Wine Sales to Remain Strong

December 2/Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week -- Americans will be tipping their glasses this holiday season. According to new Mintel research, two-thirds of survey respondents (67%) say they partake in wine on holidays and special occasions while at home. Another 58% drink wine at home with dinner on an ordinary night.

The wine market has grown 20% from 2004-09 despite the recession; however, shattered consumer confidence caused a 3.2% decline during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. As consumers begin to see signs that the worst of the recession is behind them, Mintel forecasts the wine market will stabilize and increase by 2.1% in 2009.

"Despite the recent decline, the future of the wine market looks bright, at least for moderately priced segments," says Sarah Theodore, Mintel senior food and drink analyst. "Value wines have helped consumers rethink their perceptions about wine. Domestic wines have proven to be somewhat recession-proof as unpretentious, economy-priced wines are fuelling recent sales."

How does wine chalk up next to its alcoholic beverage counterparts? So far in 2009, nearly half of survey respondents say they drink beer compared to just more than one-third who drink imported and domestic wines (47% vs. 35%). Only 17% claim to enjoy champagne and sparkling wines and even less drink port, sherry and dessert wines (7%).

Theodore notes, "As wine finds its way out of the recession, it might be taking on a new form. The down economy has given impetus to boxed wine. Marketers have an opportunity right now to really play up the benefits of this type of packaging and finally eliminate its 'cheap' image."

Nearly one in five respondents appears to be status-conscious when it comes to drinking boxed wine. Consequently, 35% of those aged 21-24 say they would drink boxed wine at home but not serve it to guests, compared to 19% of all ages. In addition, 35% of 21-24 year old wine drinkers believe the wine brand they choose reflects their status to friends, compared to only 14% of all ages.

From the December 7, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition