Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of information about alcohol content, organic labelling and packaging on consumer preferences and willingness-to-pay (WTP) of non-alcoholic sparkling mock wines. Design/methodology/approach: In a two-step study, the consumer’s expectations and overall liking of two novel brands of mock wines were investigated by focus groups followed by a common hedonic test combined with a choice experiment aimed at measuring consumer WTP. A total of 240 consumers were assigned to two tasting groups of equal size: all were presented at least one brand of mock wine, while drinkers also tasted a familiar brand of low-alcohol sweet sparkling wine. A paper-and-pencil choice experiment followed the tasting sessions. Findings: The results demonstrate that participants in blind or manipulated “informed” conditions are not able to discriminate among mock wines and wine, whereas significant differences in preferences for brands under investigation appeared when labels and other information were disclosed. In effect, drinkers and non-drinkers did not differ in hedonic scores of mock wines. While younger participants exhibited the highest scores in blind liking, the overall expected liking is significantly higher for non-drinkers and women if compared, respectively, to drinkers and men. WTP for mock wines is influenced by taste, glass bottle packaging and the organic label, while mock-wine colour is not relevant. Research limitations/implications: Although limited in sample size and representativeness, this study has brought some new insights into the consumption of non-alcoholic mock wines. In this study, a significant influence of blind sensory liking on WTP is demonstrated. This result has theoretical implications: while the effect of product information on WTP is well established, the relationship between hedonic scores and WTP – while theoretically consistent – is not so clear-cut in the literature. Further research is needed to confirm/disconfirm these findings. Practical implications: Sparkling no-alcohol mock wines, despite their sweetness, appear not different in taste to medium-to-low APV (7.5 per cent) sweet wines. Originality/value: The paper suggests that marketing of mock (no-alcohol) wines needs careful branding to elicit significant hedonic effects, while interacting sensory (blind liking) scores with price information in choice models may help to represent taste heterogeneity in WTP estimates in a better way.
Effect of information on consumer preferences and willingness-to-pay for sparkling mock wines / Naspetti, S.; Alberti, F.; Mozzon, M.; Zingaretti, S.; Zanoli, R.. - In: BRITISH FOOD JOURNAL. - ISSN 0007-070X. - ELETTRONICO. - ahead-of-print:ahead-of-print(2019). [10.1108/BFJ-06-2019-0469]