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100 years of Products Research

P&G’s Products Research Expertise: Celebrating 100 Years of Business-Building Insights

JUNE 2023

In 1923, P&G first established its Products Research function—and ever since, these master integrators have been a powerful force behind the company’s consumer-led product innovation.

Our Historic Past

P&G started as a company that made candles. Not just “any” candles; P&G candles were made of stearic acid. You may wonder why our candles were different. Was it cost or convenience of the ingredients? No. The reason for using stearic acid in our candles was the consumer! At that time, many candles were made of tallow, and, when exposed to heat in storage, they would melt and become misshapen. Not a great experience for the consumer. Knowing this, P&G set out to make a sturdier product, and found that stearic acid candles were less prone to melting before burning. They also burned brighter and had no objectionable smell (which tallow candles were known for).

P&G Stearic Acid

This example shows the power of being in touch with our consumers, a practice so impactful the company formally dedicated a department to doing this work in 1923. The first products researchers at P&G were known as “Product Services,” and they were focused on promoting better and more scientific laundering of clothes. The team employed researchers who had knowledge of soap and chemistry to conduct technical product testing. Learning from the commercial laundry operations at the time, we sent thousands of standardized garments to be washed at laundromats across the country to ensure we could replicate results. Our chemists used those tests to understand how to improve our laundry soap to meet consumers’ needs.

This boundary-breaking work has led to household staples that have become part of our daily lives and still make a difference in our communities today. Consider these development highlights:

Products Research Over the Years

Stearic Acid Candles package

A Century of Solving Consumer Needs

"We know from experience that research holds the key to successful competition and to the future growth of the Company."

R. R. Deupree
President, Procter & Gamble (1930-1948)

P&G has been steadfast in our pursuit of deep consumer understanding and responding to their needs with technically superior products. Our Products Research organization leads the way in uncovering consumer pain points and translating those needs into the development of superior products. This mission officially launched with our team of chemists in 1923—and still continues with our Products Researchers today.

Discover the Full Breadth of R&D

Learn more about the trailblazing capabilities of our R&D organization at