COVID-19 Impact on the Wine Industry
Like most industries throughout the world, the wine industry has experienced significant disruptions in the wake of COVID-19.
As consumers limit interactions and spend more time at home, there’s been huge spikes in demand for wholesale wine. Consumers are also spending more per bottle than before COVID.
This wasn’t always the case for the wine industry. In fact, pre-covid the UK Wine Industry was struggling and was facing a 5-year decline in sales. This was largely due to factors such as the younger generation drinking far less. In addition, other alcoholic beverage categories were growing and becoming more dominant competitors for wine.
However, due to the pandemic, this has changed the situation in ways nobody could have imagined. But the question is, will this upward trend in wine drinking continue?
In this blog article we look at some of the key trends impacting the wine industry in 2021 and how they could influence the category going forward.
Low and Non-Alcoholic Wine
The low and non-alcoholic beverages trend is expanding and improving. In 2020, low-and-no alcoholic spirits soared by 32.7%, with beer and cider making up the largest share of sales. By 2024, it’s predicated that sales of low and non-alcoholic beverages will jump by a further 31%.
However, while low and non-alcoholic beer and other beverages are proving popular with many consumers, it’s a different story for wine. In fact, low and non-alcoholic wine have struggled to gain traction, only making up a small proportion of sales. This is due to challenges surrounding consumers accepting non-alcoholic wine as well as difficulties with production and flavour.
Despite the challenges, there is still a massive untapped potential for the low and non-alcoholic wine sector. Only time will tell whether it will reach the heights that low-alcoholic beer and spirits have shown.
The Importance of Sustainability
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the importance of sustainability has been heightened in the minds of consumers. Now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to environmental issues such as climate change and sustainability issues such as water consumption.
With environmental concerns and sustainability increasingly top of mind for consumers, producing wine in a sustainable way has become a must for wine processors and producers.
So, it’s expected that we’ll see even more wine manufacturers making great strides to reduce their environmental impact by reducing waste, lowering water usage and improving the efficiency of their operations in 2021 and beyond.
Health and Wellness
In tandem with the increasing focus on environmental concerns, the pandemic has accelerated the trend towards health, wellness, natural ingredients, authenticity, and proximity according to wine experts.
Alongside sustainability, these issues have acted as key drivers of the natural, vegan-friendly, organic, and biodynamic wine movement.
While these types of wines only represent a small fraction of global wine consumption, there is still huge potential for the market in the future.
In fact, organic wine is the trending product in the beverage industry, especially in wine drinking countries such as France, Italy, and Australia.
Consumers are becoming more aware of niche product categories such as natural and organic in the food and beverage industry. Therefore, this is a key driving factor which is expected to fuel the global wine market growth over the next few years.
New Formats of Wine
Another key trend shaping the wine industry is the emergence of different wine formats – cans, bag-in-a-box, and other non-glass formats. This trend has largely accelerated due to changes in shopping and drinking patterns due to the global pandemic.
Even if the pandemic had never occurred, it is likely that manufacturers of canned wine would have celebrated success in 2020. This is due to new formats such as cans gaining wider acceptance in recent years. This trend has been increasingly driven by a significant cultural shift, as consumers, with Millennials particularly standing out as keen adopters of different wine formats that offer convenience.
The recent lockdowns restrictions throughout the globe appear to have revitalised the bag-in-box sector. Therefore, when pubs, restaurants, and socialising return to full capabilities, it is likely that demand for these formats will decrease. However, it’s a different story for canned formats which offer immense potential. Generation Z, alongside Millennials, are even jumping on the bandwagon, with members who have reached legal drinking age, twice as likely to buy canned wine once they know it exists.
The Shift Towards Ecommerce
The shift towards ecommerce is another key trend dominating the wine industry. Although the trend of buying wine online was becoming more prevalent pre covid, ecommerce wine experienced a jolt in sales last year.
Due to lockdowns around the world, along with the closure of many establishments and limitations on physical shopping, this has prompted many consumers who would not have previously considered buying their wine online in normal circumstances to try it for the first time. And it has seen huge success! In fact, a wine company saw an 80% rise in sales in the first two months of lockdown last year.
However, there remains a big question about the future of wine e-commerce: when things return to normal and more pubs, restaurants and other establishments open, will consumers continue to use ecommerce channels to purchase their wine, or will they revert to traditional methods?
With the high levels of recruitment and investment in ecommerce over the past year, buying wine online seems to be another pandemic-era shift that will probably stick around.
Sustainable Technologies such as “Pigging”
With sustainability high on the agenda for many wine companies, we expect to see more companies incorporating hygienic product recovery (pigging) into their wine processing and production in 2021 and beyond.
Pigging is in wide use in the wine industry. And its use is increasing. The technology recovers liquid residual product from process pipelines, instead of wasting it.
Hygienic pipeline product recovery systems are an incredibly effective way for wine manufacturers to increase yields, cut waste, and improve the efficiency of their operations. Pigging systems also significantly reduce water consumption, which is particularly pertinent because wine is often produced in areas where droughts are an issue and water can be in short supply.
Additionally, HPS custom pigging systems can also help prevent dissolved oxygen (DO) and aeration problems during wine production.
So because pigging helps wine companies save so much waste, water, chemicals as well as transport and disposal costs, it drastically improves their environmental sustainability as well as improving efficiency, production capacity, profits and the bottom line.
So, for any winery seeking to improve their sustainability credentials, a pigging system is the answer.
Find Out More
HPS Product Recovery Solutions are the leading experts in liquid product recovery (pigging) and liquid transfer solutions for wine processors and manufacturers.
As well as wines, our high-performance, proven solutions are used with other beverages, food, confectionery, personal care products, household liquids, pet food, paints, chemicals and much more. They deliver a remarkable return on investment (ROI) with fast payback.
If you are interested in improving your processes through hygienic (sanitary) pigging technology, then please get in touch with the process system experts: