The economic turmoil unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic and compounded by the war in Ukraine has resulted in disruption of global supply chains marked by shortages and skyrocketing prices of key raw materials and industrial ingredients.
A case in point is the surge in the cost of crude and palm kernel oil leading to an increase in the prices of detergents and edible oils.
The recent ban on palm oil exports from Indonesia has diminished the supply of surfactants used in soap manufacturing, not to mention the spike in cooking oil prices pushing up the cost of living.
As such, industries are now grappling with the dilemma of either passing on rising input costs to consumers or optimising production processes to keep prices low to retain customers.
While it may partially offset eroded profit margins, consumers will resort to cheaper alternatives, as is already evident in the detergent market.
Cost-optimisation offers a more sustainable pathway to defending profit margins, retaining brand users, and winning over new customers, hence the growing debate over the use of enzymes as a cost-effective natural substitute for chemical ingredients in industrial processes.
For manufacturers, substituting biological enzymes for chemicals is a viable survival strategy. Why enzymes? Enzymes act as catalysts for metabolic and biochemical reactions. They are essential for supporting chemical reactions upon which life depends.
The use of microbial enzymes comes with a guaranteed stable supply not to mention predictable prices. Innovative technologies have facilitated the large-scale production of safe bio-enzymes that are readily available and easy to use. Second, enzymes reduce the cost of production by reducing the consumption of water, energy, and raw materials. This leads to less depletion of natural resources used in the production of household and food products.
For consumers, enzymes are used in laundry detergents to help remove stains and keep white colours bright. Third, enzymes are non-toxic and thus safer. At Novozymes, we believe enzymes hold the key to unlocking immense business opportunities.