Reckitt set to launch VO environmental detergent

Reckitt Benkiser

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is preparing to launch an eco-friendly laundry detergent, four years after it pulled out of that market. The detergent, a top-secret project, is believed to be called VO and will be backed by a major marketing campaign this autumn.

The news of the launch comes after RB chief executive Bart Becht hit out last week at consumers who claim to care about the environment but won’t change their spending habits.

In 2003, RB axed its Down to Earth range of household products after it was delisted by major retailers for failing to meet sales expectations, leaving Ecover to dominate the niche (MW August 14, 2003).

But the global laundry market is set to be revitalised as producers introduce innovative products that are also cost effective. It is understood that Procter & Gamble is also looking at launching a new range of liquid detergents to be marketed as environmentally friendly. Sources suggest that the P&G launch will claim to make energy savings of 40-80%.

RB declined to comment as Marketing Week went to press.

Last week the company, which also makes stain remover range Vanish, as well as Cillit Bang, Dettol and Air Wick and is one of the world’s biggest cleaning products manufacturers, posted first-half results with a 41% increase in pre-tax profit to £494m.

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