Attitudes toward sustainable New Zealand wine held by millennials in the United States.
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
The aim of this thesis is to investigate Millennial consumers’ intentions, perceptions, and attitudes toward sustainably produced New Zealand wine. This research direction was informed by a thematic literature review which identified there was still no obvious solution as to how wineries should communicate their commitment to eco-friendly practices (Olsen, Thach, & Hemphil, 2012; Delmas & Grant, 2014). This poses a challenge for New Zealand wineries as the industry is 98 percent sustainably certified (New Zealand Wine, 2017a) and consumers have demonstrated a demand for this wine label attribute (Forbes, Cohen, Cullen, Wratten, & Fountain, 2009). It was proposed in literature that wine brands could adopt brand attributes that reflect the values of eco-friendly practices in order to strengthen their position in the market (Orth & Malkewitz, 2008). In order to test this suggestion, two brand personality dimensions were chosen, one from Aaker’s (1997) traditional brand personality scale, excitement, and one newly proposed dimension, social (Spielmann, Babin, & Verghote, 2016). The procedure of this research was a 3 (Social vs. Excitement vs. No Brand Personality) x 2 (Sustainable Product Description vs. No Product Description) x 2 (Sustainable Eco-Label vs. No Label) between subjects, full factorial experiment design. The online survey employed a series of twelve print advertisements designed to contain different combinations of the independent variables. The experiment was distributed via Qualtrics and employed 540 North American participants recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. A factorial ANCOVA analysis was conducted to test the hypothesised relationships. The analysis revealed that the three-way interaction effects were non-significant for the three hypothesis: H1 Purchase Intention, H2 Perception of Quality, and H3 Attitudes toward the Brand. However, Eco-Label and Brand Personality had main effects for all hypothesis. Furthermore, a two-way interaction effect was found for Eco-Label and Brand Personality on Perception of Quality. The results of this research have practical implications for the New Zealand wine industry as they demonstrate the importance of eco-labels, which are currently not employed by most New Zealand wine brands, in positively influencing Purchase Intention, Perception of Quality, and Attitudes toward the Brand. Furthermore, the results showed that the Excitement and Social Brand Personalities, which demonstrate the experiential elements of the hedonic product, also increased consumers’ Purchase Intentions, Perceptions of Quality, and Attitudes toward the Brand. This research highlights an opportunity for Sustainable Wine New Zealand to develop a sustainable eco-label which can be employed by New Zealand wineries. The theoretical implications of study provide insight for future research in the areas of wine marketing and branding, and eco-labelling.