Prosecco famously captured the hearts and minds of UK consumers following the 2008/2009 recession. But what are the key trends during the current cost-of-living crisis? Which sparkling categories are bubbling up? And which are losing their fizz?
Recent Circana (formerly IRI) off-trade data, shared with Drinks Retailing by Freixenet Copestick, shows some interesting developments. While Prosecco dominates the share of value sales (52%) in the year to February 19 2023, English sparkling wine is the only subcategory in value growth (+17.9%).
Prosecco declines are in line with the total sparkling category at -8.5% for the period, while Champagne showed an -11.2% value decline in the year to February 19.
Both Cava and Crémant are showing the shallowest declines at -4.5% and -1.8%, respectively.
In brand terms, pop princess Kylie Minogue’s namesake brand is adding the most value to the Prosecco category, while Chapel Down is driving English sparkling growth.
Speaking to retailers about the data trends, and Pierre Mansour, director of wine at The Wine Society says England is in growth for the company. “We expect more growth this year as the impact of bigger vintages take effect combined with the impact of more limited availability (and higher prices) from Champagne,” he adds.
He explains that generally, sparkling sales have remained consistent across the different styles that The Wine Society sells.
“Champagne dominates with around 40% of sparkling sales, followed by Prosecco (15%) then Cava, Crémant and Saumur.”
At Marks & Spencer, head of BWS transformation Andrew Shaw says that while Prosecco hasn’t slowed momentum at the retailer, “English sparkling wine is dominating, and we saw strong take up for Champagne until Christmas, though it has softened since”.
Shaw adds that the retailer’s Italian Bellante brand is set to roll out with a “beautifully designed, unique bottle for us”.
“Because we’ve started from a strong base in Prosecco, we haven’t seen a fall off,” he explains, though he notes that with duty changes, there may be some “future proofing” work to do in terms of highlighting sparkling wine for more occasions.
“Consumer perception is that you could drink rosé Prosecco with food, it’s a more versatile style.” And Shaw says plans at M&S include how to pitch Prosecco to a wider audience.
Meanwhile, he describes Cava as an “overlooked gem” in the sparkling wine world.
“We will revise our packaging on Cava to ensure that we attract a consumer who would be looking at Prosecco but potentially wants something different, but at the same price level.”
As the trade prepares for duty changes, it will be interesting to see if, and how, retailers change up the conversation with consumers when it comes to sparkling wine.