Four in 10 wine drinkers now agree the quality of wine in a box or a pouch is as good as the bottled option
British wine buffs have ditched their snooty attitude towards screw tops, boxes and pouches, according to new research, which shows that alternatives to the traditional cork and glass bottle are increasingly popular options for consumers.
As many as four in 10 (39%) wine consumers now agree that wine in a box or a pouch is as good quality as bottled wine, while just 26% of wine drinkers think that a boxed version is inferior, according to the study by research company Mintel. Meanwhile, screw tops are seen as even less of an issue for wine lovers, with just 17% claiming not to trust “screw cap” quality wine.
Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said: “Recent years have seen many wine drinkers reappraising their perceptions and use of wine in differing formats and packaging styles. Boxed wine has the added advantage of the wine keeping for a longer period of time than in a bottle, facilitating more flexible usage and encouraging moderate drinking. Reducing wastage, boxed wine provides an ideal solution in a market which is both environmentally and cost conscious.”
Globally, an estimated 10% of still wines are sold in cartons but wine producers have recognised growing consumer enthusiasm for wines packaged in more convenient, lightweight formats. Red and white wines in 75cl Tetra Pak cartons (from reputed South African producers Namaqua Wines and Du Toitskloof) have this month been launched in three UK supermarkets.
Guy Woodward, editor of Decanter magazine, said: “We’ve long been supporters of screw cap wines, which are undoubtedly the most reliable – and practical – closures for wines that are intended to be drunk young. Some very fine wines are now being bottled under screw cap, and it should in no way be taken as an indicator of lesser quality. I’m still a little sceptical about boxed or bagged wine though, and I’m yet to encounter a truly serious wine presented in this format.”
The UK wine market was valued at £10.4bn last year with a predicted sales rise of 2.4% set to boost it to £10.4bn this year, the report reveals. But the recession has had a clear impact, with sales by volume falling from 1.26m litres in 2007 to 1.14m litres last year. And with pressure on household budgets, two in five (39%) wine buyers are now rethinking their regular purchases.
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