Ingredient claims have little influence on choice of alcoholic spirits bought
17 October 2012
- Consumers are most likely to check ingredients when buying vodka – but tendency to do so is low
- "Pure" is the most popular ingredient claim among buyers when purchasing alcoholic spirits
Although much attention has been given in the media in recent years towards consumers regularly checking ingredient labelling on grocery products for health or quality reasons, this trait is not apparent in the alcoholic spirits category. Few consumers regularly check labels to assess ingredients prior to purchasing spirits and the most popular ingredient claim checked is related to premium positioning.
Despite recent attempts by the industry to give spirits a more premium positioning through formulation, such as using different botanicals in gin, adding energy enhancing ingredients into liqueurs and infusing vodkas with more exotic flavours, the majority of alcoholic spirit drinkers in the UK do not bother checking ingredient claims on packaging and say that the majority of related claims have little influence on buying behaviour.
Research conducted by Canadean Consumer found that people are most likely to check ingredient claims prior to purchase when buying vodka, but even then only 14% say they do so regularly. Shoppers are least likely to check labelling when purchasing brandy and tequila, with 9% of people saying they regularly check before buying. Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Consumer, explains “buying behaviour in the spirit sector tends to be influenced by routine and familiarity, with consumers turning to brands they know. The desire for indulgence and tendency to buy a trusted brand means that in many instances, checking ingredient labels is not a consideration for shoppers”.
When it comes to checking product labelling before buying alcoholic spirits in general, the most popular ingredient/product claim that consumers look for is “pure”. Hughes explains “consumers associate purity in the spirits sector with quality – such as using the finest ingredients and production techniques. It is no surprise that the most popular form of ingredient claim is related to promotion of a beverage’s premium credentials as opposed to its healthier formulation”.
However, other claims in the industry focused on giving spirits a more premium positioning are failing to capture the attention of shoppers. Indeed, only 12% of people say that they look out for “exotic ingredients” and only 13% “organic ingredients”. Hughes concludes “such is the tendency for buying behaviour to be influenced by routine and familiarity that shoppers are paying little attention to more modern labelling claims such as the use of exotic ingredients, such as gins being formulated with botanicals”. This highlights how the industry still needs to do more to differentiate spirits and give them a more premium positioning through ingredient claims.
Figure 1: Proportion of consumers who check ingredient information when buying the following beverages either “all of the time” or “most of the time”. UK, 2012
Source: Canadean © Canadean
Figure 2: Proportion of consumers who say the following ingredient claims have a “high” or “very high” influence when buying spirits. UK, 2012
Source: Canadean © Canadean