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My View: Press ahead with moderate price increases

Published:  18 January, 2007

Let's start with the bad news - nearly everyone involved in supplying wine to the UK market is confronting constrained supply, rising energy costs, hardening currencies against sterling, attacks by the media against binge drinking and an economic downturn.

Yet has the consumer stopped buying these essentials and everyday pleasures? No, consumers are spending to maintain their food lifestyles, and maybe cutting down on DIY, furniture and white goods. The issue of what the UK consumer does about wine price increases turns on whether wine is considered one of the essential grocery items.

Our evidence suggests the industry should press ahead with moderate and hard-fought price increases and consumers will follow -or still buy from elsewhere in the supplier's range. Suppliers should also face up to the counter-claim that listings will be lost or consumers will stop buying. The only reason that consumers would actually stop buying is if their favoured wine were no longer on the shelf at any price.

Brian Howard is director of business development at Wine Intelligence