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Trade must embrace consumer trends to capitalise on summer growth

Published:  15 October, 2018

Kingsland Drinks has called for the trade to do more to tap into the modest value growth in sales witnessed over the summer, with innovation and new formats key to winning over new drinkers in the wine category.

The appeal follows a recent University College London (UCL) report confirming declining drinking patterns among young people, but following a summer that saw a 7.7% boost for alcohol value sales (all figures Kantar) between June and August.

The World Cup, the Royal wedding and a record 625 hours of sunshine all played a part, with wine up a more modest 2.7% by £19 million, and sparkling wine up 4.1%, representing a 13.4 million lift.

However, volumes remained lower than the same period in 2017, and much of this value increase was down to price increases, rather than voluntary trading up, leaving “no room for complacency”, said the release.

The company added that there are valuable lessons and insights into consumer behaviour to be drawn from these figures, such as demand for alternatives to the classic 75cl bottle and the trend for moderating alcohol intake.

Neil Anderson, Marketing Director, at Kingsland Drinks said: “We must continue to innovate and listen to the consumer if we are going to stop the decline in the wine category.

“We know that the trend to moderate is not just a one off, both young people and older drinkers are demonstrating this behaviour and have been for a while now. We can’t sit still and maintain the status quo, we need to really listen to what consumers tell us - they want lower ABV, more user-friendly formats and much more variety in the type of wine they drink.”

Such trends, suggested Anderson, have been a clear indicator of the evolving ways in which consumers want to interact with wine, also clear from the relative success of other drinks categories.

Low or no alcohol beers led the healthier charge this summer, growing 58% against the overall beer category, while take home soft drinks also confirmed the pattern of healthier consumption, growing by 17% - with sales remaining strong during the traditionally alcohol fuelled World Cup.

Wine drinkers explored lower alcohol options too, with sales of 0.5% abv wine up by 90%, and 44 new Skus arriving on the supermarket shelves during the summer months. Kingsland’s own Willow and Stone range, comprising two 10% abv still wines and an 8.5% sparkling wine, helped drive volume and well as value sales, which, the company suggests, show’s how meeting evolving customer demand can also pull back volume sales.

“We know that our customers want to sell products that will excite and delight shoppers and the wine aisle is gradually being brought up to date to reflect the changing consumer landscape – we want to bring products to market that provide something more meaningful than a standard bottle of wine,” said Anderson.

“The summer showed us that the UK’s love of wine is not dead and that the right products in the right formats will succeed.”

Among Tesco’s top three sellers in the wine aisles this summer were 1.5 litre pouches of Shiraz and Pinot Grigio from Kingsland, tapping into the demand for differing formats and the convenience of wine packaged for differing drinking occasions.

Both this and the trend to lower alcohol drinking are predicted to continue, with both Kingsland’s WinePro research and an increasing number of independent studies such as the UCL report in agreement that this is a long term development.