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Smaller format bag-in-box wines lead revival in category

Published:  09 October, 2014

Bag-in-box is due a revival, with smaller formats leading the way, according to figures from Nielsen which show the 2.25 litre box has grown 8.7% by volume in the past year.

Tesco 1.5 litreMajor retailers looking to smaller format bag-in-box optionsTesco recently introduced 1.5 litre versions of five of its most popular Finest wines - including this Sout African Chenin Blanc.

When looking at the category as a whole, the picture does not look bright. Overall it makes up a slim 5.3% of the wine category in the UK, with value sales falling 3.7% and volume 7.4% MAT to September 13, 2014.

However, closer analysis reveals that the 2.25 litre format has grown 14.6% by value and 8.7% by volume in the past year, while big brother the 3-litre box has dropped dramatically by 14.3% by value and 16.6% by volume in the same period. A Nielsen report said: "The growing popularity of smaller bag in box SKU's suggests that the 1.5 litre may be a success in the future."

Red wine is more popular than white in the bag-in-box format, with white's value down 6.2% and volumes down 9.5%, versus red falling by 3.4% by value and 7% by volume.

Last week Tesco announced plans to offer five of its most popular Finest wines, already sold in 75cl bottles, in 1.5 litre bag-in-box, after seeing growth in the format. The new bag-in-box format will be produced at Accolade Park in Bristol. Laura Jewell MW, UK & global category product development manager for Tesco, said: "The new 1.5 litre packaging format for Finest is equivalent to two bottles, but in lighter, more compact and convenient packaging. The boxes will keep the wine fresh for six weeks after opening as well as take up less space in the fridge than two bottles. This is the first time we have used this format; we felt the size was perfect for our Finest brand."

Back in August, Nielsen's Natasha Kendall told that "the 3-litre is definitely struggling more" than its 2.25-litre rival, and suggested that the price tag was a problem, as many come in around the same price as a 70cl bottle of spirits. The average price for a 3-litre BIB was £15.83 for the year to July 19, 2014, up 3.4% on one year ago. Volume sales of three-litre BIBs have plummeted by 14.6% in the past year, while the whole BIB category has fallen by half that number.

A number of retailers, including Sainsbury's, have stopped selling 3-litre BIBs in favour of smaller options. Kendall said distribution of BIB was an issue, as the category has been in long-term decline for the last two years. "It looks to me like the grocers have been delisting due to falling rate of sale," she added.

Australian wines have 22% share of the UK bag-in-box category, followed by South Africa with 19.8% and Italy at 16.5%, says Nielsen.