COFCO adjusts fine wine message to target ‘mass consumers’ at China Food and Drinks Fair

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China’s COFCO group has said it will offer ‘big name’ imported wines at lower prices at major trade fair in Chengdu, so as to ‘reach out to the mass consumers’ amid a ‘period of market adjustment’.

Image: LI Shiyi (middle) and producers at the launch ceremony © COFCO

The state-owned food and drinks giant said that it was bringing over 100 ‘accessible, reliable and good value’ wines from nearly 20 international producers to the China (Chengdu) Food and Drinks Fair (CFDF), which takes place this week.

As the impact of the austerity policy remains powerful in the high end market, Chinese importers are increasingly seeking a presence in the mid to lower end market. The imported wine division of COFCO is no exception.

In an effort to ‘reach out’ to mass consumers, for the CFDF, ‘we have chosen many wines at a price range between 80-200RMB (8-20 pounds sterling) from producers around the world for the consumers to choose from,’ Li Shiyi, general manager of COFCO's Imported Wine Business department, told DecanterChina.com.

Since its establishment in early 2014, the department has signed up distribution deals with various international producers to enrich its ‘Ming Zhuang Hui (Grand Cru Collections)’ range.

The line-up currently includes wines from Bordeaux’s Chateau Kirwan and the Jean-Pierre Moueix group, Chile’s Concha y Toro, Greece-based Boutari and McGuigan Wines of Australian Vintage.

These ‘big-names’ were chosen for the range ‘because the quality (of their wines) has been tested repeatedly by the international market, and the fact that they are widely known to consumers,’ said COFCO. However, the company added, the range has an emphasis on the more ‘affordable’ wines from these renowned producers.

It will be the first time for the ‘Ming Zhuang Hui’ range to be presented at the CFDF, said COFCO.

‘Personally I believe that 2015 to 2016 will be a period of market adjustments, in which wine business owners are having a difficult time,’ said Li. ‘However, as more Chinese people start to or get used to drinking wines in the next few years, the market is likely to regain its full speed.’

Hosted annually in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, the Spring version of the China Food and Drinks Fair is widely recognised as the largest alcohol product trade fair in China, featuring exhibitions and symposiums hosted by the major players in the food and beverage industry in China. This year the fair takes place on 26th to 28th of March.

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