DEVELOPMENTS Soda Crystals is one of the longest established cleaning brands on the market ­ and still one of the most loved, for sales are up 4%, according to Dri-Pak. Its versatility and value for money are the key to its enduring appeal, says sales and marketing director Mike Pugh. Next month the product moves into a laminate plastic bag to improve pouring and storage. The recently launched liquid version in a squeezy-style bottle is achieving 16% year on year growth and will shortly be available in a trigger spray. New formulations, including tablets, are being evaluated. Australia's top cleaners, Bath Power and Kitchen Power from OzKleen and distributed by Food Brokers, are well on their way to repeating their antipodean success. OzKleen says sales are outstripping the average growth of the category by nearly nine times (ACNielsen) and the two products have distribution in most major multiples. The products get their strength naturally from citrus extracts. EGL Homecare, a leading own label cleaning and personal care products supplier, is expanding its branded business. The Fairy brand of sponges, scourers and cloths, which it acquired last year, is being extended with the launch of Micropad, a new general purpose cloth that accomplishes both cleaning and absorbent wiping. Microfibre on one side of the cloth provides effective cleaning, while a micro-perforated fabric on the other provides absorbency. Rsp is £1.99. It also plans to extend its scouring products following the recent acquisition of the abrasives arm of the John Cotton Group. Managing director Terry Dearlove says investment plans are in place to improve product quality and increase production capacity. It has already invested £1m in new plant and machinery at its Shoeburyness site. German multinational Henkel has its sights set on becoming a major player in the UK household cleaning market. In October it fired its second salvo with the launch of Glist, a three-in-one dishwashing tablet which has made a successful debut in the continental European market under the name of Somat. Detergents marketing director Carole Armstrong-Hooper says independent tests under the Somat brand in Germany prove it to be the superior three-in-one tablet on the market. The company is backing the product, which went into stores last month, with £6m media and marketing spend. "The tablets market has huge potential," says Armstrong-Hooper. Henkel's first move into the market with Bref, a foam toilet cleaner launched a year ago, has failed to make much headway, with only very limited distribution. "The foam cleaner market hasn't kicked off in the UK as it has in Europe largely because the main brands don't do the job they're meant to," says Armstrong-Hooper. Instead, the company will concentrate on Maxiflush, a similar product that's part of the portfolio of Buck Chemicals, Henkel's UK distribution arm. "We will be enhancing their brands, which include Squezy and Frish bought from Unilever, with our technology," says Armstrong-Hooper.* {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}