Driving innovation in natural liquid soaps

We have seen liquid soaps growing in popularity over time around the world in the past years. However, with plastic packaging concerns and growing popularity in soap and shampoo bars, manufacturers and brands continue to launch products consumers want in liquid format, while still offering sustainable and other benefits. In this blog, we explore the market review and growing trends of the category.

The Liquid Soap Market

The shower and liquid soap market is dominating accorss Europe, followed by the liquid/gel hand category and estimated around €1,289bn. Germany, France, the UK and Italy are key markers for liquid products. According to data experts from Mintel, the personal care market is valued at €5.76bn.

Globally, the largest market overall for liquid soaps is the USA worth $1.197bn followed by China, Germany and Japan. The natural space is becoming increasingly competitive as more brands enter the segment, including extensions from other markets.

On our 2018 review, liquid soaps were the most active in Latin America (28%) and North America (26%) and steadily growing in Europe (16%), as more and more consumers are looking for more convenience associated with wellness and fitness trends in the upcoming years.

The market is evolving and changing rapidly in line with the environmental demands of consumers.

Liquid soaps

Image Credit: Bruce Mars

Eco and natural liquid soap

According to Mintel report of all soap, bath and shower launches taking place in Europe during 2018, 62% had a natural claim and 34% an eco claim, this is marked increase on previous years.

In the coming years, it is widely expected that more disruptive and eco-friendly innovations will emerge, as outlined in Mintel BPC’s 2019 Trend report, Sub-Zero Waste. In particular, there is a gap in the market for more brands and products that focus on water-saving measures (eg waterless, easy rinse low foam formulas), limiting plastic waste, sustainable palm oil use and building on the rapid growth in vegan diet trends.

Liquid soap benefits

Like bar soaps, liquid soap has its own distinct advantages, including:

  • Hygiene and health benefits are improved. Liquid soaps are reducing the exchange of germs between users. As no one handles the soap in the same way as with a bar soap, there is very little chance of spreading germs.
  • Environmental – consumers are demanding less plastic packaging - recyclable, refillable or concentrated options are appealing. Traditionally liquid soaps are packaged in this way but environmentally responsible manufacturers are responding by introducing refillable/multi-use containers or even alternatives to plastic. In 2018, just 2% of soap, bath and shower product launches in Europe were refill offers, according to Mintel report.
  • Unlike bar soaps, a liquid soap never gets mushy.
  • As seen with shower gels and body wash formulations, liquid soap tends to create more convenience in terms of quick application with a richer lather than traditional bar soaps. This is one of the key reasons for its popularity
liquid soaps

Innovative market developments of liquid soaps

As demonstrated by beauty brands such as Beauty Kitchen, the market is seeing some true innovation in refillable products - a bid to respond to the sea-change in plastic pollution.

BECO Spring Meadow foaming hand wash features a totally vegan, hypoallergenic formula with only natural ingredients. The production of each bottle provides jobs for people in the UK, who are visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged. This cruelty-free product does not need to lather so it saves over 88L of water per bottle and lasts 2.5 times longer than standard liquid hand wash therefore saving on plastic use. BECO claims that if every household stocked their hand wash in their bathrooms it would be able to create 45,000 jobs for people with disabilities.

Image Credit: Mintel

Progressive Swedish manufacturer Tangent Garment Care entered the organic skincare market in 2016 with a soap/bath variant launching in China in 2018. Tangentgc Oud Organic Soap showcases its premium credentials and exclusively uses natural and organic ingredients as well as oud oil (oud is renowned as one of the most expensive woods in the world).

liquid hand and body wash

Image Credit: Mintel

"34-62% of soap, bath and shower launches in Europe in 2018 had a natural (62%) or eco (34%) claim – steady on previous years."

Another game changing development area is the formation of Seed Phytonutrients, a company which uses a “farm fresh” message and a revolutionary paper bottle packaging with seeds. Launched in the US in 2017, the Seed Phytonutrients natural origin and vegan brand strongly promotes “farm-to-body/hair” credentials and stands out due to its unique packaging. The brand’s mission is to plant the seeds of health, well-being and sustainability for future generations. Also, this product’s innovative packaging stands out and promotes environmental credentials.

Image Credit: Thrive Market

Stephenson liquid soap bases

Stephenson is at the forefront of innovation in natural liquid soaps. Offering a variety of liquid soap bases with high cleansing and moisturising properties, the range include surfactant concentrates to certified natural and organic liquid soap bases, like Stephenson’s Liquid 105, Liquid 100 and Liquid 101.

Similarly, Stephenson has launched Liquid Soap 2020 multi-purpose soap base for personal care and home cleansing. It provides satisfactory lead times and is available for customers to order from April, 2020.

For manufacturers in the personal care sector, liquid soap products require very simple setup, using additives such as colour, fragrance, and sometimes a thickening solution to produce a variety of high quality finished liquid products such as liquid shower gel, liquid hand soap, 3-in-1 applications, liquid shampoo and foam soap.

Liquid soap bases offer a natural alternative to synthetic surfactants when used on their own or blended with natural surfactants. Changing demand and market analysis have led us to develop a range of application concepts in the personal care market using a small selection of our liquid soap bases.

To find out how Stephenson’s liquid bases can help with new product development enquire now!

Enquire about liquid bases here

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