The Alcohol Purchasing Patterns of Heavy Drinkers

THE ALCOHOL PURCHASING PATTERNS OF HEAVY DRINKERS ...
01 Feb 2012
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THE ALCOHOL PURCHASING PATTERNS OF HEAVY DRINKERS ...
01 Feb 2012
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In 2011 the Ministry of Health commissioned research to investigate the alcohol purchasing patterns of heavy drinkers. The research informed consideration of a minimum pricing regime for alcohol by testing in the New Zealand context. International evidence indicates that heavy drinkers are the dominant purchasers of the cheapest alcohol.

Purpose

One  of  the  specific  objectives of  the National  Drug Policy 2007-2012,  is to reduce  harm  to individuals, families and communities from the risky consumption of alcohol.

In furtherance of this objective the Ministry elected as one of its approaches, to research the purchasing  and consumption  patterns of  drinkers, withaparticular  focus  on clarifying  the purchasing behaviour  of heavy drinkers relative to moderate  and light drinkers.  Specifically  the Ministry  sought to  determine whether heavy  drinkers  purchased  their alcohol  at  the  cheapest prices, and whether this differentiated them strongly from more moderate drinkers.

Methodology

The research design considered best suited to studying this link, was a survey interview which intercepted liquor shoppers soon after purchase, when they still had their purchase invoice with them.  Shoppers answered a brief questionnaire on their  drinking frequency and  intensity,and provided their invoice to the interviewer for attachment to their questionnaire answers. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. A total of 2,000 exit interviews were undertaken in equal proportion at supermarkets and liquor wholesalers.

Key Results

The research found that while heavy drinkers purchased alcohol in the cheapest range more frequently than moderate or light drinkers did, the proportion of purchasing by heavy drinkers within the cheapest range was around 27%. In other words, 73% of the alcohol purchased by the heaviest drinkers was found not to be purchased from within the cheapest price bracket.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018