Although food and alcohol matching is nothing new, a recent spike in its popularity means that food manufacturers have to get over their reluctance to be seen actively promoting alcohol due to concerns over corporate social responsibility. Research* by the independent business analyst has revealed that if these firms can overcome their concerns and start emphasising the compatibility of their brands with alcohol, they will reap the rewards.
David Bird, a senior consumer analyst at Datamonitor, said: "A key driver of the trend of matching food and alcohol is a shift from on-trade to off-trade. Consumers are eating and drinking at home more. In fact, just under two thirds of consumers globally dined at home more over the last three to six months. This shift has created a more receptive audience for successfully matched food and drink."
The research has shown that the food manufactures that have the greatest opportunities are those with brands positioned to be premium or ethical, such as organic products. This is because consumers who feel educated about matching food with alcohol are the most likely to buy these sorts of food. For example, 44% of people who feel informed about food matching buy organic food and drinks regularly.
Bird continued: "Successfully partnering with alcohol could be lucrative for food brands, particularly as this move could help to set them apart from the competition. Those food brands that do partner with alcohol will find social media and smartphone apps important tools for educating consumers and growing awareness."
One of the areas of opportunity for matching food and alcohol is beer. Matching wine with food is a concept that many consumers are used to, but there are significant opportunities for food brands to capitalise on the recent popularity of premium beer brands.
*Food & Alcohol Pairing: Consumer Occasions and Marketing Opportunities
Source: © Datamonitor 2011
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