Genencor survey tests public awareness of “bio-based”

09 May 2011 22:40  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--A new survey of consumer attitudes toward “bio-based” products in the US and Canada shows that “there is still quite a ways to go” in educating the public, said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Denmark-based Genencor, which commissioned the study, on Monday.

Speaking on Monday at the World Congress of Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, de Ruiter said he was nonetheless pleased by the results, which showed that a solid minority of consumers in both countries are familiar with the concept of bio-based products, as well as the more familiar “green” label.

In both the US and Canada, a majority of respondents reported recently purchasing green products, although the proportion was higher in Canada, at 71%, than in the US, at 53%, a difference attributed to a difference in the purchase of green household cleaning products.

The study found some public recognition of the term “bio-based” in regard to household products, as indicated by 40% of American consumers and 35% of Canadians. However, there was only limited understanding of what types of product fit the category, fuel ethanol and cleaning products being the most common.

“We thought it would be a good idea to have a reality check, and see what the consumers are actually thinking of this,” said de Ruiter of the decision to do the survey. “I must actually say, I was very pleased with the results, because it shows there is clearly recognition that bio-based products in household goods are environmentally sustainable.

“We also learned that there is still quite a ways to go, because it is still difficult for the consumer to specify what bio-based exactly means,” he added. “It's also clear that there is still some skepticism whether these products are actually good for the environment.”

De Ruiter said that the study, the first of its kind, would serve as a baseline against which to trace evolving consumer attitudes in future surveys which would take place every two or three years.

He also said the survey would also be conducted in China and Europe.

By: Clay Boswell
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