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Check Out Line: Clink, clink! Wine consumption to rise

November 25, 2009

wine1Check out all the wine drinking going on.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans surveyed said they partake in wine on holidays and special occasions while at home, while another 58 percent drink wine at home with dinner on an ordinary night, according to consumer trend tracker Mintel.

The wine market has grown 20 percent from 2004 through 2009 despite the recession, but at the peak of the slowdown in 2008 it declined 3.2 percent, Mintel said. With consumers slowly feeling better about the economy, the firm expects the wine market to increase by 2.1 percent this year.

“The future of the wine market looks bright, at least for moderately priced segments,” Mintel senior food and drink analyst Sarah Theodore said in a statement. “Value wines have helped consumers rethink their perceptions about wine.”

And how does wine stack up vs beer?

Mintel said so far this year nearly half (47 percent) of survey respondents say they drink beer compared to 35 percent who drink imported and domestic wines. Champagne and sparkling wines are next at 17 percent, followed by port, sherry and dessert wines at 7 percent.

Certainly wine was on the minds of analysts and executives on Hormel’s earnings conference call on Tuesday.

Hormel, whose foods include Jennie-O turkeys, usually reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results days ahead of Thanksgiving. During Tuesday’s call, Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow asked a follow up question — well, really, he gave more of a plea.
“I’m just trying to encourage Tim Ramey to call in with a wine selection for Thanksgiving,” Moskow said, referring to a D.A. Davidson analyst, who also follows Hormel and has offered wine pairings with Hormel foods on the call in the past. 
“It’s a Thanksgiving tradition. I don’t know where Tim is today,” replied Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger.
“Don’t you guys have anything you can throw out our way? I’m more of a Diet Coke fan,” joked Moskow.
“I think just as long as you go with a Jennie-O Turkey, or a Cure 81 ham, we have that part of the meal covered,” Ettinger said.
When the call wrapped up, Hormel’s director of investor relations, Kevin Jones, offered up some pairing advice. “In response to Rob’s question, a good new Beaujolais, a Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir will go very well with a Jennie-O turkey, and either a Pinot Grigio or Riesling with the Cure 81 ham.”

Rising wine consumption goes nicely with reduced salt intake. Last week, Mintel said in its predictions for consumer packaged goods in 2010 that sodium reduction was poised to be the next big health push.

Also in the basket:

British union to meet Kraft over bid for Cadbury

Tiffany profit beats; view raised ahead of holiday

Wal-Mart has not applied for retail stores-India minister

Starbucks eyes China as next major market

Cheap and Cheerful for the Holidays (New York Times)

(Additional reporting by Jessica Wohl)

(Reuters photo)

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