AFTER ENJOYING success in this country with its natural-ingredient, hypoallergenic household cleaning products, Equator Pure Nature aims to dominate the segment region-wide within two years, according to the Thailand-based company’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
“We intend and believe that we will become the market leader in [the] natural-household-cleaning-product segment in AEC [the Asean Economic Community] and Greater China by 2019, and subsequent to this we will expand into the Western markets such as United States and Europe,” Peter Wainman said.
The company is renowned in Thailand for using locally grown pineapples as the base of its products. It produces, markets and sells a line of natural, hypoallergenic, biodegradable household cleaning products, ranging from laundry detergent and fabric softener to dishwashing liquid and floor cleaner, under its Pipper Standard brand.
“There is a significant market potential for Pipper Standard products. According to Business Navigator Consulting, the market potential for Pipper Standard in Asean and Greater China will be US$7.2 billion by 2021,” Wainman said.
“We have seen tremendous growth in international expansion. In 2015, our products were available in only two countries. At year-end 2016, we were in 10 different markets in Asia, including Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam, the Maldives, Laos and Myanmar.”
He said Equator Pure Nature was growing at a rate of 250 per cent a year and by 2021, the company was expected to post sales revenue of more than $50 million (Bt1.75 billion). The company expects sales revenue this year to grow by 250 per cent from Bt25 million last year.
“Although domestic and international sales are split 50:50 today, by 2021, international sales will be approximately 85 per cent of total revenue,” he said.
The company is expanding globally, with its Pipper Standard trademark registered in 55 countries.
“We have protected our fruit-|fermentation technology by filing |multiple patent applications under the patent-cooperation treaty, and were issued our first patents in the United States in September 2016,” Wainman said.
“As of January, we now have four patents in the US and are patent pending across approximately 70 per cent of the world’s GDP, including, in addition to the United States, Europe, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
“To our knowledge, we are the only natural cleaning-product company in the world with patents for cleaning technology,” he said.
The company has a global investor base, including in the United States, Europe, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. The group’s companies have received more than $10 million in funding.
Wainman said the company’s vision was to improve people’s lives by reducing exposure to chemicals by promoting the replacement of chemical cleaning products with natural products – a vision that got him into this business in the first place.
“In 2010, I had a severe allergic reaction to chemicals in cleaning products used in Asia, including allergic dermatitis and asthma. After that reaction, my wife and I decided to replace the chemical cleaning products in our home [with] natural products. But after looking at what was available in the market, we could not find anything that met our quality standard, ie, truly natural products, without allergens, which clean [comparably] to chemical cleaning products,” he said.
“So we decided to invent these products ourselves, and starting in 2011, we conducted research and development with fruit fermentation. “After approximately four years of extensive research and development, we successfully developed our own fruit-fermentation process yielding natural organic acids, natural enzymes, bio-surfactants and natural preservatives, which act synergistically to clean.
“We commercialised this technology to help out those who, like me, suffered from allergies and |other health issues and to provide the market with a safe, chemical-free alternative,” he said.
The company chose pineapples as the base of its products. He explained that in developing its patented fermentation technology, fermented pineapples proved to have excellent cleaning ability.
Furthermore, the look and smell of fermented pineapples gives a pleasant scent that is mild and marketable. And third, pineapples grow in abundance in Thailand and are inexpensive.
“We chose Thailand [as a base] for a few reasons. We intend to become the market leader in AEC and Greater China, and Thailand is strategically located to logistically service the Asia-Pacific region.
“Additionally, since pineapples are the key to our patented cleaning |technology, we chose a location where we could locally source raw materials without seasonal deviation or scarcity. Sugar and water, which are the other two main ingredients in our fermentation process, are both sourced in Thailand.
“Furthermore, we also chose Thailand because of Thailand’s perception in the world. Thailand is viewed in the world as a family-friendly, natural, nice place. Pipper Standard products fit with this image given we produce family-oriented, natural, nice products.”
Wainman has six years of experience in science and engineering. He was previously a scientific researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as at the University of California at Berkeley.
At MIT, he published research on the electromagnetic wave theory and at UC Berkeley, he designed and built a plasma reactor for semiconductor processing and subsequently published his results.
He said his previous experience in successfully applying the scientific method helped him succeed in his current business.
Equator Pure Nature has two R&D labs in Thailand, one in Bangkok and one in Nakhon Sawan.
“Our researchers are really great and are composed of both microbiologists and chemists,” the CEO said.