Friday, September 14, 2007

The Friday Fishwrap

Week-ending news, info and ideas...all wrapped up for you
Starbucks Goes Local in the Middle-East
In celebration of the holy month of Ramadan, Starbucks has created a Date Frappucino coffee beverage for its stores located in the Middle East. The new drink combines date juice--which is the favorite Arab festive fruit--with Starbucks coffee. The culturally-appropriate drink also includes a blend of milk and ice and a topping of rich cream with a fresh date drizzle.
The international coffee purveyor also has created a line of localized fresh pastries to go with the Date Frappucino drink. These pastries use ingredients which are favorites in the region and eaten with increased frequency during the holy month of Ramadon. The new pastries include a pistachio date cake and the "Almond & Date Delight", which is a cake made of Almond crust, stuffed with date puree, and topped with powdered sugar.
Starbucks also is using the holy month of Ramadan to introduce a line of traditional Arab coffees in its Middle East stores. These new local varieties include Arabian Mocha Timor, which is a blend of Arabian Mocha Sanani and East Timor coffees, and Arabian Mocha Java, a blend designed to complement chocolate, orange and cranberry flavors which are popular food flavors in the Middle East.
"Our delicious new beverage is the first culturally localized beverage to be created for the Middle East," says Antoun Abou Jaoude, marketing manager for Starbucks Middle East. "We are committed to surprising and delighting our customers through innovative products. The new Date Frappucino reflects a beverage that has been created for the first time specifically for our Middle East customers and we hope it is enjoyed throughout Ramadan."

More Beverage Industry News

In the U.S. the market for bottled water and "new age" beverages continues to boom. One of the major players in the market is Glaceau Brands, maker of the trendy, super-popular Glaceau Vitaminwater line. Beverage giant Coca Cola Co. recently bought Glaceau in June for the grand sum of $4.1 billion.

Prior to the Coca Cola purchase small, aggressive independent beverage distribution companies helped make Vitaminwater the popular beverage it has become. With support from Glaceau these independent distributors used guerilla marketing techniques and aggressive street promotions to gain distribution for the line and to garner repeat sales.
Coca Cola has plans to grow sales of all the Glaceau brands, including Vitaminwater, by channeling about 65% of the brands' estimated sales volume into its massive distribution network of bottlers who distribute Coca Cola-owned beverages across the U.S.

This change has many of these independent beverage distributors up in arms and they are fighting back. One of these distributors, B&E Juices, Inc., has filed a lawsuit against Coca Cola. Other distributors may join in. Today's Wall Street Journal has an article on Coca Cola's plans for the Glaceau brands as well as a discussion on the independent distributor backlash against the beverage giant's distribution plans for Vitaminwater and other Glaceau lines. You can read the full story here.

French Wine Industry in a Tizzy

Speaking of beverages and cultural traditions, The French wine industry has itself in quite a tizzy over the fact that young French men and woman are drinking far less wine than their elders as they turn more to beer and spirits. The industry also is worried about its wine tradition as an increasing amount of wine imports from the U.S., Australia and Chile eat into their wine sales.

Wine in France is much more than one of many beverage choices as is the case in most other places in the world. In France wine is a national and cultural tradition. For most Frenchman and woman of a certain age the terms France and wine are nearly synonymous. The French wine industry also is firmly embedded in the country's economy. France is Europe's largest wine maker, producing about 1.45 billion gallons of the grape beverage annually.

France is Europe's leader in wine consumption as well, according to the European Union Agricultural Statistics bureau. However that is changing--and what is worrying the industry. Between 1995 and 2005 annual French wine consumption fell form 16 gallons per-person per-year to 14.5 gallons, according to France's national agricultural trade organization Viniflhor.

The French wine industry is attempting to do a number of things to stem this drop in consumption as well as keep French wine drinkers from buying the U.S., Australian and other imports, which are gaining in popularity. Among the French wine industry efforts include new packaging ideas such as putting wine in aseptic sippy-type cartons and plastic bottles, reaching out to young people at bars and cafes with wine promotions, and other innovations and marketing techniques. This recent article from the Wall Street Journal talks about the new packaging ideas--like the Sippy Boxes--that French wine makers are reluctantly using to get back wine drinkers, especially young ones, and keep their domestic industry strong.
Promotions: September California Wine Month

Speaking of wine, the California Wine industry has designated this month as California Wine Month. California Wine Month is sponsored by the Wine Institute, an industry trade organization, and is endorsed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has officially proclaimed September California Wine Month. Read the Governor's official Wine Month proclamation here.
The California wine industry has partnered with numerous state wineries, retailers, restaurants and farmers' markets to conduct a multitude of events and promotions throughout September centered around wine and food. September is wine grape harvest month for California's over 2000 wineries so the celebration and promotion ties-in well seasonally. Wineries are holding special events and food and wine tastings in all of the state's many wine regions. You can find a listing of many of those events here.
California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world and produces 90% of all U.S. wine. According to the Wine Institute two out of every three bottles of wine consumed in the U.S. are produced in California. The California wine industry also is a huge tourist magnet for the state. Each year 20 million tourists visits the state's various wine regions.

The promotional part of the celebration isn't exclusive to California. Retailers and restaurants all over the country are conducting California Wine Month promotions. For example, the 5-unit Legal Sea Foods restaurant chain in the Washington D.C area is featuring wines from a number of California wineries that produce wines grown using sustainable and green farming and production methods. The promotions also are international. The upscale Trader Vic's restaurant chain is featuring a California Wine Month promotion at 15 of its restaurants in the U.S. and overseas at units in London, Hamburg, Germany, Tokyo and Shanghai, China.

Supermarket retailers are playing a major part in the wine month celebration and promotion. For example Safeway Stores, Inc. is celebrating and promoting California wines in all of its over 500 Safeway, Vons and Pavilions banner stores in the state as well as in its stores located in 21 other states. Safeway Stores is featuring in-store California wine displays, ads for California wines in its weekly advertising circular, reduced prices and other promotions all month.

Costco Wholesale also is part of the wine month promotion. The club retailer is offering discounts on California wines in special displays in many of its Warehouse stores throughout the U.S. Another retailer, Beverages and More, a chain of discount beverage and specialty foods stores, is promoting numerous California wines in all its stores and offering key price discounts all month on a selection of California-produced wines.
Numerous other chain and independent supermarkets, liquor stores and other retailers nationally are conducting California wine promotions, tastings and other programs around the September California Wine Month theme this month.
Want a California Wine Month Tasting Mat? You can download one for free here and do your own professional tasting of California wines at home.

More Friday Wrap to come...

No comments: