UK wine retailers are giving French Rabbit a cautious welcome, calling it a bold initiative that requires further consumer research.
The metallic eight-sided Tetra Pak ‘e-pod’ is being launched into the UK off-trade in January 2006 in one-litre and half-litre cartons, proving French wine producers are working to compete with New World brands through innovation.
But Philippa Carr, one of Asda’s wine buyers, said the retailer would want to carry out its own customer research first because of a consumer resistance to wine in Tetra Pak containers. “It’s a very bold initiative and it looks fun. We would want to get our customers’ reaction though and would also be aware of issues of inappropriate packaging in case it appealed to the underage.”
One of the first Tetra Pak wines launched in the UK was a single-serve carton by Australia’s Mudgee Valley in August 2004. Then, the wine received mixed retailer reaction. Some noted the conservative UK consumers’ reluctance to accept screwcap wines as a barrier.
But Boisset, the producer of Rabbit, said it hoped the launch would spur other producers into a more eco-friendly mindset as the product has lower shipping and recycling costs.
“We would love producers to follow us and help make the industry more eco-friendly,” said MD Jean-Charles Boisset, who said Rabbit’s ergonomic design should appeal to a wide range of wine drinkers.
Boisset said he wanted in-store sampling activity from next year for the four varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “We want to show that what is inside is just as good as that in a bottle.”
Sonya Hook