Large study shows little consumer awareness of biobased products

European consumers are unfamiliar with bio-based products

They have positive associations of bio-based products with the environment, but there are also mixed and negative feelings. This is mainly due to a lack of knowledge on the concept of bio-based. Consumers perceive bio-based as sustainable when it is a coherent product concept with a sustainable production process on the social, environmental and economic dimension.

Research method

Seven specific bio-based products and product packages, such as foot cream, natural paint and a cola bottle, were selected for the research. They varied in product category, environmental performance, physical proximity and personal relevance and could all really be bought and used by consumers.

For the study, nearly 6,500 consumers were interviewed about the acceptance of bio-based products. Bio-based products are built from the biodegradable elements of agricultural products and plant waste. The study was both qualitative and quantitative, to increase the understanding of consumers’ perception of bio-based products. It was carried out in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Denmark, and Czech Republic. Together these countries represent a wide range of European countries.

European call for communication and awareness

The EU has just done the BBI-JU call ‘Communication and awareness’. This aims to create a science-based communication strategy to enhance the awareness of the broad public on bio-based products and applications and their benefits. With the study described here, LEI proves to be an excellent partner for this call, as it can contribute to this strategy with knowledge on consumers and their familiarity, associations, emotions and awareness with bio-based products.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° KBBE/FP7EN/613677.


Wageningen UR, press release, 2015-11-02.


Wageningen University