Wine in a can is a robust trend and not a short-term fad

With the traditional wine market in the US growing at an increasingly slow pace, successful wineries 10 years from now will be those that have adapted to a different consumer with different values.  Wine in a can is no new thing; it was first seen in World War 1 when the French army had their wine rations delivered this way.

WICresearch.com has done an in-depth study of the drivers that are affecting the boom in the wine-in-can market and it is predicted that the trend will continue to grow as it has done exponentially in its infancy.  The most important factors to consumers when it comes to wine-in-can are taste, quality and value, followed by convenience, portability and fun.  From 2017-2108 the wine-in-can market grew by 43%.  It is a market that cannot be ignored as the industry needs new growth places.

There are 6 main drivers that are promoting the expansion of wine-in-can, as follows:

Convenience

This is the most obvious benefit and relates to the carrying, opening and finishing of the product.  One is able take a can where it is illegal or inconvenient to bring a bottle or any glass.  The single-serve size also allows for zero waste of the contents, and it removes the need for traditional wine paraphernalia: foil cutters, corks screws. Under the convenience banner, the wine vending machine is also a trend that is starting to gain traction, certainly opening new markets in terms of novelty and availability.

Occasion expansion

This is based on both location and event. Location involves places where taking a bottle of wine is not suitable nor practical: boats, beach, swimming pools.  Event expansion is where offering a single-serve beverage is desirable e.g.BBQ, picnic.

It is interesting that wine-in-can drivers such as these are not cannibalizing the existing market with its meagre growth of 1-4% but it is rather creating an extension of markets or even new markets and thus creating strong double-digit growth.

Sustainability and cost savings

Aluminum is 100% recyclable and so the environmental footprint is greatly reduced, and the product attracts an eco-friendly consumer who values sustainability.  Research has shown that 51% of Millennials check the packaging before purchase for sustainability claims.

 Facts:

  • Sustainable products grew 4x the rate of non-sustainable products (Nielsen)
  •  Consumers are willing to pay 15% more for sustainable packaging (McKinsey)
  • 66% of consumers will pay more for sustainable brands (Nielsen)

Packaging in aluminum cans also produces a saving of 15-20% with some manufacturers suggesting 40% due to efficiency of packing and transport, lack of breakage, and lighter weight.  Therefore, carbon emissions for transportation are also lower. Also, savings occur in establishments serving wine by the glass, as there is total accuracy over the serving size with no shrinkage.

Portion control and variety

Apart from the benefit of not having to open a whole bottle when you would like to enjoy a glass, there is also no issue of dealing with unfinished wine.  The wine-in-can movement is very popular with restaurants that have less waste and leftover wine, or the problem of customers wanting to cork their bottle to take it home which is illegal in many parts of the world.

Due to the small serving, wine drinkers can enjoy different varieties of wine with different courses, instead of a full bottle of the same wine.

Visual image and branding

An aluminum can has a 360-degree label rather than just a front and a back.  It gives the product a cooler, more photographable, Instagrammable look.

“With 64% of consumers trying a new [wine] product simply because the package catches their eye, packaging design is one of the most underappreciated marketing levers” (Freeman, 2016).

Designers can go so far as to make the packaging glow in the dark.

Quality

“You actually have a really stable environment in a can…There’s no UV penetration or oxygen exchange like there would be through a cork and glass bottle” (Drinks News, 2018).

For still and sparkling wine, the integrity of the product can easily be preserved.  The dark, oxygen-free environment for still wine is ideal while for sparkling, the effervescence is contained in a small space.

There is ongoing research for different types of cans, linings and filling systems to ensure further integrity of the product as well as preserving its future life which is, as yet, unproven.

It is interesting to note that the wine-in-can purchase is not affected by gender, education nor generational group.  There is also no difference in self-reported wine knowledge i.e. consumers with a high level of wine knowledge are just as likely to buy wine in cans.

In a 2019 a blind taste test of wine-in-can versus wine-in-bottle was conducted. The identical wine from the same winery in both packaging formats was poured.  There were 4 different varietals and the experiment was done in 2 different locations.  51.1% said they either preferred the wine-in-can or that they could tell no difference between the two.

Wine-in-can is a growing market and innovation and interesting marketing tools are emerging every day.  It will be a very interesting space to watch over the next decade.

WICresearch.com

Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright
Cape Wine Master

 

I’m excited to participate as a speaker in the “1st Annual Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Minister’s Conference”

I am delighted and honoured to be joining a distinguished group of speakers at the 1st Annual Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture Minister’s Conference – March 3 and 4 at the Halifax Convention Centre, Nova Scotia.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Farming for the Future – Thriving in a Changing World.” There will be local, national and international speakers addressing key issues and opportunities in agriculture – from innovation to labour and climate change.

I will be a keynote speaker discussing International Wine Marketing Strategies for 2020, and will also be participating on a Climate Change Panel along with  Dr. Evan Fraser, Director Arrell Food Institute/University of Guelph, and Olivier Humbrecht MW and Winemaker/Owner Zind Humbrecht, Turckheim, France discussing “From Resilience to Opportunities” with respect to the global wine industry.

Say tuned for my follow-up report!

Conference details: https://www.perennia.ca/agriconference/

Liz Palmer

French Super Chef Alain Ducasse Reduces Wine Prices to Discourage “Dry January”

Internationally famed French Chef Alain Ducasse declares war on the “Dry January” trend.  At the beginning of January, Chef Ducasse was “horrified” to see New York diners drinking iced tea at lunch and not wine. Shortly thereafter he launched an initiative to entice patrons of his restaurants to drink wine during the first month of the year, not less.

