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UPM Raflatac reveals the power of labels to drive purchasing and influence tasting experience

UPM Raflatac, a sustainable self-adhesive paper and film product supplier, released a new neuromarketing study showing the power of different label materials and finishes to shape consumer perceptions and drive purchasing.

Focused on white wine labels, the research carried out in collaboration with partners in the packaging value chain, ARGEA, SenseCatch, Kurz, and Krämer Druck, shows that label material and finishes all have a significant part to play in consumer purchasing behaviour and post-purchase enjoyment.

The research has been summarised in a book featuring a foreword by Uwe Melichar, a sustainable packaging expert, designer, and Pentawards jury member. The book is available in three languages and as a digital version.

A wine’s label plays a pivotal role in the consumer’s decision to buy it or not. 

In fact, according to a study on the wine sector conducted by, it was found that 82% of a sample of 2000 consumers relied primarily on the label to choose their favourite wine. Many other studies have also commented on the link between the perceived taste of wine and expectations and how these are influenced by the label’s colour, shape, paper, printing technique, and overall design.

The new neuromarketing insights for wine label design study were undertaken using a scientific research method that examined the interplay of the human senses to form an overall picture of the wine buyers’ purchasing journey. 

It was designed to analyse consumers’ visual impressions and emotional perceptions while observing the white wine labels, exploring the role of fine embellishments and the touch of the label material on consumers’ experience, expectations, and, finally, on tasting.

The study assessed 32 labels of the same shape and size produced by combining six types of paper supplied by UPM Raflatac with five KURZ finishings.

The graphics and textual content of each label were the same but differed in terms of paper characteristics (tint, degree of opacity, thickness, degree of roughness, and tactile effect) and enhancements (colour, thickness, relief – embossing/debossing – and gloss).

The labels were industrially printed by Krämer Druck, as occurs in the real production process, to generate a label identical to that found on the shelf, which was then affixed to bottles of the same shape and colour. 

The entire customer journey was then reconstructed – from looking at the shelf and selecting the wine to tasting the product.

The sampling was undertaken by 30 German consumers (50% women), and white wine drinkers aged 25 to 56.

The results of the study demonstrate that the appearance of the label and its tactile sensation influence its attention-grabbing ability on the shelf and the product-tasting experience, both in terms of perceived quality and taste.

When it comes to purchasing behaviour, the effectiveness of the wine label was shown to be strongly driven by its colour, tactility, contrast, and paper-finishing combination, with the findings showing the following:

  • Colour – consumers are more inclined to purchase bottles with labels that have gilded and glittering finishes and have light and opaque paper. 
  • Tactile dimension – purchasers prefer embossed paper with a good degree of relief, and smooth embossed finishes with tactile effects are appealing. 
  • Contrast – consumers are drawn to contrast and prefer features such as textured paper with a matte surface and glossy embossed finish. 
  • The paper-finishing combination – the effectiveness of individual details depends on the combination of elements.

Stefano Pistoni, Senior Business Development Manager at UPM Raflatac, comments: “This comprehensive neuromarketing study clearly illustrates that the label is part of a multi-sensory storytelling, both narrating and anticipating a person’s experience with the wine. It doesn’t just play a key part in guiding a consumer to purchase the wine, but it also has an important post-purchase role, influencing consumption anticipation and the experience of tasting. These findings are important, as they will help reshape the decision-making process across the wine value chain for design agencies and brands.”

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