|Wine drinkers ditch prejudice towards lower alcohol and boxed wines|
|Written by Gemma McKenna|
|Friday, 21 September 2012 12:13|
Wine drinkers are ditching their prejudices towards lower alcohol wines and bag-in-box packaging, with sales growing in both areas.
The latest research from Mintel shows Britain’s wine drinkers are more amenable to screw tops, boxes and pouches this year than last, while sales of lower alcohol wines are grown by 40% by value to around £23 million.
But the audience for lower alcohol wines is still relatively small, with just 19% claiming to be interested in lower-alcohol wines. Taste is still seen as a barrier, with 32% of consumers preferring regular-strength wines. But just 27% of wine buyers expect lower-alcohol wines to taste inferior, which suggests most other consumers don’t share the view.
A spokesman for Accolade Wines said sales of its Banrock Station Light 5.5% abv wine were “performing well” with a strong level of repeat purchases.
The launch of Banrock Station Light has added the greatest amount of value to the market this year - at £1.7 million - now accounting for 5.2% value share, according to Nielsen Scantrack data to May 26, 2012. Additionally, in the first 16 weeks of launch both Banrock Station Light SKUs showed repeat rates of purchase of almost 10% higher than normal, according to LMG Loyalty Card Data.
“We have invested heavily in Banrock Station Light across the year and will repeat that investment in 2013. We firmly believe it has a strong part to play in our portfolio,” he added.
The report valued the overall market at £10.4 billion in 2011, and predicts sales will increase by 2.4% to reach £10.6 billion in 2012. But volume sales have fallen from 1.26 billion litres in 2007 to 1.14 billion litres in just five years. Four out of 10 wine buyers are reassessing their purchase and moving out of the category citing pressure on household budgets.
Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said volume sales looked set to continue to fall, but added that since customers “are likely to be reluctant to stop buying wine altogether” there are opportunities for lower alcohol and boxed wine.
“Growing segments such as boxed and low-alcohol wine may help to stimulate some growth and represent a cost-effective means of keeping wine drinkers engaged with the market.”
Steve Barton, joint managing director of Brand Phoenix, which owns the FirstCape brand, said recent research it carried out showed that the over-55 age group was increasingly buying lower alcohol wines, regarding them as more approporiate for daytime consumption. Meanwhile, Barton said the BIB market, which in the US and Australia accounts for 52-60% of the market, was also driven by occasion. He said the UK had been slow to catch up as it was “still suffering the legacy of poor quality BIB wines from the 1980s”. He added that the growing popularity of alternative packaging formats and lower alcohol wines now was mainly related to “affordability”.