I recently came across this article on one of the Gardenweb forums that I found very interesting. If you haven’t read the article itself, this spring Procter & Gamble are releasing Tide PurClean: an eco-friendly version of Tide that is made with 65% plant-based ingredients. On top of that, this week it was announced that Procter&Gamble received biobased certification from the USDA’s BioPreferred Program for Tide PurClean. What exactly is “biobased”? In short, derived from renewable materials such as plants instead of non-renewable petroleum-based products. By the way, P&G started working on the development of biobased chemicals back in 2011 as part of a larger sustainability initiative.
I am incredibly excited about this. Not so much about the actual detergent (although that as well!), but more about the fact that such a behemoth as Procter & Gamble has ventured into the “green” market. To me this is a sign that their extensive market research has shown an opportunity for sizable growth in that area in the coming years. And that means that more and more corporations are going to be coming up with eco-friendlier cleaning options and making them more available to the average consumer. Will there be a considerable amount of greenwashing involved? You bet! But nonetheless, I feel that this is a big step in the direction of both corporations and consumers becoming more focused on the environment. And what a great thing that would be.
For a different point of view, Packaged Facts, a market research company specializing in the food, beverage and packaged goods sector, do not agree with my optimistic vision. In their 2015 study of green cleaning and laundry products in the US they predict a growth of only 1% a year through 2019, although they do say that “American consumers are increasingly “leaning green” and most want healthier, safer choices in their foods and products they use in their homes.” It looks like the green laundry sector was growing quite well before the recession, from 2007-2010. But once the recession hit, consumers were much less willing to pay extra for green, and market share declined.
Currently the “green” laundry market share is only around 3%, with large niche brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers and Method responsible for most of the sales. I’m still very hopeful that the decision makers at Procter & Gamble didn’t choose to invest in a more green product without having done the research to back that up and I do want to believe that we’ll have a surge of interest in green cleaning in the coming years. Hopefully this time it will be steady growth with no recession!
Back to Tide PurClean. It looks like there will be a scented and unscented version available, and there will be no added optical brighteners (OBAs). If you’ve read any of my laundry detergent reviews (such as the posts about Cheer or Tide and Persil), you will have noticed that I’m a firm believer in using laundry detergents without OBAs for colored clothing. It’s pretty standard in Europe to have a separate detergent for colors and one for whites, but in the US it seems that most consumers prefer to have just one detergent for everything. So I’m happy that more people will have access to a readily available detergent without OBAs that you can just pick up at your local supermarket, instead of having to order online. It does seem that that the price for PurClean will be higher than of regular Tide, so it will be interesting to see how many people will be willing to pay a premium. Especially when you take into consideration that “regular” Tide is not an inexpensive detergent to begin with.
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And I’d love to hear what you think of this new release in the comments: do you predict more green laundry products appearing on our shelves, or do you think it won’t make a difference? Are you excited about Tide PurClean?