Close Menu

Morrisons: ‘We’re focusing all our resources in the value chain to make sure that we’re being efficient as we can’

Morrisons has resourced some of its supply chain in order to offer value to its customers, it has said, as it seeks to build on the reset of premium priced wines last autumn across the middle of its range.

Speaking to the drinks business at a recent press tasting, Charles Cutteridge said the move was not so much a change in strategy but an efficiency boost to “maximise the value that any particular producer can offer from across their total portfolio”, and get better value for customers amid mounting cost prices.

“We’ve had to really ensure that we’re working efficiently as possible, especially recently, to continue to deliver value at all levels of the range,” he said. “It is harder now to try and minimize the impact to the consumer in terms of cost inflation than it has been since I can remember and that has inevitably made some slight changes to the way that we source wines. We’re focusing all our resources in the value chain to make sure that we’re being efficient as we can.”

“It’s not that we are changing strategy as such, it’s just ‘boxing clever’, just to keep us on our toes, keep our suppliers honest and make sure we’re offering value where we can,” he said.

Among the changes, the retailer has resourced the Chilean red wines in its premium own label range, Morrisons The Best, moving to Chilean supplier Viña Indómita for its own label Pinot Noir, Carmenere, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, which have also had a label refresh to better reflect the colours, landscape and traditions of Chile.

“That was a particular area that we identified that was looking a bit tired and was ripe for a refresh, he said. “And it made sense to marry that up with fresh sourcing as well.”

Crisp whites

It has also resourced some of its crisp white wines, notably from Rias Baixas, in order to “swerve” the price rises of wines coming from the region and keep the focus on value while still offering a style that its customers “have grown to love”.

“Crisp dry wines are proving to be increasingly popular with our customers and Albariño has definitely benefited from that trend, but the prices in Rias Baixas this year were quite severely inflated,” Cutteridge explained. “We found that by working more with our Portuguese suppliers, we’re able to offer Alvarinho, which is essentially the same grape but from just over the border, barely 100 miles away in some instances.”

He put the rising prices from Rias Baixas down to a series of factors, including an increase in demand from the US and an ‘unprecedented’ rise in bulk wine prices.

The best Alvarinho from Vinho Verde in Portugal launched about a year ago, but the more premium tier, Cuba Azul Alvarinho (RRP: £10), is now sourced from Minho in Portugal as the price of the equivalent from Rias Baixas “would have had to gone to where we didn’t really feel offered great value for money”, he said.

The changes comes as the retailer looks towards it middle tier wines, having focussed on resetting prices for its top tier wines in the autumn and highlighting value at the entry level.

Cutteridge said that halving the price of some of its premium wines had been very successful, and had also boosted its premium Best own label range, including wines such as the Uco Valley Malbec and Grand Reserva Rioja.

He said it reflected the fact that the current economic climate was “different for everyone” and as a result, some customers were trading out of the on-trade and spending more in the supermarket.

“We’re making sure that we keep offering at all levels, for the various different customers we have,” he said.

Rose revamp

The retailer has also revamped its rose range, which it said had been “lagging behind” some of its competitors,

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No