October 8th, 2010
Notes from Montreux 2010
Spent the last couple of weeks in Europe, including the Montreux Detergent Conference – always an interesting and very pleasant time by the Lake Geneva shoreline. The “warm-up” to Montreux included a bunch of meetings in the UK, then in continental Europe and also, in the interest of full disclosure, the best weekend of skiing ever, on the Klein Matterhorn Glacier, Zermatt, Switzerland.
The key themes from Montreux were probably “sustainability” and “China” with each paper and many of the sidebar discussions featuring either or both. Attendance was good and the quality of attendees was, from my perspective, excellent. I had the pleasure of spending some time with colleagues and friends from Desmet Ballestra at their very busy exhibit booth. We engaged many existing and prospective customers in discussions regarding sulfonation, ethoxylation, oleochemicals and of course other areas including soap and food processing.
Overall, the opportunity to see many old friends and make new contacts in the now familiar environs of Montreux, was too good to miss. The industry seems in robust health despite the many challenges associated with feedstock volatility and continuing active government regulation. The mood was, on balance, optimistic as new technologies (such as those discussed by Milliken) and new emerging markets, discussed by everybody, injected some excitement into a supposedly mature industry.