- Published on Friday, 10 September 2010 09:35
- Written by Gemma McKenna
The UK wine industry doesn’t understand its customers, who are “fearful” of engaging with wine, warns Tesco’s head of beers, wines and spirits Dan Jago.
Jago told Tuesday’s Global Wine Conference “none of us (in the trade) are really clear about what it is we are doing now or what we are going to do next”, adding that the wine market was “in turmoil”.
He added that rather than the commonly held belief that consumers don’t understand wine, “wine doesn’t understand its customers”.
“What do customers think they want? I’m not sure they know, and I’m not sure we as businesses are very good at helping them,” said Jago.
The industry needs to do more to help customers “rather than just follow them slavishly”, he said, adding it was “hopelessly failing on accessibility”.
“Fear is something we spend too much time ignoring”, he said, adding that younger, Generation Y customers were “fearful and simply not engaging with wine”.
Jago called on the trade to listen to customers, educate and innovate.
“We need to be ahead of customers, but to do so we’ve got to really hear what they’re saying,” he added.
He also criticised the wine trade for being slow to evolve, saying: “We sell the product at the top and bottom of its range in an identical package. If we propose to evolve, innovation needs to be real, sustainable and demand-driven.”
Jago said the way forward may be to sell less wine. “If we’re going to sell customers more interesting wines of higher quality and make a bit more money doing so, it may involve a lower volume.”