14th April, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
Tesco has expressed concern about the “homogenisation” among Australia’s major wine brands, calling for them to work harder at standing out from the crowd.
At a time when Australia’s overall volume exports fell by 6% during 2013, Tesco’s wine product development manager James Griswood told the drinks business that the country still remained “the most popular” source of wine among customers.
Nevertheless, he expressed concern at the lack of diversity offered by some of Australia’s largest, most mainstream names. “The biggest issue is the homogenisation between the key Australian brands,” warned Griswood. “They are all sitting in a very similar price, variety, style and quality area.”
Arguing that “none have any real, tangible differences that give them a unique positioning,” he flagged this up as a reason why “consumer spending is highly transferable between the brands.”
Griswood’s comments come shortly after John Angove, managing director of Angove Family Winemakers expressed concern at the strategy currently employed by Australia’s largest producers.
“I don’t know what they’re doing,” he told db, suggesting: “One of the key issues in the Australian wine industry at the moment is that it’s the mid-sized family owned companies who are keeping the industry going.”
While confirming the “core appeal” of Australia’s “classic duo of Chardonnay and Shiraz” for Tesco consumers, Griswood observed: “If Australia is to maintain its position as the consumer’s favourite wine producing country then it needs to drive a higher level of loyalty.”
In his view, “this can only be achieved if the key brands focus more on developing the essence of what makes their brand unique, and less to a mindless chase of listings and distribution.” At the moment, Griswood remarked, “some are doing this better than others.”
An in-depth look at Australia’s current export performance will appear in May’s issue of the drinks business.