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Wine drinkers happy to hit the bottle

UK wine consumers are surprisingly adventurous in their choices of wine packaging, which could eventually mean the traditional 75cl bottle may lose its stranglehold on the market.

But even though millions of regular drinkers have bought wine in formats like bag-in-box, Tetra Pak, plastic bottles and smaller sizes of glass bottle, the traditional 75cl option is still by far the most popular choice, according to Wine Intelligence research, with almost three quarters of consumers buying it regularly.

More than half of all wine drinkers occasionally buy bag-in-box wines, and Tetra Pak wines have been purchased at some point by 13% of consumers. But only a small minority of these consumers opt for these formats more than once a month.

Almost four in 10 wine drinkers have bought plastic (PET) bottles of wine, and the format clearly has some appeal as more than half of these consumers report buying the format on a regular basis.

Consumers base their decisions on a wide range of factors, including value for money, portability and environmental credentials. However, occasion and product image are the most important.

Wine Intelligence’s associate director for publishing, Graham Holter, said consumers’ open-mindedness had parallels with how screw caps were embraced a decade or so ago, although the industry needed to give consumers reasons to switch from familiar glass bottles.

“The wine industry would have us believe that alternative packaging options have no detrimental effect on the wine they contain – indeed, they may even do a better job, in some circumstances, than glass,” he said. “Producers can quote any amount of scientific or organoleptic data to back up their arguments.”

“But this is not a debate that will be played out in any laboratory. It’s one that’s happening around the UK, in the grocery aisles and across dining tables.
“The UK bottle culture is not going to be smashed overnight, but a two-way dialogue between producer and end user could yet lead to a small but significant shift in the way wine is packaged.”

The UK Packaging Report is published by Wine Intelligence and available from the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop, priced at GBP 500, EUR 640, AUD 800, USD 800 or 1 Report Credit.


How the data was collected:
The data for this report was collected in January 2012 using quantitative research methods: Vinitrac UK, n = 603 adult UK residents who drink wine at least once a month. Sampling strategy: interlocked quota, using Wine Intelligence calibration data.





1 August 2012 - Felicity Murray