Trade talk: What is the next frontier for the closures industry?

Carlos de Jesus, director of marketing and communication, Amorim

“For a long time we have been discussing the negatives of cork. But with all the preventative and curative measures well established, and the runaway success of our revolutionary NDTech non-detectable TCA guarantee system, it is time to talk positively about the three main benefits that a cork stopper brings to a bottle of wine, incorporating what we now know today.

“In our opinion, the next frontier is to ensure that closure purchasing decisions by the wine trade are made in the full knowledge of consumer preferences, positive sustainability and value-added creation. Cork ticks all those boxes.

“Cork is a 100% natural material that is environmentally friendly, re-usable and recyclable. Research over the past two years has shown that over 80% of consumers in the US, China and the UK would prefer to buy a cork-closed wine.

“In the UK recent findings have shown that a cork closure can deliver a premium positioning that adds anything from £1.50 per bottle retail up to £5.38 in the on-trade, compared to those sealed with an artificial closure. That is a very significant figure – and the highest value-added opportunity in the world.

“Sales of cork closures are growing faster than overall wine consumption so there are clearly cork-positive swings in market share. In the UK on-trade, sales of cork-closed wines are up 48% since 2015, compared to 10% for artificial closures, while the latest Neilsen research for the retail sector shows a growth year-on-year of over 6% in value sales. This demonstrates that a cork-closed wine provides increased sales and revenue for the retailer or restaurant.

“At the same time, ease of recycling is becoming a key issue –particularly in the light of alternative metal stoppers and the growing furore over plastics. Used corks can be collected and ground down for many secondary uses from wall tiles and flooring to sandals, and in Portugal we have the world’s largest recycling unit for this natural material.”

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