28th February, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
The UK trade needs to reconsider its attitude towards the lower alcohol wine sector, believes Laura Jewell MW, Tesco’s wine category product development manager.
Speaking to the drinks business about the performance of this category, which has seen a flurry of new product launches in the last couple of years, Jewell acknowledged that it remains a problematic but important area.
“I don’t think the trade is looking at lower alcohol in the right way,” she argued. “We all have a range of lower alcohol and no alcohol wines because we should and we will continue to do so, but what we’re finding it is they’re appealing to a very different consumer base.”
Rather than aligning these lower alcohol offerings directly with the rest of the wine category, Jewell suggested closer parallels with “fruity” products such as Lambrini, flavoured ciders or the “amazing” Rosé Pamplemousse flavoured wines now widely available in France.
“Yes, there’s a customer out there who needs a lower alcohol option for whatever reason,” she told db, “but to me the excitement is in the flavours and that’s what I’m working on.”
Although Jewell would not confirm exactly what form Tesco’s own solution would take, she added: “We probably won’t do own label, but we’ll try a few things and see what works.”
Expanding further on this flavour factor, Jewell suggested that lower alcohol wines’ on-shelf positioning next to other wines rather than their fellow fruit-driven products represented a further barrier to commercial success. “At some stage we will have a ‘fruity’ section in our store,” she confirmed.
Once the wines are in a better position to fly off the shelves, Jewell also enthused about ideas such as encouraging people to enjoy their wine over ice – an initiative Champagne house Moët & Chandon is about to push in the UK this summer with its Ice Impérial. “Let’s stop being snobbish,” concluded Jewell.
A full interview with Laura Jewell will appear in March’s issue of the drinks business.