Posts Tagged ‘Consumers’

Don't forget the consumers with a sweet tooth!

Don’t forget the consumers with a sweet tooth!

 

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.

 

Read on …

Everyone is a critic!

Everyone is a critic!

 

Twice in the past several months, the wine world has been rocked by news from Robert Parker, the world’s most famous wine critic.

In December, Parker announced that he’d sold a “substantial interest” in the Wine Advocate, the influential magazine he founded in 1978, to a trio of Singapore-based investors—and that he’d relinquished editorial control. In February, one of Parker’s top critics, Antonio Galloni, said that he’d left the publication to start an online enterprise.

Parker, who popularized the 100-point scale for reviewing wine, is nearly 66. So he can’t be faulted for wanting to slow down. But thanks to this pair of stories, oenophiles finally seem ready to admit that wine criticism is changing.

Consumers don’t need—or want—centralized gatekeepers telling them what they should or shouldn’t drink. Consumers still need advisors, of course, but when today’s consumers want information, they’re willing to look past professional critics and instead turn to friends and trusted networks.

With travel, restaurants, movies, and so much else, this trend would hardly be worthy of commentary. TripAdvisor long ago supplanted paper-based guides like Frommer’s.

Yelp is now the holy grail of restaurant reviews, and local blogs are increasingly influential. With movies, opening the local newspaper for commentary no longer makes sense when you can check out dozens of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

With wine, however, this shift runs counter to so much of what’s sacred. Everything about wine—the bizarre tasting rituals, knowledge of obscure regions and varietals, and identifying good values—is supposed to be handed down from on high. Consumers are supposed to decide what to drink based on the advice of prominent wine critics, not mere amateurs.

 

Read on …

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A Californian brand with a risqué name is seducing U.S. wine drinkers. Jennifer Ashcroft has the story.

American consumers are flocking in their millions to have a threesome. The brazen Californian wine brand Ménage à Trois has made conservative drinkers choke on their claret with its sexual-innuendo-filled marketing, but as the latest figures show, sex really does sell.

Named as Wine Brand of the Year in 2009 by U.S. beverage industry publication Market Watch, it continues to be hot property, with sales up 13 percent to $61.5 million in the past 12 months. These impressive figures place Ménage à Trois among the biggest-selling brands in the country, behind Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cupcake Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Private Selection, according to Wines & Vines magazine.

But for its savvy owners, Trinchero Family Estates, Ménage is not the biggest seller. That position is reserved for the company’s first brand, Sutter Home. Nevertheless, Ménage à Trois has “done well because that’s a slightly risqué name and even people that don’t know French know what that term means,” says Dr Liz Thach, a Master of Wine and professor of management and wine business at Sonoma State University in California.

Catchy names that are easy to pronounce and remember are proving popular with more-casual wine drinkers in the U.S., and retailers’ shelves are steadily filling with gimmicky labels, such as Gnarly Head and Cupcake Vineyards.

Thach praises Ménage à Trois for its “phenomenal marketing.” The double entendre of the brand’s name is only the beginning. Sexual innuendos abound on the brand’s website, with wines described as being “guaranteed to satisfy,” “ready to make you its latest conquest” and “the perfect threesome.”

While the company’s public relations specialist, Carissa Abazia, believes that Ménage à Trois resonates with consumers because of its approachable style, price and slightly “edgy” name, some more-traditional consumers view it less favorably. Are the producers scraping the bottom of the barrel in a bid to sell some grape juice?

Read on …

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Sulfur dioxide is used to stop wine oxidizing and spoiling, but it can cause health problems for some people. A three-year, $5-million EU-funded project has now discovered a potential replacement for SO2.

European researchers are close to finding an effective alternative to adding sulfur dioxide to red wine and other foodstuffs, which could make future holiday seasons happier and healthier for millions.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2), often labeled as E220, is used as a preservative for certain dried fruits and in winemaking as an antimicrobial and antioxidant. Most people can tolerate a small amount of SO2 in their food and wine, but for others it can cause allergic reactions or have other side effects such as headaches.

The European Union-funded so2say project believes it may now have identified a combination of two extracts that can be used instead. Both of them occur naturally in wine and could reduce the presence of SO2 by more than 95 percent, say researchers.

Read on …

Also read:

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A new Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study explores the U.S. consumer’s mindset when it comes to purchasing alcoholic beverages. How do they plan? How engaged are they? What influences them? The study’s findings, which span beverage categories and cover different demographics, can help drive marketing tactics for an industry that heavily relies on brand imagery, traditional marketing communications and the emerging field of shopper marketing.

Key Demographic Takeaways:
Millennials are experimental, attentive consumers. Retailers can appeal to them through in-store displays, promotions and new product launches. Habitual purchasing behaviors develop as consumers age, resulting in heavily planned purchases and “auto-pilot” shopping behavior as seen among Boomer-generation alcoholic beverage consumers.Hispanic consumers are highly engaged, with pre-store influencers. Tailored messaging resonates with this demographic and can influence decisions made later at the shelf. Social influence is also strong within this group, furthering the potential impact and creating demographic-specific messaging.
Males purchase more alcoholic beverages than females. While differences become more nuanced by category, current marketing activity seems to resonate more strongly with male consumers.  Females are more difficult to reach as they prove to be less engaged with both in-store and pre-store stimuli. Females are also more likely to purchase alcohol at the request of another person.
Key Category Takeaways:

Consumers are more impulsive with pre-mixed cocktails and malt-based beverages purchases. While decisions to buy alcoholic beverages are planned in 69 percent of instances, niche categories, such as pre-mixed cocktails and flavored malt-based beverages, reflect a pronounced shift to more impulse purchase behavior. While pre-store marketing is still important for brand awareness, focused in-store efforts can activate these unplanned purchases.

