Drink local: Half of Canadians support regional wines

November 16, 2015

While the international wine industry is competitive in offering a variety of different wines, recent research from Mintel reveals that demand for Canadian wines within Canada is among the strongest. Half (49 percent) of Canadian wine drinkers agree they prefer to support Canadian wines, whether national or regional, with less than one third (29 percent) agreeing that wines from other countries offer better quality than Canadian wines. What’s more, three in ten consumers (30 percent) agree that smaller wineries typically produce better quality wines.

30% of Canadian wine drinkers agree that smaller wineries typically produce better quality wines

Region plays a role in whether wine consumers are more likely to support local wineries. For example, support for Canadian wine is strongest in British Columbia (60 percent) and Ontario (53 percent), provinces with prominent and developed wine regions. Conversely, Quebec consumers are less likely to support local wineries (37 percent) and more likely to agree that wineries from other countries offer better quality wines (35 percent). Nearly half of Canadians (48 percent) identify the country where a wine comes from as a top consideration for choosing a wine.

“It comes as somewhat of a surprise that Canadian wine consumers are more likely to support local or national wines rather than look to other countries. However, this is in line with Mintel’s Locavore trend, which is reflective of the global demand for local products, that extends beyond food and drink, to support local economies and afford consumers with the feeling of greater traceability of product origin and transparency from brands,” said Joel Gregoire, Senior Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel.

Between 2010-2015 wine grew at a notably high rate at just over 5 percent per year. Mintel forecasts sales growth to continue through 2020, though the rate is expected to soften in line with the slower pace recorded from 2013 through 2015 (estimated). The average rate of sales growth is expected to fall in just under 4 percent per year from 2015-2020, down from 5.4 percent between 2010 and 2015. Red wine, the most commonly purchased wine, is forecast to continue to show strong growth at an average rate of 4.1 percent in the next five years, outpacing white wine’s predicted growth at 2.7 percent.

Canada’s aging population supports increase in wine consumption

There is no question that Canada’s population is aging as seniors over the age of 65 make up the fastest growing age group, and this has been a contributing factor in the growth of wine in recent years. While the share of Canadians who consume wine remains relatively constant across all age groups, when segmenting the consumer base by how often they drink wine, over 55s indicate they are more likely to drink wine on a weekly basis (29 percent). What’s more, over 55s are comparatively more likely to drink wine with a meal (67 percent vs 54 percent overall).

67% of men 55+ who drink wine agree that drinking wine is good for their health

Mintel research indicates that the perception that wine can be good for one’s health is likely a contributing factor in the increased consumption of wine with age, and Canadians see wine as their ally when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. More than half of wine drinkers (55 percent) agree that drinking wine is good for their health, with only 8 percent disagreeing with this premise. When broken down into different population segments, men (60 percent) are more likely to see wine as being beneficial to their health over women (51 percent), particularly men over the age of 55 (67 percent). While men are more likely to see wine as providing health benefits as they age, trends among women tell a different story with fewer than half (47 percent) of women over 55 agreeing with this premise.

No matter where consumer beliefs fall with regard to the overall benefits of wine, one thing is true: Canadians are willing to pay more for wine. When asked, three in five (60 percent) Canadians agree that they are willing to pay more for better quality wines, a notion particularly supported by over 65s (72 percent). This is also reflected in trended sales data with value growth (3.6 percent) exceeding volume growth (2.7 percent) from 2010-2015 (estimated).

Aside from demographics, the occasion in which wine is consumed also impacts when Canadians are willing to spend more. Half of wine drinkers (51 percent) agree that they typically spend more on wine when purchasing it for others; for example as a gift for birthdays, holidays (eg Christmas), bringing it to party or as a dinner guest. Similarly, Canadians are also more likely to see wine as a good accompaniment to a social occasion with 70 percent indicating they drink wine with family and friends, more than double that of those who drink wine on their own (29 percent), and ahead of accompanying a meal (54 percent).

“The wine industry has experienced notable growth in Canada in value and volume sales. Quality offerings and an aging population have supported this momentum. Half of Canadians indicate that they are supporters of their wine industry and more than half show a willingness to spend more for better quality wines. This indicates a sound foundation for future growth for manufacturers to invest in and capitalize on wine. For many, wine preferences are very personal, influenced by variety, flavor and certainly the accompanying meal, but consumers first and foremost see wine as a social drink. Tapping into this consumer perception can influence future innovation as it relates to size, alcohol content and flavor,” concluded Gregoire.

Press copies of the Wine Canada 2015 report and interviews with Joel Gregoire, Senior Food & Drink Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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