Editor’s note: This article was updated on May, 18th, 2021.
Innovations are a major growth driver. They are the reason why Persil has devel¬oped into a leading brand since its invention in 1907. One milestone is the development of the first Persil 4-chamber DISCS, which have been available on the German market since 2019, and our new detergent Persil Green Power, which has been available in stores throughout Germany since 2020. But what is behind these innovations? Which new technologies and formulations? In short: How does cutting-edge research & development turn into an innovative product?
Persil DISCS – state-of-the-art R&D technology in four chambers
Every innovation poses a challenge to research and development – this especially applied to the new Persil DISCS. Generally speaking, some of the key ingredients of a good detergent are not always optimally understood. One example: The enzyme cellulase, which helps to smooth the surface of the fabric and prevent fading, is not very compatible with another enzyme called protease. So, these two ingredients are kept separate from each other by the chamber system. It is only during the wash cycle that the ingredients combine and are immediately able to take effect. Another innovation is the special “bonding” effect between the individual chambers and water. The dosage of the water droplets must be so precise that the “seams” between the chambers remain closed during transport and storage, but quickly dissolve in the wash cycle along with the entire film. Each pre-measured disc combines powerful stain removal, long-lasting freshness, superior fabric care and deep cleaning. There are product variants for white as well as and color washes. This makes the job of doing the laundry even easier.
The Persil innovations – inside the lab
Persil for deep cleaning: In order to achieve this, Henkel scientists have developed a formula with a modified enzyme mix. The active substances of the new Persil Deep Clean Plus go deep into the fibers of the clothing, thus removing the toughest of stains even at 20 degrees Celsius. In addition to that, the packaging of the discs has been further developed and now contains 50 percent post-consumer recyclate.
Persil Sensitive for sensitive skin: Henkel has developed the new Persil Sensitive 4in1 DISCS especially for sensitive skin. Like all Sensitive products, it is dermatologically tested and has been awarded the ECARF Seal of Quality. The packaging is made from a sustainable combination of single-grade plastic and stabilizing cardboard and is 100 percent recyclable: as soon as the Persil DISCS are used up, the cardboard and plastic of the box can simply be separated from each other and fed into the respective recycling loop.
Persil Green Power: The new Persil Green Power detergent complies with the rigorous guidelines of the eco-label The Blue Angel, while also delivering impressive washing power. 85 percent of the formulation consists of nature-based ingredients. For deep-acting wash results, a dosage of only 50 ml is sufficient to remove dirt naturally and effectively. The packaging contains 50 percent recycled material,and the bottle is fully recyclable. The sealing and dosage cap were also redesigned to use less plastic.
Sustainable e-commerce solutions: The limited edition Persil Eco Power Bars is an innovative product featuring a particularly compact shape. As a result, Persil Eco Power Bars require less resources for production and transport, and they also reduce packaging waste compared to other detergents. In addition, the packaging is made of recycled and recyclable cardboard. Persil Eco Power Bars are an example of how we use new sales channels in the eCommerce sector and take consumer feedback into consideration.
Three questions to Mattia De Dominicis
Mattia De Dominicis, Head of Research & Development,
Laundry & Home Care
How has research and development changed over the past few years and what does this mean for the collaboration in an innovation process?
Normally it takes time to develop a new product or service concept from the initial ideas to the prototypes and then finally bring it to market. At the same time, the market is becoming increasingly segmented and ever more fast-moving and complex. For this reason, we believe it’s important to adopt agile practices that are supporting us to work even more cohesively as an interdisciplinary team. We focus on engaging consumers earlier during the development phase and this puts us in a better position to bring strong and highly promising innovations to the market.
What role do consumers play in the innovation process for Henkel?
Consumers and their needs are at the heart of everything we do. Our consumers want and expect products and services that are increasingly personalized, effective and climate neutral. That’s why it’s important to focus even more closely on trends and changing consumer desires. In an ideal world, we should be offering our consumers innovations that are ahead of the trends. Digitalization enables us to get ever closer to our target groups, providing us with valuable insights into the lifestyles and needs of consumers and inspiring ideas for new, innovative products. Our strong scientific abilities and external partnerships are allowing us to design products that create value for consumers and contribute to sustainability.
For innovative achievements like Persil, you always need the willingness to learn and develop further. What is your work motto?
“From linear to exponential.” I think science is what moves our society forward. And we need entrepreneurs who believe that everything is possible and whose imagination knows no limits.
A brand travels around the world
Today, Persil is available globally in more than 50 countries and on five continents. First introduced in Germany in 1907, today Persil is also highly successful outside Europe: for example, in South Korea, Mexico, the Middle East and North America. In some countries, however, consumers do not find Persil on the shelves. The key is the name: Persil is also known under the brand name “Le Chat” in France, “Wipp Express” in Spain, “Dixan” in Italy and Greece and “Nadhif” in North Africa.