Aldi: Vegan and organic wine category ‘up for grabs’

Growing interest in ‘good-for-you, good-for-the-environment’ wines including organic and vegan wines, is creating an exciting opportunity for wine retailers to open up the category, according to Aldi buyer Mike James.

Speaking to the drinks business at last week’s tasting, James told db that the growth of organic, vegan, no sulphur-added, low alcohol wines and wines in different formats, meant that the customer “norm and the go-tos” were no longer the same, creating a great opportunity for retailers to explore.

“Whether its organic or vegan wines, suddenly everything is up for grabs,” he told db. “It is really exciting for a supermarket to be able to realise – there are some pockets that are relatively important from a volume growth point-of- view, if you get it right, you can tap into that and kind of own it.”

“On their own are quite small areas, but collectively you’re talking about a significant, and in very, very strong growth,” he noted.

New formats

New formats are also an exciting area, James said, and although Aldi is not currently intending to bring back the innovative craft beer styles wine bottles it launched in 2016, it is looking at expanding its range of different formats.

“There is a customer who’s willing to buy into wine that is not in the normal 75cl glass bottle or the style of wine that you or I might get, so it’s trying to tap into that,” he told db.

He said the discounter would be putting in a lot of different formats to “almost test the market” and get customers to tell them what works and what doesn’t.

“It’s very difficult especially when you have such a small bit of the market, to see what the direction of the market is, what the trends might be, so let’s just go and put lots of formats and see what works!” he said.

As well as ramping up its choice of half bottles and minis, Aldi is also looking at new bag-in-box and pouched formats, which have seen good growth.

We’re seeing pretty good growth with our mainstay bag-in-box, but I think the future is about growing acceptance, we [the UK] is not quite there yet in the acceptance of high quality wine [in the format]. There’s acceptance of entry-level and mid-tier, but not more premium wine, although we are edging up,” he said.

“Whereas before we wouldn’t have dreamed of putting a premium wine in bag-in-box – and I am still a bit nervous doing that to the extent that it’s probably not the right thing to do – maybe that will come,” he said.

“Now it’s about how we start going up the ladder to that sort of thing.”

Online ambition

Aldi is also set to “stretch” its online wine range with more higher priced wines, James said, on the back of strong growth.

“It’s been really strong and continues to beat our forecasts and expectations,” he noted, adding that three years after launching the e-commerce platform, it was becoming a more mature avenue of sale.

“We’re now more and more confident we can stretch the range online because of that maturity we’ve got and because we also have more data,” he said.  “There’s a lot we’re doing and more to come to push it even further, and the time is right to start stretching it a bit.”

The discounter has launched an English still wine  for the first time along with a range of ‘exciting’ white and red Portuguese wines , which it said demonstrated the wider trend for crisp, crunchy, more acidic wines. 

 

 

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