1 Department of Management - MAPP - Centre for Research on Value Creation in the Food Sector, Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University4 Bordeaux Management School (BEM),5 University of Montpellier6 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
An international comparison
Purpose: The number of wineries and regions engaging in sustainable wine programs is increasing continuously. Sustainable, environmental friendly or organic wine production is now used for strategic profiling and positioning in the competition between old and new wine producing countries. While there a large variety of different sustainable programs exists and supply of sustainably produced wine is increasing, few is still known about the degree to which consumers actually value these wine characteristics. There is still limited knowledge about the potential market share and willingness to pay for wines with environmental or sustainable claims across international markets. Understanding the profile of those consumes, who show a positive willingness to pay for wine with environmental or sustainable claims would help the wine industry to better target and position their wines. Methodology: A total of 11,300 regular wine consumers responded to visual shelf simulation choice experiments across seven international markets: the UK, France, Germany, US East Coast, US Midwest, Canada Anglophone and Canada Francophone. Wine alternatives from which consumers could choose differed in a total of nine attributes (price, brand, region of origin and appellation system, grape variety, alcohol level, medal, sensory style, bottling, and sustainable claim), considering the majority of attributes, which are known to be important to consumers and preventing an overestimation of the effect of sustainable claims. For each market, consumers’ choices were analysed with a scale adjusted latent class model, considering preference heterogeneity jointly with differences in response consistency. The optimal solution resulted into six to seven choice segments in each market and one segment, which always choose the no-choice reference alternative. Findings: Of all sustainable claims, organic had the highest impact on consumer choice, followed by a privately used claim ‘protect the planet’. Carbon zero wines were only significantly positively valued in the UK, where consumers were made aware of its meaning through national supermarket chains. Wines with claims of less glass weight received a significantly lower willingness to pay. In each market, except for the UK, we could identify at least one latent choice class with a significant positive willingness to pay for sustainable claims. The size of these segments differs across the seven international markets, implying varying degrees of market potential for environmental wines on export markets. From their choices these target segments can be characterised by their preferred wine attributes (e.g. wine type, grape variety, preferred region, etc.) as well as by their typical wine purchase behaviour. Implications: The study provides the wine industry with an estimate on the market potential and willingness to pay for wines marketed with sustainable claims. The characteristics of target segments allow a better positioning of these wines.