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UK consumers to follow Americans in demand for sweeter style wines

Published:  23 May, 2013

The UK consumer is set to follow their US counterpart by developing a sweeter tooth for products which is likely to have an impact on the styles of wine they want to drink.

That was the conclusion of Mintel drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth who led a discussion on the wine trade's ability to adapt to an evolving consumer at this week's London International Wine Fair.

Forsyth said we now have the "rise of the sweet tooth generation" which is beginning to have an impact on both food and drink trends, particularly in the US.

"Younger adults prefer sweeter drinks and sweeter foods," he added.

This is seen in the wine industry where sales are being driven by sweeter wines like Moscato, which currently holds 6% of the market share in the US.

"Things are the same in Britain," said Forsyth. "Sugar intake has increased by 31% since 1990." Chocolate and caramel are showing up as cross-category products, influencing traditionally more savoury food or drink categories.

In the UK, the spirit industry has catered very well to these new consumer trends by experimenting with new styles via special edition releases. He pointed to research that found 29% of premium alcohol consumers are willing to spend more money on novelty products. "Limited editions offer a more risk-free way to innovate," he said.

Such innovation has not yet been seen in the wine trade, and whilst there are clear opportunities, wine brands should be cautious how they proceed.

"This doesn't mean chocolate wine should be the next big thing," said Forsyth. The wine trade needs to embrace "subtle executions of shifting trends rather than gimmicks or extremes".