UK: Meal occasions: Ken Hom's oriental wines (COMMENT)
Marketed as a complement to Asian food, a new range of wines by Ken Hom mirrors the high end positioning of his recently introduced Asian food line. The celebrity chef's move follows in the steps of a growing number of packaged goods companies that are seeking to assert a connection between food and drinks.
In April last year, Oriental chef Ken Hom teamed up with ethnic products supplier Westmill Foods to create a new premium brand in the pan-Asian convenience food market "positioned at the high end of taste and authenticity".
Now Hom is hoping to build upon his growing reputation in the grocery arena with the launch of a new range of wines. Designed to complement Asian food, the Ken Hom portfolio features four wines made in the French Languedoc region. These wines are produced from lesser-known grapes, which Hom insists go well with oriental flavours.
Unlike most celebrity branded products there is no photo of Hom included on the label because he wanted the wines "to stand out on their own and have integrity". The packaging merely carries his name on the neck collar and back labels.
Hom's distribution strategy should further help to assert a high end quality positioning. He has decided not to follow the traditional approach of introducing the brand though mainstream retail channels. Instead the wines are to make their debut in restaurants and oriental supermarkets during March. The hope is that this approach will add further value and status to the brand and act as a mark of distinction from the proliferation of celebrity endorsed wine brands.
Emphasising the connection between food and drinks has been a key marketing tactic in recent years. Greene King's 'Beer to Dine For' campaign is a recent example of encouraging consumers to appreciate beers like fine wines and it marks an innovative approach for beer producers.
However, wine is still regarded as the traditional meal accompaniment for most alcoholic drinks consumers and Hom's range will be competing against numerous celebrity endorsed wines. Success will depend on convincing consumers that Hom's new offerings represent the definitive choice for accompanying the increasing number of Asian meal occasions in the UK.
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