Co-op sets sights on innovation in BWS

The Co-op is introducing a number of smaller pack types for wine as part of its ongoing mission to offer its customers a broader range of formats.

The retailer is increasing its range of 18.7cl bottles, adding a single-serve wine with a PET glass that detaches from the top of the bottle and bringing  in sparkling wine in single-serve cans. 

It has also revealed plans to add a number of 50cl bottles in early 2018. 

The new additions join the wine pouches that the Co-op added to its offering earlier this year. 

BWS trading manager Simon Cairns told DRN: “We have more than doubled the range of 18.7cl bottles, and 17 new ones are going into stores right now. These will offer a different price point, so we have some more premium options going in, such as a Côtes de Provence Rosé and a pure Malbec, which has done very well in 75cl.

“The next stage for us is 50cl, which we see as a good midweek wine for two people, which should tie in well with a meal. We have a meal deal at the moment which is £6 for two people, including a fresh meal option and side dish. 

“We are looking at how to create a similar deal with the 50cl bottles.”

Cairns said that offering good wine in a 50cl format, which makes the price point comparable to some four-packs of beer, helps keep wine appealing to shoppers.

 “What is increasingly happening is that duty is rising as costs rise, and things like the bad harvests across Europe and the exchange rate are pushing prices up,” he said. 

“It means that wine becomes prohibitively expensive, so it is very difficult to actually convert any new shoppers. They go over to beer or cider, because the entry point is so much more accessible in those categories.

“Added to that is the fact that people are much more aware of food waste and wine waste, when a full 75cl bottle can seem too big for a midweek occasion.

“We have to be responsible and not strip out quality to meet a price point, so we wanted to offer credible options.”

Other plans from The Co-op next year include a focus on spirits and regional beers.

Cairns added: “We have worked with our members to create beers and a wine, and the next thing will be a gin, which will come out in November, and a vodka. We have been working with Greenall’s on that, and it will be called Irresistible Gin.

“We hope to do more with local craft brewers and I would also like to work more with the on-trade. 

“Our shops are in the middle of communities, as are pubs, and yet our range doesn’t necessarily mirror what you can find in the pub. 

“We will look at talking to craft brewers to find out what their plan is for launch. If they have a promotion in local bars, then we can ask why don’t they also work with local Co-op stores?”