BioPreferred: For a Greener, More Secure Future


The USDA’s BioPreferred Program designates purchasing categories in which Federal Purchasers are required to give biobased products preference. The reasoning behind this requirement is multifaceted. Yes, mandatory federal purchasing of biobased products promotes a healthier planet. However, sustainable acquisition also increases our national security.

What is a Biobased Product?

Biobased products are products that are derived from renewable natural sources. These sources include:

In biobased products, compounds from these natural sources take the place of traditional petroleum-based ingredients. This lessens our nation’s dependence on petroleum significantly. Over 300 million gallons of petroleum are replaced with biobased alternatives each year.

What Biobased Isn’t

When we use the term “biobased” in regard to Federal Purchasing, it never includes the following three Fs:

Biobased and Security

Harnessing the Federal Government’s spending power and directing Federal Purchasing to biobased sources has the following positive impact on our national security:

Economic Security:
Growth in the biobased market creates new jobs for American workers, particularly in the farmlands of rural America. This increases our country’s economic security.


Energy Security: When biobased products replace petroleum-based products, our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels decreases, thus reducing our overall demand for foreign oil.


Food Security:
By supporting new, innovative uses for agricultural commodities, the BioPreferred Program helps America maintain its strong food supply, which is the most reliable in the world.


Biobased is Mandatory

Mandatory Federal Purchasing Laws require biobased purchases within 97 designated categories. The United States Department of Agriculture decides which product categories fall under BioPreferred mandatory purchasing. They also set each category’s minimum for biobased content.

Not All Products With the BioPreferred Label Are Required for Federal Purchasing

The BioPreferred Program has two different initiatives that both fall under the BioPreferred umbrella:

Products that belong to one of the 97 USDA selected categories for Federal Purchasing have two ways to participate in BioPreferred:

  • Become qualified for Mandatory Federal Purchasing
  • Become qualified for Federal Purchasing AND become certified to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label

If a product does not fall under one of the the 97 categories for Federal Purchasing, it may be Certified only, with approval to display the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.

As a result, some products bearing the BioPreferred label are not required for Federal Purchasing.

Differences Between Voluntary Labeling and BioPreferred Products Qualified for Federal Purchasing:

There is some overlap between the two initiatives, with some products that are voluntarily labeled also qualified for Mandatory Federal Purchasing. Those products will bear the BioPreferred Label along with the letters FP, which stands for Federal Purchasing.

BioPreferred Categories for Federal Purchasing

There are currently 97 product categories that have been identified and designated for Federal Purchasing. Within these categories, there are over 10,000 different products.

Cleaning Products:

Personal Care and Hygiene:




Click here to see the full list of all 97 categories.

Biobased: Good for Our Country. Good for Our Planet.

Our country is very known for its green, expansive forests and broad, fertile plains. Rural America’s two most powerful drivers of economic growth are agriculture and manufacturing. Biobased products pair these two engines, giving rural America a strong economic backbone. These Biobased products reduce our need for petroleum and protect our country’s food supply, increasing the security of our nation now and in the future.

By directing the yearly spend to biobased products, America is leading the way in sustainability. By adhering to federal purchasing laws, Federal Purchasers are doing their part to keep America strong, safe and secure.

Click to read more about the positive economic impact of the BioPreferred Program.


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