Consumers don’t care about organic, Fairtrade or biodynamic wine

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  • Tuesday 29 May 2007

The majority of UK consumers do not care if their wine is organic or Fairtrade, and do not understand what biodynamic means, says a new study.

Market research firm Wine Intelligence asked 2000 regular wine drinkers for their views on wine that is produced with consideration to social, ethical and environmental issues.

Both qualitative and quantitative results revealed a great deal of confusion and mistrust about the terminology applied to such wines. The study revealed that while most people understand the concept of Fairtrade, some believe that all wine is organically produced, and at least one consumer thought organic wine meant vegetarian.

‘While 60% of respondents are aware of organic and Fairtrade wine, only 11.9% claim to have bought organic or Fairtrade wine in the last three months,’ said research director Lulie Halstead. ‘This is compared to 60-70% who claimed to have bought organic and Fairtrade food.’

The survey did, however, indicate that 20% of regular wine drinkers might be willing to pay up to 50p more for Fairtrade wine.

One study participant said,‘Fairtrade is something you do for others, while organic is something you do for yourself.’

Halstead explained that many of the responses to the survey were driven by lack of awareness due to limited exposure and availability.

Unlike organic and sustainably produced food – which respondents believe tastes better and merits a premium compared with non-organic food – wine has a perception problem: most respondents said they thought organically produced and Fairtrade wine would not taste good.

The study also highlighted the confusion caused by the sheer quantity of wines available – as well as the potential conflict posed by differing logos and seals of approval of accreditation schemes around the world.

Consumers have enough trouble recalling labels and names, so even if they drink an ethically or environmentally sound wine that satisfies, they may not remember it next time.

As for biodynamically produced wine, a further study revealed a near-total absence of awareness and knowledge on the part of UK consumers.

‘I admit I had to download information about this myself,’ said Halstead. ‘So I’m no different from most consumers.’

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