In today’s market, consumers have high expectations for the products they purchase. Beyond performance and pricing, consumers like the opportunity to make educated purchasing decisions for their families, and increasingly, decisions that that have an impact. USDA’s new biobased product label will enable consumers to do just that.
Initially, USDA’s Biopreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and was intended to help increase the purchase and use of biobased products within the Federal government and the commercial market. In 2008, Congress voted to reauthorize the program in an attempt to expand the reach of this successful program and to further promote the sale of biobased products.
The new label will identify products made from renewable resources composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. In addition to facilitating increased U.S. energy independence by reducing the use of petroleum in manufactured products, the USDA’s BioPreferred program helps to reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere, thus mitigating potential climate change impacts. The biobased product label will both empower the consumer to make informed purchasing decisions based on a product’s ingredients, and will allow them to participate in boosting the demand for renewable commodities and help to create jobs, investment and income.
USDA estimates that there are already 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in the United States. In addition, it is estimated that the growing industry as a whole is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs. Through implementation of the BioPreferred program, USDA has already designated approximately 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by Federal agencies. The new label will make identification of these products easier for Federal buyers, and will increase awareness of these high-value products in other markets.
To see an example of USDA’s new voluntary biobased product label, you may visit www.biopreferred.gov