Pernod in premium wine push

15th March, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Pernod Ricard UK is turning the spotlight on its premium wines in order to bridge the gap between shoppers who are willing to trade up on wine, and those who actually do.

A mock-up merchandising unit

Of 2,500 consumers surveyed by the company, almost 60% said they were willing to spend more than £7 on a bottle of wine, though in reality only 11% do.

Pernod’s premium focus has been spurred on by the fact that light wine is in decline, with volumes down 2.3% on last year.

“The market is flat for the fist time in many years, so we need to inject value into the category,” admitted Pernod’s deputy managing director Simon Thomas.

“Premium wine is our fastest growing category, and with such a high percentage of consumers willing to trade up, it’s a compelling growth proposition,” he added.

According to Thomas, retailers could expect an average of £2.74 more a bottle from premium wine.

Defined by PRUK as priced between £6.50 to £8.50, research showed premium wine is appealing to both connoisseurs and aspirational wine consumers, though Pernod has chosen to focus its energy on “floating voters” that dip in and out of the category.

The company aims to make the most of its premium offering in the off-trade by making the wines readily available, attractive to look at and built around a special occasion.

Chris Shead, Pernod’s category insights director, believes the “enormous gap” between consumers’ intention to buy premium wine and actual buying habits provided a big opportunity.

“The intimidating wall of wine in supermarkets drives consumers pick wines by price. We desperately need to improve the in-store experience to entice shoppers to trade up,” he said.

Describing premium wine as “the engine room for growth,” Shead believes the current economic climate has lead to more people entertaining at home, who are treating themselves to better quality food and wine as a result.

To allow retailers to capitalise on the premium sector, PRUK will be offering help with in-store marketing, focused around promoting occasions.

“Special occasions provide the best opportunities for trading up, so we’re giving them a big push with on-shelf video barkers, occasion neck collars and occasion cases,” said wine channel director Lee James.

Pernod is also looking to maximise opportunities at deli counters with suggested premium wine pairings for cheeses and meats, and recipes on the back labels of Campo Viejo.

According to Neilsen MAT data to February 2, Brancott Estate’s average price is £6.53 – ahead of New Zealand at £6.29; Campo Viejo £6.50 – ahead of Spain at £4.62; and Jacob’s Creek premium still wines, average of £6.56, ahead of Australia at £4.93.

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