Win-win sustainability with aerosol compression, but can consumers be convinced?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marketing, Unilever

Both the personal care sector and the consumer are set to gain from a new trend of aerosol compression, giving it the potential to become a particularly lucrative new trend.

Canister compression, seen at the moment only by Unilever on European markets, offers the opportunity for a much more sustainable product, which not only cuts production costs and streamlines the supply chain; it also speaks to an increasingly ecologically-aware consumer base.

How it works

The innovation is thanks to a redesigned nozzle, which allows reduction of gas without blockages. The smaller cans last as long as the old product, yet use half the propellant and as such are half the size.

This gives rise to a reduced overall carbon footprint through 28% less aluminum, and further transportation and stocking improvements.

compressed aerosols
Unilever's offering was on show at the recent PCD show in Paris.

Sustainably sound

The aerosol format makes up 80% of the total deodorant category, and a growing consumer interest in sustainability means that compression’s reduction in the product’s carbon footprint could make the product a key trend.

CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com spoke to a key player behind the trend, Lindal Group's global marketing director, Philip Brand, who confirms the innovation’s potential: the compressed initiative in the deodorant category has captured the industry’s imagination and is proving to be a true game-changer​.”

Sustainability is important both to brand owners and to consumers, who are increasingly eco-conscious.  While the initial launch was in Europe, the industry can envision the popularity of such a format around the world​,” he said.

Convinced consumers?

While Unilever has just expanded upon its initial range by launching male care versions, building consumer trust remains essential if this innovation is to take hold.

The new size speaks to a market increasingly keen on travel-sized goods, however the products must contend with a climate of consumer suspicion following a general trend of unannounced size-reductions of fast-moving consumer goods by household brands in recent years.

Consumer education regarding this new format is underway, to reassure end-users that they are not paying for less product​,” Lindal notes. The company’s ‘consumer education’ marketing goes hand-in-hand with a promotional money-back guarantee.

According to Unilever, signs are positive for the trend: Natasha Leigh, project manager for the range’s initial launch last year, has noted that “the take-up of the new product has been much higher and much earlier than we expected.

If the consumer can be convinced, this looks like a potential cash-cow for the deodorant sector. 

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