Read on …

Where the consumer is concerned, there is basically one important position: “Allow me to get the beer, wine and spirits I want.”

 

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Yet this most basic interest of the consumer is continually thwarted by the  predominant method of alcohol sales and distribution in the United States: the legal mandate that all alcohol flow from producer to distributor to retailer. This method of separating the production, distribution and retail sales aspects of the alcohol industry—known as the “Three Tier System”—has come under attack by wineries and wine lovers as the proliferation of wine products and interest in wine has grown over the past 20 years. Wine lovers found that the three-tier system’s greatest impact was to thwart their ability to get the products they want. Wineries found that the greatest impact of the three-tier system was to thwart their ability to get the products to consumers that wanted them.
Read on …

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New research finds that those who suffer from headaches would pay for less sulfites in their wine.

Sulfur dioxide use in winemaking has been coming under the spotlight as a minimal-intervention movement agitates for less reliance on the compound. Sulfur has taken flak for causing health problems, although the scientific community is divided on the issue.

That prompted a Colorado State University study of consumer perceptions of sulfites and whether drinkers would pay more for a bottle labeled “low in sulfur.”

The findings, published by the American Association of Wine Economists, are that consumers would be willing to pay a little extra — about 64 cents — for wines that contain low levels of sulfites. In comparison, the premium placed on organic wine is $1.22 — nearly double — which suggests public awareness of the addition of sulfur is embryonic.

The researchers offer an alternative explanation. Consumers, in their view, are aware that “organic production protocol prohibits, among other things, the use of added sulfites.” In other words, if drinkers pay the extra for organic wine, low sulfites will be included in the package.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) — in the form of potassium metabisulfite — is added to most wines and many other food products for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The term “sulfites” on wine labels refers mainly to sulfur dioxide, but also includes sulfurous acid and other sulfites.

But sulfur dioxide is also a natural by-product of fermentation, so it is unlikely an SO2-free wine could ever be produced. Most yeast strains yield 10–20 milligrams per liter of SO2 during fermentation, although some, such as FX10 and M69, produce significantly more than others. Without sulfur, wine is prone to oxidation and spoilage.

Consumers have been asking questions about SO2 since wine labels started to carry a “contains sulfites” message. Sulfite mentions, after all, share label space with warnings that women should not drink during pregnancy, and against drinking and driving.

Although a small number of drinkers suffer ill effects from sulfites,… read on

Sparkling wine and cider offered rare glimpses of positive news in the latest WSTA Market Report, which shows volume declines across both UK wine and spirit sales.

 

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While UK total alcohol sales have fallen by 2% in the off-trade and 3% in the on-trade during the last 12 months, the sparkling wine category enjoyed 6% growth in the off-trade, while on-trade cider sales saw a 5% increase.

There was an even stronger on-trade performance from the resurgent RTD category, which experienced a 3% sales increase over the 12 months to November 2012, boosted by a 15% uplift in the last 12 weeks. However the category’s volumes fell by 7% in the off-trade over the year.

There was a similarly mixed picture for Champagne, whose 9% decline in the off-trade during the last 12 weeks was mitigated by a 13% increase in the on-trade during the same period.

As inflation on wines and spirits hit 2.4% and 5.9% respectively, the sub-£4 end of the wine market continued to show declines, while all price bands above £7 per bottle saw double-digit growth.

While light wine sales experienced the same 2% off-trade decline as total alcohol figures, there were strong performances from Spain and New Zealand, which saw 16% and 11% volume growth respectively.

 

Read on …

Think before you buy!

Think before you buy!

UK market conditions continue to be tough as consumers ‘tighten their belts and shop around for value’, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association has warned as it releases its latest market report.

In the last 12 weeks, off-trade sales of Champagne have declined by 9%, while wine under £4 has continued to decline, according to the WSTA’s 12-week round-up of statistics from various analysts such as Nielsen and CGA.

While off-trade Champagne is down, the sparkling, non-Champagne, category is one of the best performers. According to Nielsen it is the only major alcohol category in growth over the last year, up 6% in the last 12 months and up 9% in the last 12 weeks.

In a separate report, UK supermarket Waitrose says sales of English sparkling wine have shown a year-on-year increase of 30%, thanks in part to… read on

Natural wine?

Natural wine?

Arguments rage over the status of natural wine.

 

Natural wine? Who could possibly object?

With a desire for healthy, sustainable food stimulating trends like the farm-to-table movement and Slow Food, natural wine is positioning itself as the perfect accompaniment.

But according to some experts, the unregulated use of the term “natural” is misleading gullible consumers as well as polarizing the wine trade.

“These are all things that don’t exist – natural wines, the tooth fairy and Father Christmas,” says Robert Joseph, a wine trade veteran who is one of the most prominent naysayers.

Natural wine does not exist as a legal category in the European Union, despite flourishing movements in Italy or France – the two biggest producers in the 27-nation bloc.

“At present, the compound noun ‘vin naturel’ (natural wine) has no definition on the national level,” said Aubierge Mader, a spokeswoman for France’s fraud protection agency (DGCCRF).

Yet hundreds of wines today are advertised and sold as “natural,” appealing to consumers on a variety of levels.

“I think consumers also respond favourably to the image of ‘natural’ wines as being not just more authentic, healthy or artisanal, but also… read on