It’s clear that today’s shoppers may not be splashing out as much on restaurant dining, but they are prepared to trade up and pay a price premium in order to treat their friends and family.

Says Treasury Wine Estates general manager UK and Ireland Dan Townsend: “The recession has led consumers to enjoy more time in the comfort of their own homes with more premium products.”

Treasury Wine Estates, which produces the premium Wolf Blass and Rosemount wines, says it has seen a surge in the number of shoppers trading up to wines priced at £5-plus in the past year. It also reports a sizeable growth in sales of pricier sparkling wines in past months, with sales up 7.5% in 2010.

Wine and food pairs

Correctly matching food and wine can create a union of tastes that transforms a meal. 

Follow this simple advice to guide customers. 

Beef steaks and beef dishes Burgundy, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Cabernet sauvignon, Pinot noir, Zinfandel Shiraz 

Lamb and duck Beaujolais, Cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux, Merlot, Zinfandel 

Chicken Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc 
With hearty chicken stews try: Beaujolais, Pinot noir, Merlot Zinfandel

Pork and sausages Riesling, Pinot gris 
Highly seasoned pork dishes and casseroles Cabernet sauvignon, Pinot noir, Shiraz, Zinfandel 

Fish, fish dishes Chardonnay, Chablis, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio 

Cheese Beaujolais, Port ,Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Zinfandel 


Determined not to miss a trick, premium soft drinks brands have also been busy. This month will see the launch of the Shloer Sunday Social Cookbook, which will enable shoppers to upload and share recipes via an application on Shloer’s Facebook page.

But it’s not all about the big brands as a growing number of independent retailers are happily discovering.

Take Vince Maloney of Maloney’s Budgens in Ascot, Berkshire. Vince cemented his position as a staunch supporter of quality products from small producers in December, when he held his first small producer showcase attended by hundreds of shoppers. Most of the premium quality meat, fish, pâtés and cheeses were supplemented with simple yet attractive recipe suggestions and cookery demonstrations, to get shoppers’ creative juices flowing and inspire confidence.

Most popular was a recipe card for a traditional spaghetti carbonara made with quality smoked bacon and free-range eggs.

“Working with small producers is a win-win in so many ways,” asserts Vince. “Not only is it a pleasure to do business with these passionate and innovative people, but my customers love the way the products look and taste, and they are happy to pay a premium for them.”

Stephanie Rice of Rice Retail Marketing encourages other retailers to give it a go. “Working with small producers of quality artisan food by selling their products in your store is a great way to create a point of difference. By choosing a select range of premium, natural products, retailers are offering customers an alternative to dining out and to relying on the bigger supermarkets. Whether it’s a seasoned steak, freshly caught sea bass or award-winning sausages accompanied by seasonal vegetables a meal feels that little bit more special,” she says.

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