Household biocides: Striking a balance between claims and regulations in the COVID-19 world

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a global surge in demand for household biocides, creating new opportunities for manufacturers. TSG Consulting conducted extensive research to establish what consumers want from these products and whether they have confidence in product claims. This report considers the findings alongside strict regulatory requirements governing how these products are positioned and marketed around the world.

Balancing consumer expectations with regulatory requirements

As the events of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in 2020, consumer sales of household biocides for disinfecting surfaces skyrocketed. As demand increased, stores around the world struggled to maintain an adequate supply of products such as antibacterial spray, disinfectant and wipes. Today, while the initial panic buying of household biocides has subsided, demand remains high.

Here at TSG Consulting, we’ve noted several COVID- 19-driven trends amongst manufacturers of household biocides. Many of our clients are considering how they might expand product claims, for instance to convey stronger antimicrobial properties or long-lasting efficacy. Harmonization of labeling is another priority; the pandemic spotlighted the advantages of having one product primed for deployment in multiple markets according to demand. In the US, there’s also been an uplift of manufacturer interest in equipment and devices that can be used to disinfect personal items and larger areas in the home.

Any household biocide is subject to regulatory considerations surrounding its formulation (i.e. active substances), efficacy claims, intended use, and labeling. This is a complex matter which varies greatly across, and even within, target markets. Understanding this is vital. However, it’s also important to appreciate consumers’ expectations, behaviors, and demands in relation to these products. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, people are coming to accept that it is a long-term problem which we need to learn to live with. Household biocide manufacturers that strike an effective balance between consumer expectations and regulatory requirements are set to thrive. Furthermore, new products that hinder the survival of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could play a major role enabling populations to return to more normal ways of living.

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