The next wave of strategic fragrance and ingredient technology is here.
A global leader in fragrance and ingredients manufacturing and sustainable innovation in its field, Symrise believes in providing a better product for every member of the family – including pets. According to the U.K. government, during the pandemic pet ownership has risen sharply with a 125 percent increase in online adverts for cats and dogs. Pet lovers adjusting to a new normal are forming even closer bonds with pets and new reports are finding consumers everywhere are looking to elevate their pets’ experience.
Here, Anne Cabotin, Senior Global Vice President, Consumer Fragrance at Symrise, Dr. Gabriele Vielhaber, Senior Vice President, Global Accounts, Cosmetic Ingredients Division at Symrise, and Bertrand de Launay, President of Diana Pet Food, discuss entering a promising white space, meeting the needs of a growing demographic, and Symrise’s unique set of pioneering capabilities.
WWD Studios: Why has Symrise decided to enter into the pet category?
Anne Cabotin: Our vision at Symrise is to deliver health and well-being to the entire family, including our pets. With the acquisition of Diana, the global leader in Pet Food, in 2014, we entered the exciting world of pets while at the same time expanding our capabilities in advanced natural health and well-being nutrition. Combining our centenary expertise in fragrances with our Active Cosmetic Ingredients portfolio and Diana’s expertise on pets, makes us a unique and the strongest player on the market.
Pets, especially dogs have become an integral part of families all over the world and pet parenthood keeps growing. There has been an increase of 40 percent of people who have pets over the last ten years and today 75 percent of all U.S. millennials have a pet. Dogs have moved from the backyard to the front yard, then into our homes and the shift from pet feeding to pet caring and pet-loving has been significant.
Gabriele Vielhaber: We call this phenomenon the ‘humanization of pets’, which drives pet parents to seek pet grooming and bespoke pet care solutions. With COVID-19, consumers are spending more time at home with their pets, which has made pet parents seek a pet-friendly environment at home and choose quality products with a higher malodor performance. We believe that especially now, health and wellbeing are key to our society – pet health and pet care are an integral part of it.
Bertrand de Launay: The pandemic confronted people with their innermost fears and pet lovers are looking for products that will reassure them – products that will make them feel secure and will bring them comfort. Pet lovers tend not to compromise their pets’ well-being, and they prioritize their pets’ needs over their own.
WWD Studios: How is the consumer behavior of a pet lover unique?
B.L.: Pet lovers consider their pets as important members of their families and they mimic their own purchase habits when buying products for their pets. Pet lovers have similar, if not higher, expectations in terms of the quality and diversity of product offers for pets and extend the mindset that what is good for them has to be good for their pets. They tend to select products for the positioning, claims, and benefits for pets, and they expect very high levels of product safety.
WWD Studios: Why has this been largely an untapped market?
A.C.:The humanization of pets is a recent phenomenon. Pet grooming has not been a key consumer need until now and pet grooming has been relegated to the background. Current products in the category are sold in very specific channels and are considered a “plus” product which is usually marketed in a very technical manner. This is the ideal time to broaden the offering, but we need to make the products more relevant for consumers and better for their pets.
WWD Studios: What are the benefits of pet approved fragrance and formulas?
A.C.: We know that 10 percent of a dog’s brain is dedicated to olfaction, as compared to only 0.3 percent in humans. Dogs have about 200 million olfactive neurons, which is 13 times more than humans have. We need to tailor fragrances that do not irritate dogs and also contribute to making them feel relaxed and happy.
During our sensory evaluations at Panelis, Diana’s headquarters in Brittany, we saw very clear positive and negative receptions from pets towards different fragrance profiles. This is especially important when it comes to home care. Pets and their parents are exposed to the same air care and cleaning products used for everyday home cleaning and freshening. Now, pet parents will be able to choose to buy their essential home products with the confidence that fragrances are accepted by their pets.
G.V.: Fragrances and formulas can be created to address the real needs of pets and their parents. Our goal was to understand the needs of pets. For example, it was highly important to develop products that specifically address dog’s skin characteristics including their higher skin pH than humans, a thinner epidermis, and thinner hair.
Symrise is a leader in soothing ingredients, in modern product protection and anti-malodor technologies, with a large portfolio of green and natural ingredients, and is in a perfect position to deliver on these expectations. Our most recent innovation is a probiotic-based technology which helps to strengthen the skin barrier and thus delivers moisture and soothing benefits. These ingredients are new to the pet grooming category and will advance it significantly.
WWD Studios: What is involved in creating these fragrances?
A.C.: It took us two years to develop the perfect methodology for pet shampoo. Three criteria are considered for developing pet approved fragrances: dog’s acceptance, pet parent approval, and malodor coverage. Pet Safety is extremely important to us and is the basis to bring all the three criteria together.
We have started a research program to identify which fragrance ingredients are appealing to pets. The process has been validated by ethologists, statisticians, and a veterinarian. From the learnings, we will be able to formulate new fragrances which can be pet approved in other categories.
WWD Studios: Can you tell us about the panel of pets who are evaluating Symrise’s fragrances?
A.C.: Panelis is the most innovative and pet-friendly evaluation center, providing unique insights into pets’ preferences and behaviors. It is comprised of more than 1,000 pets of different breeds, ages, and gender located in France, the U.S., and Brazil.
B.L.: Pets’ well-being is at the center of our approach with stimulating, cuddling games, a cozy environment, physical activity for healthy and happy pets, and socializing. Thanks to Panelis, we can conduct accurate sensorial measurements and behavioral research. We also have a community of pet parents, Panelis in-home, which allows us to conduct qualitative consumer explorations and quantitative in-home evaluations.