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Food & Alcohol Pairing: Consumer Occasions and Marketing Opportunities
Datamonitor, January 2011, Pages: 91
As product differentiation has become more elusive across CPG sectors, the ball is the court of manufacturers to seek out new routes to generate stand out. A food and alcohol paring offer once such route and is one that can be used to leverage a product premium.
Features and benefits
- Achieve sales growth by understanding the opportunities that can be realized through successful adoption of a food and alcohol pairings.
- Enhance credibility of sales pitches by better understanding consumer needs and wants from food and alcohol pairings
- Stimulate insight for new product ideation by learning from best practice examples specifically, with supporting consumer, product and market insight
- With differentiation more elusive, the food and alcohol pairings provides a route to a product premium in terms of trading up to more premium products and generating an elevated, more sophisticated and sensory approach to alcohol consumption.
- Food and alcohol pairings can be used by alcohol manufacturers as part of their corporate social responsibility concerns. Exclusive Datamonitor research has shown that half of all consumers who feel very well informed about food and alcohol pairings, pay a very high amount of attention to ensuring they do not drink too much alcohol in general.
Your key questions answered
- What are the key consumer drivers of the food and alcohol pairing?
- How can food and alcohol pairings be harnessed to create winning brand positionings?
- How can a food and alcohol pairing be used in store in shopper marketing activations?
- What role can social media play in enhancing food and alcohol pairings?
Food and drink pairings have come to the fore in recent years
Food and alcohol pairings provide a notable route to a product premium
Wine and beer have a vastly different relationship with food
Beer and food pairings are the greatest opportunity in this area
Cider tops the list of category drinkers who feel well-informed about food and alcohol pairings
Educating the consumer regarding matching is vital in emerging markets
Simplification is a key route to encourage more food and alcohol pairings
THE FUTURE DECODED
As drinking occasions are changing, so too must food pairings
Food and alcohol pairing is very subjective so cannot be dictated by manufacturers
A conscious food and wine pairing can be made on a number of different levels
Trend: The underlying switch from the on- to the off-trade is making food matching more important
Off-trade is the natural domain of the food occasions
Insight: There has been a key switch away from upscale restaurants
Upscale restaurants in Russia and Mexico have been particularly hard hit, opening an opportunity for premium alcohol sales in the off-tradeThe two countries where there has been the greatest switch away from high-end restaurants have been Mexico and Russia. According to the BBC, The Russian economy shrank 7.9% in 2009 compared with 2008, and in terms of alcohol consumption, has been one of the weakest performers with a decline in volume sales due to depressed consumer confidence and a series of restrictions of alcohol sales, and marketing and promotional activity. Indeed, according to Datamonitor's Market Data Analytics (MDA), the Russian alcohol market declined 6% in 2010 versus 2009.
Dining at home is greatest in those countries where the recession has hit hard
Trend: Food and alcohol matchings have become an important aid to product differentiation
Insight: The switch to the off-trade increases food and drink choices and variety for consumers
Choice paralysis is a making successful innovation more elusive in the alcohol market
Insight: In a crowded market, experiential marketing can aid product differentiation
Increasingly, marketing is focused on delivering experiences to consumers
Insight: A food and alcohol pairing can open up a route to differentiation by offering up a more authentic consumption experience
A backlash has developed against the McDonaldization of eating habits
The move against globalization has seen an increase in products marketed as authentic
Beer as well as wine has a role to play in building the authenticity of food and alcohol matching habits
Trend: Matching food and alcohol is a key route to adding value and increasing sales for both food and alcohol manufacturers
Consumers are now increasingly looking to trade up
Consumers with more knowledge of pairings are willing to pay a premium price
Consumers who feel well informed about food and alcohol pairings buy higher quality drink for at-home consumption
Insights: Matching food and alcohol can help elevate the importance of provenance-led attributes
Chinese consumers are the most likely to look for locally produced food and drink
There remains a notable value-action gap in authenticity that needs to be bridged
Trend: There is a synergistic relationship between food and alcohol pairings that marketers can tap into
Wine is the drink of choice with food As the figure above shows, wine's strength in both the on- and the off-trade is centered on food occasions. Pettigrew and Charters' Consumers’ expectations of food and wine pairing (2006) notes the ability of wine to enhance a dining consumption experience, that can be broken down into three key elements:
Spirits are most preferred on high tempo occasions
Beer is less important to food occasions, except at barbecues
Insight: Attitudes to food and alcohol matching varies by category drinkers
Monthly wine drinkers are more likely to match food and alcohol than beer drinkers
Frequent wine drinkers are more likely to feel well informed about food and alcohol pairings
Cider drinkers are the most likely to feel well-informed about matching food and alcohol
Italian drinkers are the most likely to match food and alcohol, irrespective of drink category
Japanese consumers are the least likely to match food and alcohol
Trend: Corporate and social responsibility is growing in importanceDatamonitor's Offering Ethicality and Sustainability in Alcoholic Drinks report (September 2010, DMCM4667) notes that there will always be tension between the need for brands to be good social citizens, and the need to deliver growth to shareholders. While advertising for alcoholic beverages is subject to rigorous laws and regulations, companies have demonstrated their commitment to the promotion of sensible consumption by implementing their own codes for ethical promotions.
