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Which used a TAPPI T 401 test, which breaks down a sample of paper into its constituent fibres

Naked Sprout has disputed the results of an investigation that found its bamboo toilet roll to contain just 4% bamboo.

In a report published this month, consumer watchdog Which? tested toilet rolls from five brands that were claimed to be made solely of bamboo [November 2023].

It used a TAPPI T 401 test, which breaks down a sample of paper into its constituent fibres, and found that three of the five rolls tested contained “low or very low levels of bamboo-like grass fibres”.

Bazoo was found to contain 26.1% bamboo fibres, while Naked Sprout was found to contain just 4% bamboo. Bumboo toilet rolls were found to contain the lowest proportion of bamboo of the five brands, at just 2.7%.

The toilet rolls in question were “mainly composed of virgin hardwoods”, such as eucalyptus and acacia, the Which? report alleged.

Toilet tissue from Cheeky Panda and Who Gives A Crap (WGAC), meanwhile, was found to contain 100% bamboo as claimed.

When approached by The Grocer, Naked Sprout co-founder Tom Whelan claimed the report was “misleading and inaccurate”.

“Our bamboo toilet paper is made of bamboo,” he insisted, adding that the TAPPI T 401 test was “a subjective analysis and not suited to our unbleached bamboo products”.

“Which? did not include the information we provided to them in their article about our supply chain, proving our product is made of bamboo only,” Whelan added.

Bumboo CEO Rob Ingram, meanwhile, admitted “finding that a small number of our products fell outside of our 100% bamboo standards was very disappointing”.

“However, we acted quickly to fix the problem so it cannot happen again,” Ingram said, adding the brand had “immediately told our customers”.

Naked Sprout and Bumboo sell the majority of their toilet tissue direct-to-consumer, but both brands have listings with Ocado. The former said its value sales hit £5m in 2023, while the latter said its value sales amounted to £2.2m.

Cheeky Panda co-founder Chris Forbes said the findings of Which?’s report were “not good” for the category.

“We got into this business in 2016 because we believed bamboo could make a positive impact on the planet.

“Our turnover could be a lot bigger if we decided to do recycled tissue and other things that weren’t bamboo, but we always wanted to stick to our core values.”

Who Gives A Crap CEO Simon Griffiths said he was “shocked that only one other brand tested lived up to the promises they made to customers”.

“Greenwashing is bad for customers, for the industry, and for the movement of people and brands like ours who are genuinely trying to make meaningful improvements to the planet.”

Chris Baker, CEO of recycled toilet paper brand Serious Tissues agreed, adding the findings were “not just disappointing for consumers but are also a devastating blow for businesses in the sector who are trying to make a difference”.

Bazoo had not responded to requests to comment by the time of writing.