Hygiene product manufacturers are focusing all resources on meeting unprecedented demand for their products. And rightly so – the demand for disinfectant products has left store shelves empty in many places. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, both individual and household hygiene are driving consumer-purchasing priorities. In an 11-country consumer survey by GlobalData, 37% of consumers report buying more household cleaning products, and 77% reported buying more personal hygiene products since before the pandemic. 

However, for product developers and brand managers, this is also a time to examine consumer behavioral shifts – which will likely linger long-term. 

Consumers' efforts to prevent COVID-19 are leading to unsafe use of disinfectant products

According to a May 2020 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consumers' efforts to prevent COVID-19 are leading to unsafe use of disinfectant products.  “These practices pose a risk of severe tissue damage and corrosive injury and should be strictly avoided,” the study's authors wrote. Reports of jumps in disinfectant exposure-related calls to poison control back up this survey’s findings.

These worrying behaviors reveal unmet needs in the marketplace. Consumers are seeking new types of products to keep the virus at bay, deal with the mental and emotional challenges of isolation, and provide a sense of control in an uncertain time. 

Multi-Use Disinfectant

The U.S. CDC study found that 18% of respondents used household disinfectant products on the skin. Some 10% reported misting their body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray. While this is extremely dangerous with typical household cleaners, some companies are capitalizing on this consumer need.

SealDez from Seal Latvia is offering consumers a multi-purpose disinfectant. The product is a dual-purpose hand treatment and surface disinfectant. 
Pure Citrus from the U.S. offers a Pure Hand and Surface Sanitizing Spray, touting a multi-purpose formula for use on hands and surfaces.

Food Safety

The CDC survey also found that 19% of respondents applied bleach to food items, such as fruits and vegetables. While bleach should never come in contact with food, there are other products on the market that tap into consumer’s food cleanliness concerns.



Several companies in India have launched produce wash products in response to the pandemic. This includes Marico India’s Veggie Clean and Nykaa’s Veggie Safe. These products capitalize on dual global consumer trends -- the sharp increase in at-home food preparation, and consumers’ demand for cleanliness. 

Mood-Boosting Sensory Ingredients

It may appear consumers are focused on germ-killing at the expense of all else. Some companies are eschewing the use of color, fragrance, or premium ingredients like extracts to simplify their supply chains.

Consumers are gravitating toward novel ingredients and sensory experiences

However, in addition to physical health, consumers are also seeking to address their mental health needs. To relieve the anxiety and social isolation of lockdowns, consumers are gravitating toward novel ingredients and sensory experiences. Some companies are addressing multiple needs in one product.

Escape Hand & Surface Cologne Sanitizer from Givanas Group Nigeria has launched a 2-in-1 antiseptic lemon cologne that is formulated with lemon extract that purportedly rejuvenates skin and leaves a fresh scent.
New Zealand’s The Bonbon Factory offers a Hand and Trolley Sanitiser, that not only provides a dual-purpose formula, but also a calming vanilla scent and vitamin E.
ITC’s Produce Wash NimWash promotes neem & citrus fruit extract ingredients for natural action. 

Meeting Consumer Needs

Sooner or later, supply chains will catch up with demand. Consumers will have a greater selection. Sensory ingredients, like vibrant, scent-enhancing color or skin-soothing extracts, can turn a no-frills hygiene product into a consumer favorite. 

Let Sensient’s experts help you formulate a new home care product or new personal hygiene product that will earn shelf space long after the pandemic subsides. 

Sources: GlobalData, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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