Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Behavioural economics and wine

Design and packaging The design of a bottle of wine can be key in creating conscious and unconscious expectations in consumers. The way the bottle is created itself, as well as the characteristics of design, and colours of a label. A study regarding coffee packaging (Sousa et al., 2020) studied 174 participants on their liking and purchase intent of coffee based on both its packaging and tasting it. They found that participants preferred packaging that had congruent design (i.e. that elements matched); they liked this coffee more and reported higher purchase intent. As for design application in the field of wine, the Wine Label Design in China 2018 report by Chuan Zhou offers insight. The report first sorted common wine labels seen in China into ten categories that ranged from conventional, to distinctive: Traditional Prestigious, Vineyard Stately, Prestigious, Classic, Simple Elegant, Contemporary, Artisan, Vibrant Classic, Vibrant and Bold Illustration, pictured to the right.

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Participants in the study were asked to estimate the quality of the wines, and explain how likely they would be to purchase different examples wines and for what circumstances. The report found that more conventional label designs led to expectations of higher quality and price. Vibrant, less conventional designs were seen to be lower quality, yet there was a higher likelihood of them being purchased for gifts or informal celebrations. ‘ Neutral labels ’ such as those classified as contemporary were less likely to be purchased. This is because traditional looking wines give indications of reliable quality with pictures of vineyards, and appeal to the look of typical luxury wines. Distinctive wines are able to differentiate themselves and therefore stand out to consumers. Neutral, contemporary designs lack either of these thus were seen as less appealing. The eventual design for a wine bottle comes down to the brand that a firm is attempting to create. For lower priced and mass appeal wines, a vibrant design could be an option, especially for new world wines that have an association with bolder, fruitier flavours. If a firm is looking to charge more for each bottle, the best selection for design would be a traditional one with a crest, picture of the vineyard, or both. Whatever a brand decides to settle with, the design should be congruent, so should not mix elements of different styles in unappealing ways. Bottle Scott D. Swain at the University of South Carolina demonstrated that consumers associate heavier products with higher quality (Wansink & Ittersum, 2003). However, this research study mostly focused on technological and mechanical items, which could call into question its application in the field of wine. However, there are more studies about this in relation to food. Piqueras-Fiszman et al. (2011) ran a study to determine if the weight of a bowl had an impact on the perception of the food tasted from it. This experiment was done by varying the weight of a bowl of the same yogurt given to different participants. When a heavier bowel was used, the yogurt was liked 13% more, and rated as 13% more


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