What Happened with the Soy Wax Industry in 2017
2017 saw several big developments with two major soy wax manufacturers, AAK, also known as Golden Brands, and EcoSoya. While there are many details relevant to the soy wax story, we thought we’d try to summarize what happened.
First, let’s discuss the major changes with EcoSoya.
In 2016, the FDA ruled that Partially Hydrogenated Oils were no longer safe for use in foods. The manufacturing facility that produced soy wax for EcoSoya, which focuses primarily on food products, decided to stop production of all hydrogenated oils. Without a production facility, EcoSoya discontinued their original wax line but proceeded with launching a new line of reformulated soy waxes. The process of fine-tuning the formula and transitioning to a new facility led to more downtime than expected, but, by the end of July 2017, they officially released the new line of Quantum Soy Wax. And, as of this recording, they have relaunched the PB pillar and CB Advanced soy waxes.
Now, let’s talk about AAK.
While the FDA ruling forced EcoSoya to make radical changes to its product line and manufacturing, AAK did not have to because they operate a manufacturing facility with dedicated production lines specifically for the candle industry. But, that is not the whole story.
Previously, AAK operated multiple production lines at its main facility. One of them went down last September, which led to the severe outage in the fall. It's a very long story, but when the line went down, they decided to make some equipment upgrades that extended the downtime.
During this period they were running their existing line around the clock, moving material through it as quickly as possible. That resulted in a production schedule that was much different than usual. While the product was in spec, there were variations between batches.
It’s important to remember that soy wax is a natural product. It can vary according to the origin of the source oil, time of year, and a number of other factors. In the same way you can't buy two apples that look identical, no two batches of soy wax will be exactly the same.
The difference here is that the production method at AAK had been stable for a long time, but changed last fall. While the formula remains the same, the influx in their production facility, coupled with the natural variations in the materials, made for a product that was less stable than usual from batch to batch.
Things have stabilized now, and we're hoping that the resulting AAK waxes for 2018 will have less variance.
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