Low alcohol wine consumption in Finland

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Title: Low alcohol wine consumption in Finland
Alternative title: Matala-alkoholisten viinien kulutus Suomessa
Author: Hyytiäinen, Johanna
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202011114429
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Elintarviketalouden ja kulutuksen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Food Economy and Consumption
Magisterprogrammet i livsmedelsekonomi och konsumtion
Specialisation: Elintarviketalous ja kulutus
Food Economy and Consumption
Livsmedelsekonomi och konsumtion
Abstract: Since January 2018, all alcoholic beverages containing a maximum of 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) have been allowed to be sold in grocery stores in Finland due to the new Alcohol Act. Subsequently, 5.5% ABV wines entered the market in Finland in 2018. To examine both the demand and supply sides of low alcohol wines, this thesis presents results from an analysis of consumers’ stated preferences and retail store managers’ stated preferences. In particular, it aims to provide insights into consumers’ consumption habits, knowledge, and attitudes towards low alcohol (5.5% or less) wines, and retailers’ knowledge and preferences about the wine assortment and sales of low alcohol wines. In the literature review, I examine previous research about wine consumption in Finland and internationally, as well as wine research in the context of retailing. This thesis is based on a quantitative research. I conducted the consumer survey (N=183) and retail store manager survey (N=50) as online surveys during August-October 2019. The surveys included Likert-scale and yes/no questions, as well as open-ended questions and questions about sociodemographic factors. In particular, I examine how subjective wine knowledge and sociodemographic factors are related to consumers’ purchasing of low alcohol sparkling, red or white wines, and how wine knowledge and sociodemographic factors are related to consumers’ willingness to switch regular wines to low alcohol wines, and their perception of having enough knowledge and experience of low alcohol wines in order to try them. I also examine consumers’ perceptions related to low alcohol wines in general. In addition, I examine how retail store managers perceive consumers’ interest in low alcohol wines, and the legislation related to wines. The results suggest that older age is related to higher odds of purchasing low alcohol sparkling, red and white wines. The low alcohol sparkling wine buyer’s main profile characteristics are weighted towards older-age women, who have mid-income, high education and low subjective wine knowledge. The typical profile characteristics for those who perceive themselves to have enough knowledge about low alcohol wines in order to try them are weighted towards men who have mid-income, and high subjective wine knowledge. There appears to be general interest from the consumers’ side in switching to low alcohol wines if they found one that suits their preferences in a retail outlet. However, as the consumer’s subjective wine knowledge level increases, a consumer becomes less likely to be ready to switch to low alcohol wines. Consumers seem to indicate dissatisfaction with the current limited selection of low alcohol wines in grocery stores. On the other hand, retail store managers seem to think that the quantities of different low alcohol wines in the stores match well with consumer demand. Finally, the results indicate that majority of the store managers who answered the survey would also allow regular wines to be sold in grocery stores. Based on alcohol consumption statistics and the results of this thesis, low alcohol wines have not yet gained much popularity among consumers in Finland. This can partially be explained by the fact that beer has been the most popular alcoholic beverage in Finland for a long time, and its popularity has continued after stronger (5.5% ABV) beers entered grocery stores in 2018. In addition, the different taste of low alcohol wines compared to regular wines is seen as a reason why consumers do not prefer low alcohol wines. However, there exists a market potential for low alcohol wines in Finland. The majority of the consumers indicated that they are interested in trying low alcohol wines even though they have not tried them yet, and that they would be ready to switch to low alcohol wines if they found one that suits their preferences. Even though beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Finland, consumers prefer to drink wine with meals. Therefore, low alcohol wine could be a good choice for consumers to drink with meals.
Subject: low alcohol wines
new Alcohol Act
subjective wine knowledge
stated preferences
retail store managers
grocery stores

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