Ahead of Millésime Bio*, the international organic wine exhibition, its organisers have published research into consumption of organic wine in Europe**, conducted in conjunction with Ipsos. Predictably, consumption has continued to grow since 2015, but with discrepancies between the countries studied – France, Germany and the United Kingdom. What share of consumption is organic? What is the consumer audience for organic, their motivations and barriers to consumption? We provide some insight into European demand.
- What is the share of organic wine consumption?
- What is the consumer audience for organic wine?
- The motivations and barriers to consumption among European consumers
What is the share or organic wine consumption?
As a preamble, as the study points out, one fact should be underscored: overall wine consumption is falling. In 2015, 82% of Europeans drank wine over the previous six months whereas over the same period in 2021, that percentage had dropped to 73%. Conversely, the share of organic wine consumers rose: 29 % of Europeans have now made it a part of their consumption habits, versus 17 % in 2015. In fact, 36% of the French drink organic wine regularly or occasionally, compared with 17 % in 2015, a staggering two-fold increase. In 2015, 18% of the English and Germans drank organic wine, rising respectively to 27% and 23%.
Consumption has become structural, meaning that it is now an integral part of purchasing patterns. Europeans now include organic wines in their shopping basket. As Nicolas Richarme, Chairman of Sudvinbio, the association which organises Millésime Bio, says: “We have gone from inquisitive drinkers to structural consumption. The gap has narrowed between consumers who say they have had an opportunity to drink organic wine, at least once in their lives, and regular drinkers.”
What is the consumer audience for organic wine?
The typical social profile is a young, urban male graduate belonging to the professional occupation or higher managerial categories. Translated into figures, this equates to 46% of under-35s already having drunk organic wine, whereas only 38% of over 55s have done so. The level of education also leads to disparities: 48% of graduates have already drunk organic wine, compared with 25% of people with a lower level of education. Similarly, place of residence creates differences, with 75% of people living in the Paris region having had the opportunity to taste an organic wine, which is almost double the European average (39 %).
The motivations and barriers to consumption among European consumers
The research shows that the prime driver of consumption is the environmental footprint of organic wine. Among the primary motivations for drinking organic wine, 58 % of German consumers, 54 % of the French and 50 % of the British quote respect for the environment. One new aspect to emerge is the fair trade aspect associated with organic. The Germans, at 38%, are the most receptive to this aspect of production which creates more jobs than conventional winegrowing. The French follow at 35% and the English at 31%.
As a consequence of this heightened awareness of the higher production costs of organic farming, 63 % of Europeans (both consumers and non-consumers) are prepared to pay more for products which help protect the environment, compared with 57 % in 2015. On average, they spend €13.90 for an organic wine versus €11 for a non-organic wine. In more detail, the English agree to pay €18.90 for an organically certified wine (up €6.6 on 2015), the French €14 (+ €5 on 2015) and the Germans €10 (+ €2.3 on 2015).
And yet, one of the barriers to purchasing organic wine is the price! 42% of the English feel it is too high, compared with 41% of the Germans and 27% of the French. On average, 23% of them claim they struggle to find them in stores. The main barrier to consumption is lack of information. 40% of the French have never bought organic wine because they consider to be under informed; the same is true of 41% of the English and 26% of the Germans. Ironically, the percentage of French people who are aware of organic wines is the highest at 83 %, dropping to just 50 % of Germans and 43 % of Brits!
* The Millésime Bio trade fair has been postponed and will now take place in Montpellier from Monday 28 February to Wednesday 2 March 2022. The digital event will run on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 January 2022.
**METHODOLOGY: A sample of 3,000 people aged 18 and above (1,000 for Germany, 1,000 for France and 1,000 for the United Kingdom) representative of the relevant countries. Quota method: sex, age, socio-economic category, region and urban category. Sample surveyed on the Internet between 22 September and 8 October 2021