Bag-in box format given major boost

02 April, 2010

Constellation has identified bag-in-box wines as a key focus for 2010 and hopes to extend the category by targeting more premium wine drinkers.

Consumers in the Nordic markets “are much more comfortable” with bag-in-box wines and perceive them as an upmarket offering, according to James Lousada, senior vice president for marketing and business development.

In contrast, the majority of UK consumers still see wine boxes as inferior and cheaper to bottled wines.

Lousada said Constellation is on a mission to premiumise the bag-in-box wine market and will “invest behind” the category this year in an effort to give it a more sophisticated image.

“We’ll spend some proper money and support the trade with a simple base of marketing and NPD work,” he said.

In the UK off-trade, bag-in-box wine has lost 1% of its value share of the wine market and 6% of its volume share in the year to March 20, 2010, according to Nielsen. The highest amount of boxed wine sold in the UK is from South Africa (27%), followed by Australia (17%), France (13%), Italy (12%) and the US (11%).

Constellation rolled out Hardys Nottage Hill Cabernet/Shiraz and Chardonnay last October in a new 2.25-litre box format called Freshcase, at £19.99.

It holds the equivalent of three bottles and features a new-style tap built into the base so it can be stored horizontally in a domestic fridge. The wine has a shelf life of six weeks after opening.

Constellation has introduced the Freshcase pack for its other brands in Denmark, Norway and Sweden – where bag-in-box is worth over £1 billion in retail sales, according to the company.

But more work needs to be done to create the same level of acceptance in the UK, Lousada said.

Bag-in-box also has greener credentials

– the Freshcase pack weighs 70% less than the equivalent three bottles and each part of the packaging can be recycled.

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