Understanding future consumer trends


Understanding future consumer trends is something all of us involved in manufacturing and retail spend a lot of time doing. Whether speaking with consumers, studying sales data or poring over trend analysis, trying to predict the future is a big part of what we do.

Which is why we’ve been very interested in recent events in America and for once these don’t have anything to do with politics. The highly powerful and influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the government body in the United States that oversees human health and is a global leader in research, safety and efficacy. They have been investigating claims made by anti-bacterial wash products since 2013. Initially their concerns surrounded potential harm caused to humans by the chemicals used. What they also discovered was that these ‘anti-bacterial’ wash products were no more effective in killing bacteria than traditional soap and water. Dr Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s centre for evaluation and research, said that certain antimicrobial products may not actually serve any health benefits at all.

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” she said in a statement. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term.”

Following this research the FDA has issued a final ruling that prohibits the marketing of products claiming to be antimicrobial wash products that contain specific antibacterial ingredients. This ruling affects products that contain a list of 19 ingredients such as triclosan and these products can no longer make these claims.

This research, and the resulting US ban, is important as in this globally connected world, news of this will soon reach consumers in Europe.

It’s our belief that this creates a unique opportunity for bar soap products to satisfy this demand for consumers who still want to satisfy their desire to combat germs. Soap in bar form is equally effective in combatting germs and bacteria and provides a number of routes for marketing and brand creation. It also has the capacity to tell environmental stories and address consumer concerns around chemicals and artificial ingredients.

To learn more about this please contact Claire Caddis, Sales and Marketing Director at Soapworks (claire.caddis@soapworksltd.co.uk).