Wine trade needs to keep up with sweet-toothed consumers
The wine industry is failing to keep up with changing tastes among consumers, according to drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth of Mintel, speaking at the LIWF today.
Forsyth said consumers are becoming increasingly sweet toothed and adventurous in the products they choose.
However, he added, unlike other industries the wine trade is failing to keep up, to its commercial detriment.
Forsyth said: "Consumers are evolving, I'm not convinced that wine is evolving quite enough to follow this."
He added sugar consumption in the UK had risen by 31% since 1990, with the average Brit now consuming 700g of sugar each week while in the US each American consumes 130lb of sugar per year.
Forsyth said the impact can already be seen in the industry, with rosé now having a market share in the UK of 11%, up from just 1% 10 years ago.
However, he argued the industry was being slow to deal with the changes, adding: "There's still very much a perception in western Europe that sweet wine is a secondary thing to an industry that focuses on dry red wine.
"There's a narrow view of what is good in the industry and that's putting off younger consumers."
He added the spirits industry was leading the way in evolving sweet drinks, with Smirnoff's flavoured vodkas and Jack Daniel's honeyed whiskey proving popular with younger consumers.
Forsyth said limited edition drinks were a very good way of driving the market, as proved by the spirits industry where one in 12 are innovatory, as opposed to one in 50 in the wine industry.
He added that with 48% of UK diners also admitting they like to try something they've never eaten before, winemakers should target an increasingly inventive market.
For instance, while drinks like Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and Red Stag Cinnamon Spiced Whiskey have both tapped in to the market, winemakers should make more of the variety of flavours available in a sip.
Forsyth said: "This doesn't mean that we should go to extremes in any significant way. What we can do is tailor this trend - it is a strength, it is an advantage."