Consumers pushing for calorie labelling

Consumers are keen to see government plans for calorie labels on wine become legislation as calorie counting becomes an increasingly important factor in the wine buying process.

Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel embodies the brand's aspirational ethos

Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel embodies the brand’s aspirational ethos

Speaking during a seminar at the London International Wine Fair at ExCel yesterday, Johnnie Forsyth, senior drinks analyst for global market research group Mintel, explained:

“Health has become more of a priority in the past few years with calories now at the forefront of the consumer decision making process, and wine is no longer exempt.

“The drinking in moderation message is really getting through to consumers, and wine is becoming increasingly dragged into the health debate, though there is still the perception that lower alcohol wines means lower quality,” Forsyth added.

With 62% of women and 42% of men in the UK having attempted to lose weight last year, Forsyth stressed that calorie labels were a more effective marketing tool for lower alcohol wines than plugging their health benefits.

Wine is no longer exempt from calorie counting

Wine is no longer exempt from calorie counting

“Calories seem to matter more than alcohol levels to today’s consumers as it is something they can quantify,” he said.

According to Forsyth, the average 75cl bottle of wine contains 555 calories, with one 175ml glass containing the same number of calories as four cookies.

Spirits brands have responded to this new breed of health-focused consumer with lower calorie “skinny” editions, such as the Smirnoff Sorbet Light range and Malibu Rum Island Spiced, the former of which contains 78 calories per 1.5oz serving, and the latter boasting 70 calories per serving.

During the presentation, Forsyth offered that smaller servings could be the way forward for the wine trade, as rather than go without their indulgences, consumers are opting for smaller serves.

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s is already in on the trend, having recently released a line of single serve wines, including a sparkling rosé Moscato, which are selling strongly, appealing to consumers both for the money saving aspect and the reduction of wastage.

“Interestingly, consumers seem prepared to pay a premium for smaller versions of their favourite indulgences,” said Forsyth, though he did warn that miniature wine samples were unlikely to take off as the culture of wine is so deeply rooted in the idea of sharing.

He did however see opportunities between 25-50cl, with half bottles (37.5cl) a particularly strong proposition.

Forsyth cited the US-based Skinnygirl wine and premix cocktail brand as an example of the success lower calorie drinks brands can achieve, with founder, reality TV star Bethenny Frankel embodying the brand’s aspirational ethos.

For more information on the calorie content in drinks, and db‘s top 10 low-calorie wine brands, click here.

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