The environment worries Spaniards more and more, the degree of awareness has not stopped increasing in recent years according to CIS data.
This growing involvement with sustainability is also one of the main conclusions of the study on Habits of Spaniards in the consumption of wines and cavas prepared by Iniciativa CORK, grouping of associations and institutions in the cork sector in Spain, among 1,200 Spaniards. The study reveals that the 84% of respondents care about choosing environmentally friendly products, with only 16% admitting to paying little or no attention to sustainability when consuming.
The study also highlights the high level of knowledge of the Spanish regarding the different types of closures and their environmental impact. Participants' 88% knows the cork's positive environmental credentials, which stands out for its natural, ecological, recyclable and biodegradable product qualities.
In fact, the cork is theonly environmentally sustainable closure method and key ally against climate change, as pioneer studies in Spain have shown. Apart from having one negative carbon footprint (retains more than it emits), also contributes to the retention of CO2 from the atmosphere and generates essential environmental services for the environment.
On the opposite side are the artificial enclosures, which include plastic, screw and silicone caps. The Spanish 75% claims to know the negative impact that this type of closure has on the environment. The large environmental footprint of artificial caps derives from the aggressive systems used in their production, from the pollution of fossil fuels, as well as from the excessive energy consumption required for their transformation, practices that aggravate climate change.
The Spanish preference for cork, with the 95% from consumers who choose cork as the best closure for wine and sparkling wine, is largely due to the natural origin of the matter. Like this, the 74% from the Spaniards stands out from the cork for its status as a natural product, followed by other positive values such as quality or tradition.
Although the environment is gaining ground and positioning itself as a prominent factor in consumer behaviour, the current wine labeling system does not allow us to know whether the bottle cap is cork or artificial. Faced with this situation, the study reveals that 8 out of 10 Spaniards request to include the type of closure on the bottle label in order to make an informed purchase decision.
In relation to the conclusions of the study, Albert Hereu, director of ICSURO, comments: "The results of the study are very positive, as they demonstrate a high level of awareness among the Spanish consumer. Cork is an indigenous product with unique characteristics: natural, biodegradable and 100% recyclable, and the cork has a negative carbon footprint because it captures CO2 from the atmosphere. In this way, when the consumer chooses a corked wine, he is contributing to preserving the environment and fighting climate change“.
USA and China: natural is synonymous with 'premium'
In the US, the triumph of the premium phenomenon, focused on gourmet products in which authenticity is valued, is also favoring the ecological offer and sparking the preference for natural materials such as cork. Like this, the 97% from American consumers associates the cork with high quality wines. Mike Veseth, editor of 'The Wine Economist' blog - rated 'World's Best Wine Blog' in 2015 by Gourmand International - says: “American consumers demand products where the origin and the elements that compose it, such as the natural cork in the case of wines, provide added and differential value“.
For its part, China, with 48 million Chinese who consume imported wines, registers a similar trend and "is betting strongly on noble and quality products", says Dorian Tang, Educational Director of ASC Fine Wines, the largest importer of wines by volume in China. The cork is, accordingly, the preferred closure to the Asian giant due to its natural origin and its association with high quality wines, with the 97% of Chinese consumers who consider cork beneficial for wine quality. The choice for the premium and for a product with added value has made that 95 of the 100 best-selling wines in China in 2016 were closed with natural cork.