Following on from our recent article on the Nutritional Facts About Wine, this week we turn to look at the emergence of low calorie wine as a growing consumer demand. Is this a trend to be taken seriously? Or something unlikely to truly establish itself?
And who better to answer this for us than Tom Bell, founder of Skinny Booze – purveyors of all things alcohol and low calorie, including an ever-growing collection of low calorie red, white and rosé wine.
How did Skinny Booze first come to be? What was the impetus?
Skinny Booze was the product of training hard during the week for a local Rugby team, but then feeling a sense that all that hard work was undone as soon as we went to the pub after each game to celebrate (or commiserate). To break this cycle, I started to research the market to try and identify a lower calorie alternative. To my surprise, though, I couldn’t find any suppliers in the UK. Realising the gap in the market, I started to import alcohol with fewer calories.
So, with regards to wine, how difficult has it been to find lower calorie alternatives?
One of the main difficulties in those early days was finding lower calorie wine that wasn’t also low alcohol. This is the result of the level of alcohol being the easiest way to get rid of calories, which is due to the calorie count for alcohol being higher per gram than sugar. Thankfully, though, a growing number of producers are now challenging the belief that less calories requires less alcohol.
Nowadays, we’re seeing new producers and brands emerge all of the time. One of the most interesting new developments in the UK has been the arrival of a zero sugar wine called SlimLine Wine. Another important recent development has been the emergence of popular supermarkets stocking their own range of lower calorie wine, such as Aldi with their Featherweight Wine collection, as well as Marks & Spencers with their Sumika range.
But how about the US market? Are there many options for consumers over here?
I would argue that the US is much further down the line with all of this. I think it was 2009 that the whole Skinnygirl range of cocktails and wines first launched. Make of that company and brand what you will, but it kind of kick started the trend. Following this, I know you guys have seen Weight Watchers bring to market its Californian Cense range, which has been pretty popular. Alongside this, there’s also been the likes of Jacob Creek with their Cool Harvest collection, Brancott Estate with their Flight Song collection, and FitVine – to name but a few.
In summary, then, you believe low calorie wine as a consumer alternative is here to stay?
Absolutely. Although we’re somewhat biased, people are definitely becoming increasingly conscientious about what they’re consuming, especially when it comes to the number of calories. There are certain things, though, that people are pretty reluctant to go without – wine being one of them.
Low calorie wine (when enjoyed in moderation) answers that need for being able to enjoy yourself but not feel like you’re undoing any hard work you’ve put into moderating your diet or working out at the gym. You only have to look at the growing number of searches online for the term to see that demand is growing. People now expect a better for you option after years of being able to choose diet cola, slimline tonic, skinny latte etc etc.