The morning ritual of putting on fresh, clean clothes has a psychological effect. “It makes you comfortable, reassured, happy and ready for the day,” explained Michiel Albrecht, global consumer insights manager at IFF. The world of laundry, he informed the Qual360 Europe conference (Berlin, February 2018), is all about emotion.

IFF, the trading name of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc, manufactures a range of products for use in foods and household products, including well-known laundry brands. Developing a global perspective on scent while also understanding the nuances of individual countries is a complex task but the heart of it is easy for Albrecht: “we put the consumer at the heart of fragrance creation,” he said; and by consumer, he means women — “they talk in the language of their family and their own personality.”

Translating that into a product can be rather more difficult. “In the past, we had a lot of perfumers; they’re very creative but if they speak to consumers they don’t have a clue which ingredients they need to use if the consumer talks about ‘fresh’ or ‘clean’.” A similar picture was evident across the rest of the business, from technical people to laboratories, marketing and clients. “We wanted to get all the different disciplines all together speaking the same language and interacting with consumers,” he explained.