When I tell people I work for a company that sells antimicrobial technology, I am often met with a blank or confused look. I then explain that BioCote® technology is manufactured into products by leading companies around the world to make them better by making them more hygienic. What this means is a ‘built-in’ ability to kill microbes such as bacteria and mould. At this point, I am almost always met with the question: why aren’t antimicrobial products everywhere?
Good question. There isn’t a simple answer – there are, however, a number of reasons why, here are my thoughts:
Lack of awareness
This may seem obvious, but is justifiably one of the main reasons why there aren’t more antimicrobial products on the market. Our industry is nearly 30 years old – that is about as old as the CD! Yet our technology is still considered cutting edge by many, not a phrase you would use to describe the now largely defunct Compact Disc. Awareness is a key mechanism for creating demand, and with more antimicrobial products entering the market every day BioCote® can certainly see that awareness and therefore demand is growing.
Whilst the fact that you can take a product and make it antimicrobial, without changing how it is produced and at minimal cost remains the best idea you have never heard of, the ‘underground’ status of antimicrobial technology will persist. However, the world we live in is changing; 5 years ago the general public had not heard of antibiotic resistant bacteria, yet today stories about this phenomena have become an everyday occurrence. Surely then, products containing a technology that is capable of killing these nasties do not just become desirable, they become a must have.
Smoke and mirrors
Honesty, transparency and integrity are fundamental to the credibility of the BioCote® brand and therefore the success of our business. Whilst other antimicrobial technology providers may peddle mistruths or just plain straightforward lies, this is certainly not the BioCote® way. Exaggerated claims and overblown promises about what antimicrobial technology will do have created a climate of mistrust.
At BioCote, we understand performance claims about our technology such as ‘86% reduction in bacteria in just 15 minutes’ or ‘proven to deactivate the H1N1 virus’ may appear too good to be true. That is of course unless you can substantiate them with credible data. This isn’t just because the law says you should, but because this is the BioCote® way. We believe in being completely clear about both the benefits and the limitations of our technologies. Inaccurate claims about unrealistic performance expectations do nothing but damage the credibility of antimicrobial technology, our industry and our business – something that decreases consumer appetite and erodes buyer trust.
Lack of understanding
Not all antimicrobial technologies are the same. There are a multitude of different actives– this is the antimicrobial ingredient itself. Some work better against particular microbes and some are more compatible with certain manufacturing processes than others. The one thing that all antimicrobial additives have in common is the requirement to be registered with the appropriate authorities around the world. This registration determines where and how each antimicrobial additive is used.
There have, however, been instances where companies have misused additives – used the wrong additive for the wrong application. The consequence of such misuse is often bad press and unfortunately seems to result in the opinion that all antimicrobials in all applications should not be trusted – this simply is not the case.
BioCote® fully understand the technology that we supply to our customers and how it should be used. We advise our partners on how to manufacture BioCote® technology into their products appropriately to deliver optimum antimicrobial performance and how to take their BioCote® protected product to market in a confident, compelling and compliant manner. Most importantly, we ensure end users get a product that performs its intended function superbly well, but also contains the appropriate additive to deliver antimicrobial performance they can rely on.
Lack of proof
BioCote® sell additives that, once incorporated into the final product, you cannot see and this invisible technology kills microbes that, typically, you cannot see (there are some exceptions to this). In a culture where seeing is believing, it is essential to convince those amongst us who are more sceptical not just that the additive has been deployed, but that it is doing what we, or our partner companies say it will do.
This is one of the reasons that BioCote® contractually oblige our partners to regularly quality control test their products – no other antimicrobial technology provider does this. This measure of antimicrobial performance exposes representative samples to an appropriate test method to ensure they are achieving in excess of that required level of performance to carry the BioCote® brand. It also provides credible evidence that the product is performing as the user would expect of a BioCote® branded product.
Test certificates are great, but we don’t live in laboratories. The ability to prove antimicrobial products offers a real-life benefit is a big deal, but no easy thing to facilitate. The good news is BioCote have real life case studies in a variety of hygiene environments that demonstrate this. We have not simply proven that protected products are more hygienically clean; we can also show that when you add BioCote® protected products into environments, those environments and the users of the product benefit too. Take a look at the BioCote® case studies page and see for yourself.
The Big One: Cost
Let’s face it, we live in a cost-down world. We all want more, but we want it for less. Typically and by its very definition, an ‘additive’ is something extra and likely to make a product more expensive to manufacture. Many companies when launching an antimicrobial product to market share this cost with their customers and that is their prerogative. However, when, applying a premium to a product and leaving it up to the buyer to decide whether to pay more or not without explaining the additional benefit is a commercial risk. Of course, unless the manufacturer fully understands the end user benefits of antimicrobial technology how can they communicate these to their buyer? Failure to do this effectively results in a more expensive product, with an additional performance criteria no-one really understands, values or is prepared to pay for.
This is where BioCote® can and do add a real, measurable benefit through the support we provide our partners. We specialise in communicating the benefits of antimicrobial technology in a meaningful and accessible way, and are on hand to advise our partner companies in doing the same. Despite our technology adding a cost onto the manufacturing price of a product we help our partners communicate that this is a price worth paying, and that cost soon begins to feel like an investment. The BioCote® partners that see the greatest return on investment are those that absorb this on-cost and simply pass on the performance benefit.
There are more than you think
So, there aren’t antimicrobial or BioCote® protected products everywhere, but the number is growing every day. In fact, there are probably more than you realise. The BioCote® partner network is growing too – not just in the UK – with new partners being secured on a global basis. We now work with some of the most notable brands and product innovators in the world with more coming very soon. As a consequence, millions of people are using and trusting BioCote® protected products around the world every day – sometimes without even knowing it.
Antimicrobial products will soon be everywhere, we hope that whatever the product, wherever it is being used the antimicrobial ingredient has been responsibly sourced, the performance claims are genuine and can be backed up with credible data. We also hope it is sporting the BioCote® logo – the antimicrobial brand you can trust.
Watch this space.
For more information on how you can make your product antimicrobial, contact a member of the team +44 (0) 2477 712 489 or message us.