Off-trade

Consumers pay little attention to ingredients on spirits labels

Although much media attention has been given in recent years towards consumers regularly checking ingredient labelling on grocery products for health or quality reasons, this trait is not apparent in the spirits category.

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 UK spirit drinkers don’t bother checking ingredient claims on packaging, stating that the majority of related claims have little influence on their buying behaviour, according to consumer research from Canadean.

Few consumers regularly check labels to assess ingredients prior to purchasing spirits. The most popular ingredient claim checked relates to premium positioning.

Canadean found people most likely to check ingredient claims prior to purchase when buying vodka but even then only 14 per cent do so regularly. Shoppers are least likely to check labelling when purchasing brandy and tequila with only nine per cent of people saying they regularly check before buying.

“Buying behaviour in the spirit sector tends to be influenced by routine and familiarity, with consumers turning to brands they know,” explains Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Consumer, “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.”

The most popular ingredient/product claim that consumers look for is ‘pure’.

“Consumers associate purity in the spirits sector with quality – such as using the finest ingredients and production techniques,” explains Michael, “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. Only 12 per cent of people say that they look out for ‘exotic ingredients’ and only 13 per cent ‘organic ingredients’.
“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,” Michael Hughes concludes.

This report highlights how the industry still needs to do more to differentiate spirits and give them a more premium positioning through ingredient claims.

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 UK spirit drinkers don’t bother checking ingredient claims on packaging.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 UK spirit drinkers don’t bother checking ingredient claims on packaging.

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