Value is the name of the game at Asda, finds Claire Hu.
Asda summer tasting, June
Claire Hu, managing editor, Harpers Wine & Spirit
In these cash-strapped days, when value seems to be the name of the game in the wine market, Asda should be well-placed to take advantage of consumers’ spendthrift attitude to wine purchasing.
At the supermarket’s summer tasting at The Hospital, Covent Garden, value was certainly the main message with a focus on the under-£3 Smart Price range and Extra Special wines.
Asda was keen to promote the 105 medals it has won at wine competitions this year - the biggest tally among the supermarkets - which include two South African wines at £2.98 and a rosé for £2.97.
The retailer is also focusing on the £5-£8 and Extra Special categories to cater for increasing numbers of consumers who are possibly switching from more upmarket retailers - AB customers now represent 17.7% of Asda shoppers.
So how is Asda managing to keep prices low, despite rising costs and duty? Philippa Carr MW, senior wine product development manager, admits the job is becoming more demanding, but insists Asda works collaboratively with suppliers. “We work with suppliers rather than against them”, she said. “We work together whatever the economic climate to do the best by our customers.”
Carr continued: “The focus for Asda is value. It might seem a cliché but it’s what we do. We want to give customers the best possible quality for the price point. Customers are being much more critical and savvy and that’s great.”
South Africa and rosé are both performing well for Asda. The Smart price South African White (£2.98) was pretty generic and somewhat dilute, but acceptable for the price, and the same could be said for the Smart Price Seven Hills Italian Rosé (£2.97) which had an unusual bubblegum aroma.
Where the range really excelled was in the amazingly good value indigenous varietal, regional wines, particularly the own-label and Extra Special wines such as the Chablis, Domaine de la Levee 2007 (£8.98), the Gewurztraminer 2007 (£6.98), the Languedoc Merlot 2008 from Paul Mas (£5.98), Côtes du Rhône Villages 2007 (£4.74) and Austrlalian Shiraz 2008 (£4.03).