Academic Minute Podcast

Deidre Popovich, Texas Tech University – Wine Nutrition Labels May Surprise Consumers

Nutrition labels could be coming to a wine store near you.

Deidre Popovich, associate professor of marketing at Texas Tech University, says customers might not like what they see.

Deidre Popovich is an associate professor of marketing in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. She earned a PhD in marketing from Emory University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Her research focuses on consumer psychology, including how decision contexts and information cues can influence consumer decision-making and self-control. Her research has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, and Behavior Research Methods, among others.

Her previous industry experience includes working as a marketing research manager for a national nonprofit organization and as a strategy consultant for a top-ten healthcare consulting firm.

Wine Nutrition Labels May Surprise Consumers

How do consumers perceive nutrition labeling on wine, and how does this information impact healthiness perceptions of wine? Our research, with co-author Natalia Velikova, suggests that once consumers read a nutrition label on a wine bottle, they may be surprised by what they read.

Consumers often use a simple heuristic of “virtue” or “vice” to categorize their consumption, and wine has often been thought of as a “virtue,” given its touted health benefits in the popular press.

The European Union recently passed legislation requiring nutrition labels to appear on wine. Industry experts expect that the US will soon follow suit.

In our experimental studies, consumers who read nutrition labels rated wine as significantly less healthy. Sugar content affected healthiness perceptions of wine more than calories, especially for white wines, which tend to contain more sugar than reds. Our studies indicate that US consumers aren’t used to seeing nutrition information on wine labels, and most are surprised by what they read since they don’t associate wine with calories, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Our research has implications for consumers, manufacturers, and public policy. While most consumers are not motivated to read a nutrition label on wine, specific nutrition information can shift consumer perceptions. For consumers, greater transparency in labeling could help rekindle young consumers’ interest. Younger consumers report they are interested in maintaining healthier eating habits. For manufacturers, mandatory nutrition labeling could increase costs related to compliance and testing, although QR codes would likely be an option.

Once nutrition labeling on wine is introduced in the US, consumers may become more accustomed to seeing this information and using it, although the results have been mixed with nutrition labels on food. The US introduced food labeling in the 1990s, but the obesity rate has continued to climb since then.

Read More:
[Emerald Insights] – The impact of nutrition labeling on consumer perceptions of wine


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