Consumer response to bio-based products – A systematic review

Bio-based products represent a promising alternative to fossil-based products and contribute to reduce negative environmental consequences caused by the latter. As consumer behavior is crucial for market penetration of bio-based products, this review analyses the current state of the art in consumer research on bio-based products and aims to identify research gaps and future research needs. This review is based on a systematic synthesis of 59 scientific journal articles and one book chapter on consumer studies related to bio-based products. Peer-reviewed studies in English language, with a research focus on consumer issues related to bio-based products of plant origin, that aim to replace fossil resources, have been included in the review. Most reviewed studies investigated bio-based plastics and composites, used a quantitative research approach, have been based on established consumer theories and used non-probability sampling techniques. While consumer preferences and attitudes, conviction as well as knowledge and perception related to bio-based products were focus of many reviewed studies, consumer awareness, liking and purchasing of bio-based products have been studied rarely or not at all. The results show that many consumers are not aware of the existence of bio-based products, related knowledge is low, and labels and brands are often unknown. Additionally, some consumers have wrong assumptions about the environmental impact of bio-based materials. Consumer preferences vary between product groups, but often factors like price or functionality are more important than bio-based materials. High purchase intentions and an increased willingness to pay are found e.g. for bio-based packaging products, disposable products and plant containers (in particular for female and environmentally-concerned consumers). The review identifies important research gaps and conclusions for future research needs such as e.g., to realize more studies in countries of the global south, analyze actual purchase behavior and the regional supply situation related to bio-based products.

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Zeitschriftenbeiträge (peer-reviewed)
Consumer response to bio-based products – A systematic review
Sustainable Production and Consumption 34, 353-370
Sustainable Production and Consumption
Ruf, Julia; Emberger-Klein, Agnes; Menrad, Klaus (2022): Consumer response to bio-based products – A systematic review. Sustainable Production and Consumption 34, 353-370 , S. 353-370. DOI: 10.1016/j.spc.2022.09.022