveness now need to be eco-friendly as well.
The request is a tall order but not impossible. Industry leader BASF recently announced that binders used in its paint formulations are derived from renewable materials. Even more striking, the additives replace 100% of fossil fuels typically used in the process.3 With one company making significant strides in achieving sustainability in CPG products, more firms are sure to follow. But these eco-friendly formulations must fulfill take a few considerations into account:
● Sustainable formulations must work as well as older products. As clearly demonstrated in the case of green laundry detergents, performance means everything to consumers. Information about the efficacy of existing products need to be collected and used as a measure against which sustainable formulations are characterized. Compiling these results and extracting useful insights is crucial in the CPG R&D process.
● Sustainable formulations need to exhibit similar properties as older products. Perceptions matter. If a product doesn’t look or behave in familiar way, people will become skeptical. Even if a new soap works as well as older formulations, consumers will become dubious if it doesn’t foam as much. If traits need to be adjusted, organizations will need to refer to past experiments, building upon those results to achieve the properties consumers expect.
● Sustainable formulations require innovation. Biomass sources do not behave in the same way as synthetic materials or fossil fuels. To develop CPG products with the correct viscosity or binding properties to function properly, researchers will need to conduct rigorous testing to find the ideal composition. To keep pace with the rapid release cycles characteristic of the CPG markets, companies require effective tools to record these results and analyze them efficiently.
The successful efforts of BASF and other industry leading companies have demonstrated that achieving sustainability in CPG sectors is not only feasible and fills a gap in the market. As environmental initiatives on the part of both consumers and regulatory agencies continue to increase, the need to develop eco-friendly products will become a central focus in the years to come. CPG firms can rely on innovative formulation development to meet the demand.
BIOVIA Enginuity is a solution for formulations in CPG Industries, which enables the identification of new ingredients and materials for formulation testing. If your organization is interested in learning more about the benefits of the BIOVIA Enginuity, click here to learn more.
1 “World Green/Bio-Based Solvents Market – Opportunities and Forecast, 2014-2020,” November 10, 2015, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/world-greenbio-based-solvents-market—opportunities-and-forecast-2014-2020-300176410.html
2 “Paint Additives Market By Formulation (Solvent, Water and Powder), By Function (Rheology Modifiers, Biocides, Driers, Foam Control and Dispersing & Wetting Agents), By End User (Automobile, Industrial, Architectural, Commercial and Residential) and By Geo,” May 25, 2016, http://prn.to/29CL1Gv
3 “BASF Makes Paint Components From Renewable Sources,” March 31, 2016, http://www.chem.info/news/2016/03/basf-makes-paint-components-renewable-sources