Unilever eyes deodorant breakthrough for 2030 after patented 72-hour antiperspirant rollout

In 2018, after around eight years of research and development, Unilever commercialised its patented 72-hour protection deodorant and antiperspirant technology under the Rexona brand in Australia. Fast-forward four years and the company had since rolled the tech out across other lines and now wanted to stretch innovation even further, taking performance beyond the existing sweat and odor protection claims.

“The conversation I’m now having with our deodorant team is we need another [innovation]. Around about 2030, we’ll need the next big thing, “Said Alan Palmer, chief R&D officer for personal care at Unilever.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Palmer said this was, in part, because the patents on the current microtechnology would end in 15 years or so, opening access up to competitors, but also because Unilever wanted to stay ahead of the game in deodorants.

The ‘fourth breakthrough in the last 120 years’

And the game, he said, was filled with “A number of formidable competitors all doing research”,Meaning there was plenty of Intellectual Property (IP) to navigate around in deodorant and antiperspirant innovation.

This was largely why it had taken Unilever eight years to finalize its microtechnology, he said – an innovation the company said had been a game-changer for the category.

“I would argue this is the fourth breakthrough in the last 120 years in this sector (…) These things don’t come around very often.”

“… It’s not so much a lack of innovation, it’s just developing technology in this space is incredibly challenging,”Palmer said.


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