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Bio-based products gaining momentum

A new survey reveals growing commitment towards renewable materials and alternatives to fossil-based products among leading brands.

The techniques are available and many products can be manufactured with bio-based materials. But brands and manufacturers need to come together to further the bio-based industry.

Bio-based materials are becoming ever more popular as new techniques become available and more and more consumers demand sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing processes of their favourite brands. Accordingly, the biomaterials market is expected to grow even further in the near future, which was also mirrored in the results of the recent #WhatBrandsWant survey by the PR agency Sustainability Consult: The findings reveal a growing commitment towards renewable materials and alternatives to fossil-based products.

Brands need to adopt bio-based spirit of customers

While customers have already made up their minds to support bio-based materials and production, there is still some discrepancy and lack of communication between the manufacturers and the brands themselves. Thus, the survey asked, what the bio-based industry could do to encourage brands to invest in bio-based materials? And how biomaterials manufacturers could make it easier for brands to engage. Over a six-month period, the agency surveyed more than 6,000 participants and analysed responses from over 40 brands across different sectors ranging from apparel, footwear and textiles, to food and beverages, and personal care. The results offer insight into mechanisms affecting market growth in the bio-based materials sector.

Growing support for bio-based materials

The results were clear: 26% of brands said bio-based content is one of the selection criteria used when choosing a supplier. 52% of brands said they have clear objectives for sourcing bio-based materials, two-thirds of the brands not currently using bio-based materials intend to incorporate them into future product lines. And 71% said their brand communicated externally on its use of bio-based materials. In other words, if brands work with bio-based materials, many of them are happily very public about it. However, many brands are also very public about working with bio-based materials and products, all the while still retaining a core reliance on traditional, fossil-fuel ingredients.

Higher costs and unknown performance remain main barriers

Although the findings demonstrate a growing commitment towards renewable materials and alternatives to fossil-based products, the relatively higher cost is still viewed as the main barrier to adoption; followed closely by the performance of the new materials and their availability. Respondents also cited concerns regarding feedstock, end-of-life options, as well as a lack of consumer understanding. To remedy these problems, brands are now looking to the bio-based industry to provide credible information on product advantages.


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