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Fresh research finds that 59% of consumers are interested in products and packaging made from plants, an estimated market of more than 136 million people.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

December 10, 2020

3 Min Read
PBPC Study Graphic Overview

Research released December 10 by the Plant Based Products Council (PBPC) shows the majority of US consumers are receptive to plant based products and packaging, with 54% viewing them favorably and 59% expressing interest. According to the report, the potential market size for plant-based products is estimated to be more than 136 million.

“There is clear consumer desire to support and promote innovation in the plant-based products and packaging arena,” said Jessica Bowman, executive director of the Council. “PBPC and our members stand ready to embrace the opportunity to educate consumers on the many benefits of plant-based products as we work to guide the global economy toward more sustainable and responsible consumer products and packaging.”

In addition to being receptive, more than half (54%) of US consumers are likely to purchase plant-based products in the next three months, with just less than half (49%) also self-reporting as likely to recommend these products to others.

PBPC 1 in 5 simple chart

The data showed significant untapped market potential with only 1 in 5 (22%) reporting strong familiarity with plant-based products and packaging. Additionally, when consumers see plant-based products and packaging, the first things that come to mind for them are paper and food, followed less commonly by clothing, bags, boxes, and containers.

There is also a notable amount of general confusion as to what the category is about.  This awareness gap signifies an opportunity for consumer education not only to grow familiarity, but to increase awareness of the positive impact plant-based products and materials have on the environment.

“PBPC works every day to educate key stakeholders and advocate for policies that encourage growth and innovation in the plant-based industry,” added Bowman.

What about bioplastics?

Given the amount of press and news in the bioplastics market, it was surprising that a report filed by PlasticsToday in April 2020 cited an industry report that found a lack of innovation in the bioplastics was preventing the widespread use of biodegradable and compostable materials in packaging applications (see Widespread Use of Bioplastics Held Back by Lagging Innovation).

Despite that constraint, the bioplastics market remains growing by leaps and bounds, according to a market study published that same month: The global market for plant-based polymers is expected to grow from $10.5 billion in 2020 to $27.9 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 21.7%, according to a report from Markets&Markets.

The 2020 PBPC Consumer Research study was conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies and included both a quantitative and qualitative component. A nationally representative sample of 1,000 US consumers responded to an online survey fielded from June 12-17, 2020. Additionally, a nationally representative sample of 20 U.S. consumers participated in 90-minute online focus groups in August 2020. Full results from the study are accessible only to PBPC members.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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