A new report from Chicago-based market research firm Mintel predicts that the recession will be profitable for those companies catering to an increased interest in comfort foods, classic cocktails, organic/fresh food labels and Mediterranean dishes. So which wines pair well with braised pork, olives or hummus?
Tasting room staffers: You may want to work these trends into your suggestions to visitors when describing recommended food and wine pairings while pouring or accompanying visitors to the wine racks for purchases.
Winery marketing and web teams: E&J Gallo has a food and wine pairing guide and Turning Leaf has a food and wine pairing wheel.
If your winery hosts food and wine pairing events, a similar interactive tool could be incorporated into your web content to bring visitors/customers back to your site. You can also include a link to any of your favorite recipes and plug your in-house chef at the same time. Add your winery’s own personal touch to these and other tools and keep your strategies consistent with your established winery brand.
This is a good time to think ahead, respond to trends and lifestyle changes and proactively seek to cater to the every day interests of your visitors and customers. If you haven’t tuned into the Food Network, browsed through Food & Wine or Better Homes and Gardens, or clicked through Smitten Kitchen blog in awhile, check them out in the name of research. Happy New Year!
A recent Nielsen Company report finds that “despite a fragile economy, consumers continue to see alcoholic beverages as an affordable indulgence.” Online alcoholic beverage shopping is expected to continue to increase and will be especially evident in the wine sector.
According to Richard Hurst, Sr. VP of Beverage Alcohol, The Nielsen Company, “Many stores are adding alcoholic beverages to their assortment, providing more opportunities for consumers to purchase alcoholic beverages at competitive prices,” said Hurst. “And as we’ve seen in the past, some states may experiment with extended hours for alcoholic beverage purchases, such as Sunday sales, for an additional boost. Given that fewer consumers are likely to be able to afford luxury wines and spirits in their holiday budgets – – and there is evidence of trading down — stores would do well to ensure that they offer products across a variety of price segments.”
Another key finding: with exchange rates continuing to be unfavorable to the American dollar, imports have had to increase their prices, affecting their growth rates in favor of domestics. A few other key take-aways from the study:
- During tough economic times, consumers are often biased toward national or local products, further enhancing the prospects for domestic brand growth, whose prices have remained relatively stable through the year.
- The weak dollar helps tourism, especially in major cities.
- Wine and spirits are popular gift items and there will be a tendency toward value-added packaging and “retailers should consider multiple store display locations to capitalize on impulse purchasing, as well as providing gift accessories nearby, such as bottle openers, gift bags, mixed drink party pack ingredients and glassware.”
- “While there is evidence of consumers reducing on-premise consumption, as well as trading down to less expensive beverages, they are reluctant to cut back significantly on beer, wine and spirits, especially for at home consumption and entertaining. With the prospect of limited economic recovery in 2009, consumers are likely to consider alcoholic beverages as an affordable indulgence during the holiday season.”
Overall, this study indicates opportunities for growth of the domestic wine segment with consumer mindsets in favor of American and local wine products (if you like Riesling from Mosel, Rheingau or Alsace, have you tried a Riesling from the Finger Lakes?)
With the consumer mindset toward at home consumption and entertaining, are you catering to wine lovers who are pressed for time and looking for items to enjoy in the comfort of their homes? Do you have attractive displays of items and wines that deliver a high quality-price ratio? (Think Target’s popular and lucrative “cheap chic” trend.) A favorite example from here in the Finger Lakes is Ventosa Vineyards’ Tocaice Dessert Wine, one of the nicest dessert wines I’ve tasted, and at a very affordable $27.95 for 375 ml bottle, it is sure to fit most gift-giving budgets.