Consumer perceptions of new wood-based products
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Combatting current, global environmental challenges such as climate change requires transition from fossil-based economy towards environmentally, economically and socially sustainable bioeconomy. Wood has proven to be a versatile and readily available material that is renewable and able to substitute for non-renewable, fossil-based, environmentally harmful materials. Wood has multiple traditional applications but it is also a potential material to many emerging products, such as textiles and chemicals. This paper discusses consumer perceptions of new wood-based products in four different product categories: textiles, multi-story construction, chemicals, and packaging. Product attributes affecting purchase decisions and consumer attitudes towards new wood-based products were examined by an online survey that yielded 235 responses. The results of the study show that consumers are interested in new wood-based products in all product categories, especially in packaging, and majority of them would choose a wood-based product over a conventional alternative. Wooden multi-story construction divides opinions most. The main attribute that affects consumer purchase decisions, according to the consumers themselves, is quality, while others (such as price and environmental friendliness) are less important. Consumer view new wood-based products as safe and environmentally friendly, but also expensive and not easily available. It is clear that the general attitudes towards wood-based products are positive but more knowledge and information is still needed. Many consumers are unaware of the actual potential and characteristics of new wood-based products. In order to improve the market share of new wood-based products, the focus needs to be on developing products that can compete with conventional alternatives in terms of especially quality and availability, but also price. ...
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