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Tetra Pak cartons face fight to seduce UK wine lovers

By Ben Bouckley , 30-Aug-2012
Last updated on 30-Aug-2012 at 17:59 GMT

Tetra Pak cartons hold the lowest appeal among all packaging formats for UK wine consumers, and face a tough fight to win significant market share from the likes of glass and PET.

That’s according to a new report from specialist research firm Wine Intelligence, analyzing January 2012 data collected from 603 UK adults who drank wine at least once a month, via an Vinitrac® online survey.

This data was post-weighted, with Wine Intelligence claiming it was representative of the UK’s 29m regular wine drinkers in terms of age, gender and socio-economic groups.

Probing alternative packaging formats, Wine Intelligence found that 51% (14.8m as a post-weighted figure) of regular wine drinkers had bought bag-in-box wine, but only 13% (3.8m) had bought the drink in a Tetra Pak.

Consumers saw the Tetra Pak as easy to carry and environmentally friendly, with a typical following among consumers aged 45-54 and a slight female consumer skew, the report said.

Sophistication lacking?

But the authors added that Tetra Pak cartons were not perceived as good for ageing wine, and showed a lack of sophistication, while hosts would not be ‘proud to serve’ wine in cartons to guests.

“Tetra Pak holds the lowest appeal and likelihood to buy across the formats tested, indicating that this format has important challenges to overcome in order to win over a significant customer base,” Wine Intelligence’s analysts wrote.

Indeed, Tetra Pak cartons showed the ‘strongest rejection’ levels among the 603 regular wine drinkers questioned, and did not evoke strong enthusiasm when the group was asked whether they associated cartons with a wide variety of specific serving occasions.

65% described cartons as ‘very unappealing or unappealing’, and overall cartons were deemed not suitable for preserving wine when stored, 20% were neutral and only 10% saw the Tetra Pak as an ‘appealing or very appealing’ package.

On average, Tetra Pak buyers bought wine in this package 9.6 times per year, comparable to small format glass (9.4); a lower bag-in-box number (6.9) reflected higher volumes sold.

Consumers buying 750ml glass bottles (73% of total wine buyers frequently bought this format, i.e. more than once a month) did so 37.3 times per year.

Wine drinkers who bought a Tetra Pak on a regular basis (2% overall) tended to be more experimental and enjoyed trying new wine styles on a regular basis, the report authors said.

Light in the Tetra Pak tunnel?

And holding out a chink of light for Tetra Pak as regards demographics to target, it noted that potential consumers could perhaps be younger, below 35, and more driven by cost.

Overall, UK consumers still favoured traditional glass bottles for wine, but were increasingly open to PET formats that mirror this style, as well as bag-in-box drinks, the report stated.

Bag-in-box wine was associated with informal occasions and large gatherings, the Wine Intelligence analysts explained, where sharing and value for money were seen as important.

This packaging choice was skewed towards men aged 45-54 with a higher involvement in wine, who drink it regularly, almost every day.

Perhaps surprisingly, 39% of regular wine drinkers (11.3m) said they had bought wine in PET.

Around 21% of PET wine buyers, or 565,000 (typically ‘risk averse’ youngsters aged 18-24), choose this format frequently, according to Wine Intelligence.

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