How does the European consumer perceive bioplastics?
BIOnTOp has recently published a report evaluating the state of the bioplastics market and value chain in Europe, and the perception that the European consumers have on bioplastics materials.
The main findings of the study can be summarised as follows:
Awareness and Knowledge: The study identifies a lack of knowledge among consumers regarding biobased products and bioplastics, making their identification challenging. However, consumers exhibit positive perceptions of bioplastics, calling for more robust legislative regulations to support their adoption globally or at European level. Communication is highlighted as a critical factor for increasing consumer awareness and encouraging the adoption of bioplastics.
Association and Connotation: European consumers generally associate bioplastics with environmentally friendly choices, but doubts emerge regarding economic costs and land consumption associated with bioplastics. Despite the positive connotations, concerns about affordability and environmental impact persist.
Information and Labelling: Consumers express a desire for factual advice that maximises the utility of the selected product. The study reveals insufficient information on recycling procedures and unclear labelling, particularly concerning the end-of-life treatment of products.
Consumer Decision Journey: Consumer buying decisions are hindered by the inability to recognise bioplastics at the point of purchase. Although consumers view bioplastics favourably, their recognition as an environmentally friendly option during the purchasing journey remains limited. Buying decisions are influenced not only by environmental concerns but also by social and economic factors. And while consumers exhibit interest in buying bioplastic products, willingness to pay more for them is limited.
The research provides valuable insights into consumer perceptions of bioplastics and their potential adoption. It underscores the importance of clear communication, standardised labelling, and regulatory support to drive the transition toward more sustainable packaging options. The findings emphasise the complexity of consumer decision-making, the role of various stakeholders, and the need for gradual, well-informed transitions in the packaging industry.