Is the consumer ready for innovative fruit wines?

AIM: Wine consumption in the last fifteen years showed a decrease in Europe [1]. New alternatives of wines appeared on the market. Those beverages are obtained by blending wines and fruit juices or flavoring wines with artificial or natural aromas and have medium alcohol content (from 8 to 10.5%) [2]. Recently, an innovative fruit wine has been proposed obtained by co-fermenting grape must and kiwi juice [3] whose potential attractiveness to consumers should be exploited. However, differences in product acceptability and perception, as well as the individuals’ willingness to consume and pay could change in function of subjects socio-demographic characteristics. The target group selected is represented by young adults (18-35 years old) consumption groups.

METHODS: The data were collected through an online survey created with Google Forms and disseminated by e-mail and social networks. . The results were processed to highlight differences between two age groups (millennial and Z generation) and gender in terms of alcoholic beverages consumption habits, consumer’s experience about fruit wines, the perception and expectations about this new products and the willingness to pay. Non-parametric tests were performed to test the statistical differences between the two age groups. 

RESULTS: The questionnaire was submitted to  participants belonging to the Z generation (62% of the  respondents), and Millennials (38% ).  Even though the product is still little known in Italy, 86% of positive responses were obtained by the question “Would you be willing to consume a fruit wine?”; in particular, negative answers were strongly due to respondents neophobia. Answers about consumption habits revealed that wine and beer are young people’s favorite drinks and the choice of participants already involved in wine sector could be influenced by their personal experience. Differences in terms of consumption habits emerged in terms of individuals’ age and gender. However, the two age groups were in accordance on different quality aspects of fruit wines, with the exception of alcohol degree and Brand knowledge. Also the willingness to pay for the new product changes in relation to individuals age.

CONCLUSIONS: The survey carried out on the consumer perception toward a novel fruit wine demonstrated that the marketplace could be attracted and potentially ready to this innovation. Moreover, the sustainability aspects that distinguish this product along with the social impact of a low-alcohol drink, however obtained from a grape must, may represent a further economic fly-wheel in the alcoholic beverage market. The differences in consumer perception, considering gender and age, could represent a marketing tool to consider in the product communication strategies

Authors: Stefano Massaglia – Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Italy,Valentina Maria Merlino, Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Italy Daniela FRACASSETTI, Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Italy  Simona PIZZI, Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Italy Alessandra DI CANITO, Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Italy Ileana VIGENTINI, Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Italy 

Email: stefano.massaglia@unito.it

Keywords: innovation, fruit wines, consumer acceptance, low alcohol beverages, willingness to pay

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