Interview with Lucie Maisonneuve, Consumer Products Business Development Manager at Stepan

Lucie Maisonneuve, Consumer Products Business Development Manager
Stepan Company

You recently launched STEPANQUAT® Soleil, a hair care conditioning agent derived from non-GMO sunflower oil and locally derived. Can you tell us a little more about this product – specifically for formulators? 

If I were to make a quick introduction of STEPANQUAT® Soleil, it would be: the performance of Behentrimonium chloride delivered by an easy to use, sustainable esterquat. 

Hair care is a demanding market where high performance is expected. No one wants a bad hair day! Stepan’s patented cationic ingredient offers superior hair fiber coating, greatly eases detangling and possesses a strong substantivity (yet no build-up) for a longer-lasting effect. So, while the performance box is ticked for formulators, this 100% actives liquid ingredient will also help them express their creativity. The liquid form allows cold process and galenic form ranging from solutions, oils, emulsions, many possibilities! To make more “standard” conditioners, formulators will enjoy working at 65°C, which will save precious time and allow them to operate more safely. Lastly, the safety, high natural content/greener chemistry and local sourcing story with STEPANQUAT Soleil should match the formulating company’s marketing briefs. 

 The trend for ‘green and sustainable’ raw materials is here to stay. How does Stepan meet the customer demands of millennials and generation Z? 

Actually, the interest for “greener” products is not limited to the youngest consumers; it is becoming a cross generation concern, as stated in Euromonitor.  A continued focus on sustainability is not in response to a "trend" but an ongoing commitment we have made as a company, to our customers and our communities, for the next generations of consumersEighty percent (80%) of our R&D investments will be dedicated toward sustainable processes and products by 2023. In the esterquat segment, we developed new hair softening agents from local feedstocks such as rapeseed and now sunflower with STEPANQUAT Soleil. Stepan also continues to invest in greener technologies. One example is our 2020 acquisition of Logos Technologies LLC's NatSurfact’s business. This acquisition opens up a new option for Stepan to make biosurfactants through a natural fermentation process and helps our customers meet their sustainability targets for their products. Stepan is continuing to develop high-performing, advantageous products as a key pillar of our sustainability program.  These are a few examples among the many sustainability-driven initiatives we have led and continue to lead. Our corporate priorities articulate efficiency for the planet, advantageous products, responsible practices and investing in people. Sustainability is an ongoing effort, and we have set milestones with the public and will continue to report on our progress in our annual sustainability report.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased consumer demand for antibacterial products. How can you meet this demand? 

Stepan is a key contributor to the cleaning and hygiene industry. We supply the biocidal active ingredients that goes into both hard surface disinfectants and sanitizers. With an increase in demand, we are increasing our global production capacity and bolstering our resources in both the antimicrobial product development laboratory and in our regulatory and compliance departments. This ensures we are well positioned to provide the expertise customers have come to appreciate. Across the Atlantic, Stepan offers (as of July 2020) 24 U.S EPA-registered end-use formulations that meet the criteria for applications against emerging viral pathogens, and therefore may be considered for use as hard surface disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

How do you stay connected to your customers without tradeshows and in-person meetings? 

Customer focus is a core value of Stepan Company.  Communication with our customers has never been interrupted and like most of us in the industry, we took great advantage of the new collaboration tools available.  Stepan also invested in and launched a new website in June 2020 offering easier ways in which to connect with Stepan and easier searching on our products through our product and formulation finders. Stepan will continue to engage through virtual formats, educate through webinars with our technical experts, and accelerate our digital marketing initiatives. 

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