4 in 10 consumers open to a lower alcohol offer, according to report

The potential market for lower alcohol wines is around 13 million UK wine drinkers, according to research published by Wine Intelligence.

These consumers – representing just under 43% of the UK’s monthly wine drinking population - have bought wines at 10.5% abv and under recently. They also said they will do so in future, and many of them say they now actively consider alcohol levels in wine as part of their decision making process, according to the UK Lower Alcohol Wines Report.

Findings suggest that the lower alcohol message has not been universally understood or appreciated, with a significant minority (30% of monthly wine drinkers) unable to estimate how much alcohol is in the typical bottle of wine they drink. Just under half of respondents say they would not buy wine products at 5.5%abv but this fell to 25% of the population when considering wine between 5.5% and 10.5%abv.

The report also points out that many consumers are struggling with the quality and range of lower alcohol wines currently on offer in supermarkets, particularly 5.5%abv wine products. Evidence from recent Wine Intelligence studies suggests that consumers buy these wines principally because of their relative cheapness compared with higher strength wine, and are often disappointed with the taste of the products.

The research also throws up questions about the consumer needs and purchase rationale for lower alcohol wines. Wine is still seen as a “treat” product for many consumers, and they also associate higher alcohol levels with a more sophisticated and pleasant tasting product.

Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence, said: “The lower alcohol wine market in the UK is poised for an exciting year, with a lot of innovative products arriving on the shelf, and a clearly defined audience that is now more interested in alcohol levels than before. However, this report clearly illustrates some of the major challenges in front of us: how to make a lower alcohol product relevant to consumers, and how to reassure them that it will still meet their taste expectations.”

The Wine Intelligence UK Lower Alcohol Wines Report is published by Wine Intelligence and available from the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop, priced at GBP £500, EUR €600, AUD $800, USD $800 or one Report Credit.