21st century biotech in a soap bar

Enzyme from Novozymes brings state-of-the-art biotech to a product that otherwise has not changed for decades – the soap bar, used in emerging markets to wash clothes by hand. Easyzyme® reduces the amount of water and time needed to wash clothes by hand.

An estimated 1 billion people in the world do their family’s laundry by hand. Many of them use a soap bar, a low-tech product that has remained the same for decades. It is a slow, tedious way of washing clothes, requiring many rewashings and much water to get clothes clean.

As the world’s leading producer of industrial enzymes, Novozymes has created the first enzyme solution to be stabilized in laundry bars. Easyzyme gives consumers around the world the opportunity to hand-wash clothes with less effort, less need to rewash, and less use of water.

“Enzymes are excellent for tough stain removal, but so far no one has been able to stabilize enzymes in laundry bars,” says Christian Wieth, Senior Global Marketing Manager at Novozymes. “Easyzyme represents the first performance innovation for this product category in more than 20 years. Add enzymes to your laundry bar, and your clothes will not only be cleaner, you’ll also save water and spend half the time at the sink.”

Large market for soap bars
Though often overlooked, the laundry bar segment for hand-washing is sizeable. Soap bars make up about 5% of global laundry detergent sales annually, with an estimated total retail value of USD 2–3 billion. Hand-washing with soap bars is particularly common in emerging markets, and in China the laundry soap bar market makes up about 10% of the total detergent market.

Four months ago, Easyzyme was introduced as an ingredient in the second-best selling soap bar in China. This soap is manufactured by Liby, a top Chinese detergent manufacturer, which had been looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of its products. After launching an enzymatic soap bar in three cities, Liby has already gained a 5% market share in these cities.

“Over the next two years we expect sales of enzymes for soap bars to spread to other parts of Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa,” says Christian Wieth. “Talks are currently under way with potential partners in all three markets.”