“I’ve noted that trend, but I don’t want to see or hear of it, I am opposed to it,” states Chef Ducasse and he further adds that he wants to “rid consumers of their inhibitions” with regards to drinking wine.

In November, the French government abandoned a campaign urging people to give up alcohol in January after the wine industry pushed president Emmanuel Macron to drop it.

“Dry January” began in the UK in 2013 and has since been adopted around the world. Last year one in five Americans participated in the initiative, giving up alcohol for the first month of the year.

Alain Ducasse has runs restaurants all over the world, including the three Michelin star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée in Paris.

What are your thoughts on this ?

Wine Trends:  What to watch for in 2020

Wine Intelligence has announced its annual Wine Trends Report for 2020, which will reflect global challenges in the industry.

Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence, states “wine is a risky business,” specifying challenges around climate change, discretionary consumer spending influences in different countries, and global trade policy changes.

Here are their five predictions for the next 12 months, assuming global consumer spending does not fall off a cliff, and the weather does not cause any more mayhem.

  1. Wine volume consumption will globally decline.

Wine Intelligence sees the developed world drinking less wine in 2020, but overall, the value of wine consumed won’t be heavily impacted.

“Those drinking less wine have compensated by spending more on the wine they do buy, with the characteristic result that prices per bottle have been rising considerably for several years now in major consumption markets,” said Halstead.

There’s a prediction that this trend could mean trouble for the producers and brands with business models dependent on selling more for smaller margins.

However, this trend also noted that consumers are looking for brands that are thoughtful, have provenance or are culturally interesting. In this way, premiumization is about not only the price and quality of the liquid but also of the brand’s story and actions.

2. Sustainability claims will be scrutinized.

Environmentally friendly buzzwords are thrown around commonly on wine packaging and marketing, and it’s predicted that 2020 will see consumers investigating these claims.

While Wine Intelligence research suggests that many consumers read the word “sustainable” and believe it, Halstead said: “we also notice a smaller but growing minority of purchasers are more fundamentally committed, typically for a combination of environmental, ethical, social or lifestyle reasons.

“Next year I expect this latter group to be more zealous in their scrutiny of winemaking or viticultural claims, and more willing to call out what they see as transgressions or unacceptable standards,” states Halstead.

3. CBD wine will be explored further.

Cannabis-based drinks have been on the radar of predictions for a while now, however, considering an array of different international laws, they have yet to take off.

“As with many things in our industry, cannabis drinks products remain at the mercy of regulators in most jurisdictions, not to mention some serious product development and taste optimization challenges,” said Halstead.

While Wine Intelligence is not anticipating mainstream acceptance or popularity of cannabis wine drinks in 2020, they do predict more companies will start to explore it.

4. Products from less high-profile wine countries will become more popular.

Wine Intelligence predicts countries like Germany, South Africa, Portugal, and Greece, will see great growth in the popularity of their wine products.

“We believe 2020 will be a year where some old styles become new again to the next generation of consumers,” said Halstead.

Halstead points to specific examples including German Riesling, refreshing whites and red blends from South Africa and Portugal, and lighter white styles coming from Greece.

Halstead also describes the common thread of these products and states: “All will be meeting the growing consumer needs for more aromatic, fresh, lower alcohol whites, and lower tannin but interesting reds.”

5. Greater investment into creative packaging and serve formats.

“Our prediction is that we will see far more innovation in packaging coming to market next year than we have in the past few years, driven by the needs of business to reduce carbon footprint, to offer more recyclable containers, and to offer serve sizes that fit an age devoted to lowering volumes but increasing values,” Halstead said.

Brands will be focused on labeling and designs that stand out to busy and more visually oriented consumers, while also being classic enough to reassure shoppers of their quality. Look out for different bottle shapes, icons and coloring that go against the grain of what else is on the shelf.

Wine Intelligence’s 2019 trends and predictions were over 80% accurate.

 

The European Commission publishes harmonized oenological practices authorized in the EU

The European Commission published December 5 2019, in all EU languages, the detailed files of the International Organisation of the Vine and Wine code of oenological practices.

The oenological practices are defined, their objectives highlighted, as well as their conditions of use and the types of wines to which they apply. They include various types of fermentation and ways to acidify or de-acidify wine.

The European Commission stated that the object was to make the regulations “easier to read and to understand”, allowing winemakers to quickly comprehend the practices that are authorized in the EU.

The guidelines were the “last step” in the process of aligning EU wine legislation to the Lisbon Treaty. They simplify the requirements necessary to make wine for sale in the EU while increasing the consistency between both the EU permitted oenological practices and the international code of approved procedures published by the OIV.

The June update amended the regulations surrounding the presentation and labeling of wine, authorizations for vine planting, checks to avoid fraud in the wine industry, vineyard registers, and documents needed to accompany imports and exports.

The European Commission’s new 63-page document lists common winemaking procedures, giving their definition, objectives and permitted EU prescriptions.

The document covers topics including carbonic maceration, use of sulfites, controlled oxygenation, tirage, acidification and de-acidification, fining and filtering procedures, and stabilization and pasteurization techniques.

 

 

The English version of the document can be viewed here:

 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:C:2019:409:FULL&from=EN

Volume 62 English Edition Information and Notices
5 December 2019