Awareness of alternative wine formats, including cans and casks is rising in this new atmosphere of pragmatism and eco-awareness in Australia. So why aren’t more people buying them?
It’s a good time to be thinking about wine packaging formats. In a wine category dominated by the ubiquitous 75cl bottle, alternative formats such as casks (wine boxes) had carved out a more niche position with Australian drinkers seeking value for money and volume. In addition, the more recent appearance of wine in cans in the market has been primarily associated with the relatively occasional on-the-go moments in consumers’ lives.
The arrival of Covid in 2020 has helped both of these formats on a journey towards the mainstream, but for different reasons. Casks have offered shoppers with restricted shopping time an easy opportunity to stock up, while in theory, cans have offered portion control and long life in the pantry or fridge. Our latest research into wine packaging formats in the Australian market shows a noticeable increase in awareness of both of these alternative packaging types amongst Australian wine consumers.
However, this increased awareness is not necessarily translating into increased purchase levels. In the case of wine in cans, awareness has grown significantly over the past three years yet the conversion to purchase rate amongst those aware of wine in cans has actually declined over the same period, meaning that growing awareness is not currently translating across to purchase at the same rate. Trade experts predict that there are opportunities for smaller formats to support increasing moves to alcohol moderation and consumer demand for single serve to increase choice of products.
Casks continue to perform well in the Australian market, with a significant increase in awareness of smaller casks since 2017. However, casks of all sizes remain primarily associated with value for money and lower quality wine – a legacy they are yet to move away from. The main barrier to purchasing alternative packaging formats is the long-standing and habitual preference for standard glass bottles, with these being even more dominant in Australia than in other comparable established markets. Smaller format bottles continue to be seen as delivering comparatively poor value for money, whilst magnums are seen as less practical and portable.
In terms of which types of consumers are leading the opportunity for alternative formats for wine in Australia, awareness of these options is significantly higher amongst older ‘Boomer’ consumers – but these are not necessarily the right audience. For wine in cans, awareness is actually significantly higher amongst 40-55 year olds rather than amongst younger Gen Z and Millennial consumers. However, despite having generally lower awareness of alternative wine packaging formats, purchase of these formats is higher amongst younger drinkers, once they become aware of the options available.
Read more about awareness, purchase and purchase consideration of wine in a can here: Growing opportunity for wine in cans across markets, with the exception of Canada