Trade needs to watch sweet tooth trend

The wine trade needs to wake up to the consumer thirst for sweeter wines or risk losing an entire generation of younger consumers to other categories, a senior drinks analyst has warned.

Sweet toothSpeaking during a seminar at the London International Wine Fair yesterday, Johnnie Forsyth, senior drinks analyst for global market research group Mintel, warned of the dangers of ignoring the “sweet tooth generation.”

“Sweet wines are driving sales in the US and the ‘Moscato Madness’ boom is showing no sign of slowing. The grape now accounts for 6% of volumes sales in the US market, up 33% year-on-year – they can’t make it quick enough,” said Forsyth.

Sweet red blends are also making headway in the US, with brands such as Gallo having added a sweet red to its range in recent years.

“But there’s still this perception in the trade of sweet wine as negative and dry wine as a superior product, which needs to change if we want to bring new consumers into the wine category.

“Consumers aged 18-24 are easily influenced by what they read and are abandoning wine completely in favour of other sweet alcoholic drinks as the experts are putting them off,” he added.

According to Forsyth, Americans consume 130lbs of sugar per person per year, compared to 20lbs in 1820.

And the UK isn’t exempt from the sugar rush either – sugar consumption in Britain is up 31% since 1990, with the average person chomping their way through 700g of sugar a week.

The 'Moscato madness' trend is showing no sign of slowing in the US

The ‘Moscato madness’ trend is showing no sign of slowing in the US

“The trade needs to understand that it’s in our physiognomy to be drawn to sweet wines at a young age – our taste for dry wines doesn’t tend to evolve until later on in life,” Forsyth stressed.

“There’s a narrow view of what constitutes good wine in the wine industry, which is putting young people off the category and stopping innovation.

“A yawning gap has developed between the industry’s perception of what wine should be and what consumers actually want to drink,” he added.

During the presentation, Forsyth pointed out that in search of ever more intense and complex flavour experiences and unafraid of experimenting, consumers are evolving faster than the wine trade, which is in increasing danger of getting left behind and becoming out of touch.

“Wine needs to work harder at innovating through subtle executions – times are tough and wine brands can’t assume growth anymore,” he said.

To help bridge the gap, Forsyth suggests the wine industry looks to spirits brands and adopts the limited edition model as it allows for innovation with minimum risk and generates interest and excitement around a brand.

“There’s a real opportunity for the wine industry to have a crack at limited edition runs – they work well with consumers due to the ‘catch me if you can’ element and the idea of rareness and exclusivity,” he offered.

One such wine brand to have triumphed with a limited edition run is Tio Pepe with its En Rama bottling of unfiltered fino, which has proved such a success since its launch in 2010 that owner Gonzalez Byass has released a small number of bottles every year since, changing the label each year to keep the idea fresh.

Other Sherry houses such as Hidalgo and Lustau have since hopped on the ‘en rama’ bandwagon.

One Response to “Trade needs to watch sweet tooth trend”

  1. Glugger says:

    So Gallo has added a sweet red to its range.

    And the difference between that and any entry level red they make is …???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Manager

James Eadie Ltd
London, UK

Wine Ambassador Role

Ramón Bilbao UK
London, UK

Fine Wine Logistics Coordinator

IG Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager

Top Selection
London, UK

Assistant Retail Manager

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

Marketing Manager

Ellis Wines
Hanworth, Middx, GB

Commercial Analyst

ATOM Group
Tunbridge Wells, UK

Customer Service Executive

Marussia Beverages
Marylebone, London, UK

HR Administrator

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Trade Marketing Manager

Australian Vintage Limited
Croydon, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more