Perhaps trying to mimic the success of the Yellow Tail brand, this new wine segment has become increasingly important. Of the 438 new Table Wine brands with sustained consumer sales introduced in the past three years, 77 - or 18 percent - featured a "critter" on the label. Combined with existing critter labels, sales of critter-branded wine have reached more than $600 million.
"Critter-labeled wines are on the rise, quickly gaining share in the table wine category," said Danny Brager, vice president of ACNielsen's Beverage Alcohol team. "The sales generated by new brands featuring a critter outperform other new table wines by more than two to one."
The label is just one aspect of a critter brand's image, however. In comparison to other table wines, critter-labeled wines tend to be priced at a slight premium compared to the overall bottled Table Wine category, but tend to be sold more on promotion, and in particular displays, compared to the category average.
It is important to keep in mind that many factors contribute to the overall success of wine, such as price, shelf space, quality, retail and consumer support.
"While placing a critter on a label doesn't guarantee success, it is important that wine makers realize that there is a segment of consumers who don't want to have to take wine too seriously," said Brager. "Not only are they willing to have fun with wine, they may just feel 'good' about an animal label presentation."
The ACNielsen study looked at three consecutive annual periods of Food channel data, with 2005 data ending December 17, 2005. The study included table wine brands introduced since January 2003 with sustained consumer sales - sales greater than $20,000 in 2005.
ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world's leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns.
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