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Let's go out and educate

Published:  18 January, 2007

"Out of all bad comes good." Well, it's been a challenging few months, and with the unwelcome, but enforced, absence from work, comes a time of reflection.

Taking four months out is fascinating. The key issues then were social responsibility, duty rises, a tough trading environment, and squeezed margins. Four months on and there's no change, except more intensity, more pragmatism, and more cynicism. Being very cynical, the phrases "engaging the consumer" and "encouraging the consumer to trade up" are wearing fairly thin. But who is doing anything about it?

The need to engage and educate consumers, and encourage them in that process is crucial.

But what is the catalyst, when retailers have no reason to do so? The industry, needs to be united. We need to look at ways of engaging the consumer at the point of sale.

A recent article in The Grocer claimed that "ethical, organic and Fairtrade" were out of the window due to the credit crunch. Yet Wine Intelligence research shows that consumers would rather give up chocolate than wine. Accepting that there is a percentage of the population who are only, and definitely only, concerned with price, there are a huge raft of consumers out there, who are looking for information and stories, and would be willing to invest more, if we gave them the catalyst and the consumer reason to do so.

And it's great to be back!

Angela Mount is former Somerfield wine buyer and now wine consultant to a number of companies