Study Shows Consumers Favor Sustainability in Products & Packaging

Plant Based Cosmetics

The Plant Based Products Council finds increasing interest in plant-based packaging and CSR—in Beauty and elsewhere.

The Plant Based Products Council (PBPC) recently released its annual consumer research study showing growing consumer demand for products made from renewable and sustainable materials. In general, the study found 61% of consumers are more interested in companies who produce or use plant-based products. At the same time, 65% of consumers “sometimes, frequently or always think about products made from plants when making purchasing decisions.”

The organization’s second annual consumer survey of 1,054 adults, conducted June-July 2021, explores the public’s perception and understanding of renewable and sustainable materials and products.

Some key takeaways from the study include:

  • 57% of consumers reported using plant-based products at least once a week, up from 53% in 2020.
  • More than 2 in 3 consumers (65%) reported they sometimes, frequently or always think about products made from plants when making purchasing decisions, including purchasing clothes.
  • 89% of consumers are somewhat, very, or extremely likely to support a company that produces and/or uses products made from plants.
  • 61% of consumers are more interested in companies who produce or use plant-based products.
  • 62% are more interested in companies who are leading innovations in plant-based products.

A Correlation with Beauty

PBPC executive director Jessica Bowman says the results show how consumer demand for sustainable products is driving innovation in the beauty industry. While there weren’t individual questions in the survey on beauty/cosmetic product perceptions, the consumers surveyed did respond to questions about general shopping habits, which would include items like beauty/cosmetic products. The study also found growing consumer interest in supporting companies that produce and innovate with plant-based products.

Bowman tells Beauty Packaging: “This year’s research underscores the consumer demand driving sustainable market changes in the beauty industry. With more than 2 in 3 consumers thinking about plant-based products when making purchasing decisions, such as for items like cosmetics and clothing, it’s clear that consumers want more eco-friendly options. We’re seeing companies respond to these demands by innovating not only the materials that make up cosmetic products but also the materials that those products come in… Renewable, plant-based materials can be used for the beauty industry’s packaging needs and serve as a solution to many of the environmental and economic challenges presented by traditional plastic packaging.”

Familiarity with Plant-Based Materials

Additional study findings show that awareness of specific materials used to create plant-based products has increased since 2020:

Familiarity with corn use in plant-based products jumped from 37% to 47%

  • Familiarity with bamboo use in plant-based products jumped from 30% to 35%
  • Familiarity with soybean use in plant-based products jumped from 26% to 31%
  • Familiarity with hemp use in plant-based products jumped from 23% to 33%

Bowman says, “We’re excited by the results of this year’s consumer research study, as it underscores the public’s desire for increased innovation and expansion of plant-based products. PBPC and our members are eager to educate consumers on the many benefits of plant-based products as we work with business, science, and government stakeholders to guide the U.S. toward a more sustainable and responsible economy.”


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