The food occasion is the archetypal responsible drinking occasionThe food and alcohol occasion is an archetypal responsible drinking opportunity for alcohol manufacturers to promote. Put simply, combining food with alcohol slows down the rate of alcohol absorption and is also “better for you” in terms of preventing the drinker taking in too much alcohol.
Chinese consumers are the most likely to pay a high or very high amount of attention to not drinking too much alcohol
Trend: Food and alcohol pairings are a key route to growth in the emerging markets
Insight: Consumer education about wine is a key barrier holding back a sophisticated synergistic approach to food and alcohol matchingOne of the most striking elements of the Datamonitor consumer research survey conducted in July/August 2010 found that there is a need for greater education in the emerging market in matching food and alcohol. While 33% of all consumers in the 18 countries surveyed stated that they are intimated by the idea of buying wine or would like to know more about wine, this figure rose to 56% in India, 52% in China, and 54% in Brazil.
Insight: Informed levels of food and alcohol are highest among consumers in food-oriented cultures
Insight: The key factors that drive choice of alcoholic beverage hold back food and alcohol pairings
Branding and price is the key reason as to why consumers choose the alcoholic drink they do
Price is the key factor in the UK and Japan
Health is the primary reason for choosing alcoholic beverages in Russia
Insight: Older men are the most likely to match food and alcohol, limiting opportunities in some markets
There are often stronger rituals within meal occasions
Action: The onus is on food manufacturers to approach the alcohol industry
Food and alcohol pairings can deliver a premium for food products
Tie-ins between food and alcohol companies are vital to unlock the pairing opportunity
There are opportunities for niche pairings
Develop alcohol’s association as a food ingredientOne of the more notable trends seen in certain markets that saw a recession has been consumers' willingness to cook from scratch more so than they once did. According to Datamonitor research, 42% of consumers surveyed in June 2010 stated that they were cooking more from scratch in the past three to six months.
Harnessing consumption rituals is the key to developing food and alcohol pairingsDrinking rituals are very important to the alcohol consumption experience. Some notable and prominent examples of drinking rituals incorporated into alcohol brand marketing include:
Matching alcohol and food through gifting can add value
The enjoyment derived from food and alcohol combinations must be maximized over the holiday season
Action: Embrace authenticity as a powerful weapon to unlock growth
Use packaging to reinforce the authenticity credentials of food and alcohol associations
Action: Educating consumers about food and alcohol matchings is vital
Education into food and wine pairings can unlock opportunities in the emerging markets
Food and beverage manufacturers must demystify food and wine pairing
Action: Promote beer’s association with foodConsumers tend to use the classic "wine with food" pairing as the basis for food and alcohol pairings as a whole, and develop the mindset that the sensory elements of the consumption experience can be enhanced through an alcohol and food pairings.
Beer can make food and alcohol pairings more accessibleUnquestionably, while wine has been the first port of call in terms of tuning the consumer mindset into the fact that sensory pleasure can be maximized through a synergistic food and alcohol pairing, as the beer category evolves, it is perhaps in a better position to drive this forward.
Varying the serve is another option in aligning a food and alcohol pairing
Action: The on-trade has to offer something different, and food and alcohol pairings can do just that
Food and alcohol pairings can add significant value
Adopt on-trade concepts to drive food and alcohol pairings in the off-trade
Industry players need to match champagne with food
Action: Incorporate and leverage wider societal trends to make food and alcohol matchings as persuasive as possible
Align with the key trend of making the kitchen a key space for drinking alcohol
Adopt new technologies to enhance food and alcohol pairing
The growth in culinary tourism is the epitome of food and alcohol pairings
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