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When will sustainability matter to wine consumers?

The concept of sustainability – in all its forms and definitions – has become a powerful driver of consumer sentiment in recent years. Brands from categories as diverse as airlines and accountancy firms have rushed to burnish their sustainability credentials. Similar trends have also taken root in the global alcohol industry – and for good reason. According to data collected for the IWSR Covid Tracker 2021, nearly half of American adult drinkers of beverage alcohol (48%) and 70% of Chinese alcohol drinkers said they were ‘positively influenced’ to buy brands that had demonstrable environmental or sustainability credentials.

As one might expect, wine consumers are at least as keen on sustainability in general. In our latest Strategic Report, Opportunities for Alternative Wines, Wine Intelligence research found that between 56% and 67% of wine consumers across major wine markets (US, Canada, UK, Sweden and Australia) had a high connection with sustainability in general, judging from their answers to a number of statements about the subject.

However there seemed to be a disconnect between their broader attitudes to sustainability and their willingness to translate this desire into their wine purchasing behaviour. Among all regular wine drinkers, the willingness to pay more sustainable wines, or to opt for sustainable wines given the choice, fell to around a third of drinkers across the same markets.


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