Why Marketing “Healthier” Wines to Consumers is a Hit Today
The “Better for You” Wine Market is Exploding! Here’s an Analysis of the Shape of This Fast Growing Segment of the Alcoholic Beverage Industry and a Look at What Lies Ahead.
Ah, the consumer product that is an oxymoron! They seem to keep popping up in the product categories that are considered to be - overall - unhealthy and even vices. Who can forget the “safe cigarette”...
… or guilt-free, fat free cookies or potato chips!
In the alcoholic beverage market, “Lite” beer, a staple of the industry today, was once considered a novelty and a risky proposition for brewers.
And so today we have another product category that is booming, with a seemingly oxymoronic label - “healthy wine!” Officially, the category is referred to in the wine industry as “better for you” wines. They have lower alcohol contents and/or lower calories/sugar content than traditional wines. They can also command premium prices over “standard” wines, incentivizing vintners - both large and small alike - to jump into this market segment. And so far, consumer reactions to these healthier varieties of both white and red wines has been positive, leading to growth rates for this emerging product category far in excess of the rest of the wine market. Thus, we should expect to see even more companies jumping into the “better for you” wine market, leading to more options for consumers who seek wines with either lower alcohol content and/or lower calories/sugars.
A recent analysis of this emerging segment of the wine industry was published by the Shanken News Daily, which covers the alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries. The analysis was conducted by Juan Banaag, Shanken’s Director of Research. In his article, entitled “'Better For You' Wines Projected To Approach 3 Million Cases This Year," he explored the breadth and depth of this growing market. As can be seen in Table 1 (Growth of Major “Better for You” Wine Brands in 2021) below, the growth in both new product offerings and sales in the better for you wines segment is impressive. New healthier options have been introduced this year by some of the largest winemakers, including The Wine Group (makers of Franzia wines) Delicato Family Wines (makers of Bota wines) and Jackson Family Wines (makers of Kendall-Jackson). And established brands in the better for you wine category show year-over-year growth averaging 324%! All told, the total volume of wine sold in this emerging market segment will grow by over 200% for 2021, approaching or perhaps surpassing 300 million cases for the current year!
Table 1: Growth of Major “Better for You” Wine Brands in 2021
- Fitvine (Wines from California and Italy, Produced by Fitvine): Rank in Sales Volume: 1st; 42% Y-O-Y Growth
- Cupcake Lighthearted (Wines from California, Produced by The Wine Group): Rank in Sales Volume: 2nd; 180% Y-O-Y Growth
- Fun Wine (Wine from Multiple Origins, Produced by Fun Wine USA): Rank in Sales Volume: 3rd; 194% Y-O-Y Growth
- Kim Crawford Illuminate (Wine from New Zealand, Produced by Constellation Brands): Rank in Sales Volume: 4th; 852% Y-O-Y Growth
- Avaline (Wine from Spain and France, Produced by Avaline): Rank in Sales Volume: 5th; 210% Y-O-Y Growth
- Sunny With a Chance of Flowers (Wines from California, Produced by Scheid Family Wines): Rank in Sales Volume: 6th; 445% Y-O-Y Growth
- Franzia Refreshers (Wines from California, Produced by The Wine Group): New Product
- Bota Breeze (Wines from California, Produced by Delicato Family Wines): New Product
- Kendall-Jackson Lower Calorie Chardonnay (Wines from California, Produced by Jackson Family Wines): New Product
Source Data: Shanken News Daily, “Better For You” Wines Projected To Approach 3 Million Cases This Year, September 2021.
What is the outlook for the new “better for you” wine market? Certainly, such products are well-positioned for further growth, as they sit at the intersection of several favorable trends. First, there is the overall growth of the wine market in the United States, which according to the Wine Institute saw in 2020 the first billion gallon sales/consumption year (which amounts to just over 3 gallons per capita!). Secondly, “better for you” wines would seem to be well-positioned to capitalize on both the societal trends for not just health and wellness, but responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. Finally, these “healthier” wines are coming onto the market at a time when beverage industry analysts have noted that the hard seltzer craze may have indeed peaked, even as major new entrants have flooded the market with new seltzer-based alcoholic beverages. Indeed, the Food Institute has noted the proliferation of product offerings has led to “consumer confusion” that has turned off many potential buyers of such products. And with the continued softness and intense competition in the domestic beer market, “better for you” wines may indeed be seen favorably by consumers as the lighter, healthier, more responsible lighter-alcohol content beverage available on the market today. As particularly red wines are regarded as having some health benefits, the positioning of these healthier wine alternatives already have an advantage over rival seltzer, beer, and even “faux spirits” (non-alcohol containing liquor alternatives).
And with major wine brands jumping into the market with their own offerings, we could soon see a seltzer-like proliferation - or even potentially over-saturation in time - of this emerging wine market. In the meantime, we should expect to see major marketing efforts as winemakers seek to build their respective “better for you” brands. And with wine advertising allowed on various forms of American media, one should expect to see a whole lot of ads for these “healthier” wine alternatives such as this from The Wine Group for its Cupcake Lighthearted wines…
… or this for Kendall-Jackson Lower Calorie Chardonnay from Jackson Family Wines...
… or this for Sunny With a Chance of Flowers from Scheid Family Wines.
Needless to say, there is a tightrope to walk when marketing the whole notion of “healthier” drinking with the potential health effects involved with the activity. However, the wine industry will likely see much of its growth overall coming from this “better for you” segment, at least in the near future. As such, we will likely see intense competition among the major players and heightened interest in developing and marketing new product entries, as with the variety of wine types, there would appear to be the possibility of creating “better for you” products across all varieties of white, red, blush, and rose wines, as well as sparkling wines. Thus, the next few years will be intense with competition as brands seek to build out not just a single “better for you” offering, but indeed a family of “healthier” wine alternatives to complement their standard fares. And for brands, they may indeed be able to continue to command premium prices for these healthier alternatives, further incentivizing more investment in the development and marketing of these lines. Finally, for consumers, this means more choice - and yes, more healthier alternatives available to them in the wine market, both today and in the future.
About David Wyld
David Wyld is a Professor of Strategic Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, publisher, executive educator, and experienced expert witness. You can view all of his work at https://authory.com/DavidWyld.
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