15 Sep Consumer i – Prosecco
Consumer i: Prosecco
Tasted and Rated by people like you
Last year Prosecco sales overtook Champagne for the second year running, (with UK sales of £181.8 million), and it is continuing to gain popularity, often fuelled by word of mouth recommendation. Indeed, value has risen 29.5% within the last year, adding £63.3m to the category value. Made from white Prosecco (Glera) grapes from the green hills north of Venice, this light, floral, frothy drink is less complex than Champagne, making it more accessible and easy to drink. It may be manufactured differently, but it is bottled in a similar style, has all the pomp and celebratory anticipation provided by the pressurised cork and it comes at a fraction of the price. Most Proseccos are quite dry, but with a hint of sweetness. They usually range between 10.5 and 11.5% ABV – i.e. slightly lighter than sparkling wines.
Wine buffs will tell you to look out for Prosecco superiore DOCG wines and will point out that wines labelled Brut will be drier than Extra Dry while spumante wines will be particularly fizzy. But does the general consumer have any idea what to look out for? We wanted to find out, particularly as they now face a greater choice as many supermarkets are offering a range of Proseccos at differing price points, often on price promotion. Our test, with 50 Prosecco buyers across the country, was mainly focussed on wines in the £6.50-£7.50 bracket, but we included Aldi’s low priced £5.29 Belletti Dell’Italia and a Prosecco Frizzanti from Majestic to help us understand what was important to consumers when choosing this kind of special occasion fizz.
What became immediately clear was that the more delicately sparkling Frizzante was often rejected from the start. Without the ceremony of popping the cork, this screw top bottle was relegated to the status of wine and from that moment on, most felt that this was somehow less ‘special’ than other Proseccos they had tried.
Looking at all the other products on test, it is apparent that expectations are set as soon as consumers set eyes on the bottle. They wanted an impressive looking bottle that looked expensive: fit for a celebration or to give as a gift, but also fun: to kick start the weekend or to share with friends.
The cheaper priced Belletti Dell’ Italia from Aldi was our best performer. A light, refreshing fizz, at a price that encouraged regular usage, this Prosecco was given a score of 47/50, with 3 out of 4 testers keen to buy after tasting. Of the remaining products, Asda’s Fillipo Sansovino came out top, with a score of 45/50. The rating for Packaging matched the top scoring Aldi product and was a key selling point, as the simple label and stylish bottle put testers in a party mood and looked “Modern” and “Premium”. Tasting revealed a soft, undemanding Prosecco with plenty of bubbles.
The best of the rest also generated high levels of expectation before trial. Anticipation was built either by the brand (in the case of Waitrose’s NV Glera Prosecco), the label (Sainsbury’s Winemaker’s Selection) or in the case of Aldi’s Prosecco Superiore, the product name. Tesco’s Pl aza Centro Prosecco Brut was a safe bet and great value at £6.50. It achieved a middle ranking position with a score of 40/50. Familiar to many, this rather under-sold its quality, as the grey checked label was quite plain/ “boring” and looked rather too functional for a celebratory wine. The lower scoring Proseccos were perhaps less mainstream. The differences were subtle, but enough to polarise opinion given their premium positioning. For example, Lidl’s Conegliano Valdobbiadene – a Spumante – had a good level of froth and quite large bubbles (“too gassy” for some), while the Co-op Special Cuvee Brut was “dry” and “crisp”, characteristics that appealed to some but not all of our Prosecco buyers. Morrisons’ Sorso Doc was the lowest scorer of our mid-range Proseccos (33/50) and struggled from the start to distinguish itself from other brands, falling into Tesco’s trap with a rather “dull” under-stated label.
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