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Friday, 2 September 2011

Supermarkets & Beer & Food

Are supermarkets missing a trick? Is there an opportunity to promote beer as a dinner table extra; something to put in the shopping basket along with the Maris Pipers and the topside of beef? If you listen to the beer writer and the brewer, the answer is a resounding yes. Yet, despite this, there isn’t a single major supermarket in the country that’s trying to ‘add-on-sale’ beer in this way.

When it comes to wine it’s a done deal, in-store marketing, point of sale advertising, food matches printed on bottles; we’re conditioned to treat ourselves to a bottle of something grape-based when we’re cooking that Sunday lunch or special occasion meal. Beer on the other hand, is only pushed at us when there’s a major sporting event going on and our plates are full of crisps and nuts.

Flick through the in-store magazine and you might see the occasional tasting note for a pale ale next to the new BBQ range. Or, if you’re lucky, there might be an advert for something strong and dark next to the mince pies and the Christmas cake. I’m not talking about stuff like that though, I’m talking about making an obvious and persistent connection between food products and beer. Here’s something I saw in France recently that works really well:

Without obscuring pricing or shelf edge labelling, new information - specific to that product - is made available to the shopper. He or she now knows that that wine works with fish and poultry, subconsciously it becomes a near-sensory experience that can be mentally tasted and imagined alongside that evening’s meal. How many more people will now pick up that bottle, how many will run back through the shop to grab an extra ingredient that they wouldn’t have otherwise bought? Wouldn’t the same work for beer?

For the supermarket, it’s a unique idea that increases the chance of an add-on-sale. For the beer lover, it’s a step towards changing the public perception of beer, putting beer on a par with wine and championing its consumption in a way that many drinkers won't have considered.

What do you think? Great idea or waste of time? Would something like this persuade you to pick up a beer or pair a beer with your dinner?


Bailey said...

That is a great idea, but then what are the chances of, say, Tesco getting it right. (See Mark Dredge's recent posts for a glimpse of how wrong it might go.)

Mark said...

Difficult for even TESCO to get something like this wrong!

Nick said...

I noted in Sainsburys today that they now have tasting notes and food pairings beneath each bottle of real ale. They seem to do it quite well.

Mark said...

Nick: Sounds very interesting indeed! Will make sure I go and check though out. Is is just the bigger shops or the smaller ones too?

Growling Dog Beer said...

I seem to recall seing this in sainsburys as well. If I pop in this week I'll try and get a piccy.

Leigh said...

I'd like it, and I'd like to think it'd catch on, but then we'd just end up disagreeing over what they've said anyway. But anything that gives the public a hand, I'm all for!

Scyrene said...

Perhaps one way to go is to have promoted recipes (recipe cards etc) for foods containing beer, like steak and ale pie, and to suggest a beer to go in and alongside it. And maybe to remind people that a couple of good beers is cheaper than a low grade wine.

Mark said...

That works. I think it's a slow burner rather and an instant change. Getting people to slowly consider beer in a different way ... as more than something to slam whilst watching the footy or cutting the lawn.

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