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Going below the surface of the boxed-wine debate

One argument is that some consumers equate boxed packaging with poor-quality wine. But is the problem the package or the quality of the wine to begin with?

Just how important is the package design in a category such as wine? A number of recent blog postings all point to the same conclusion. When people shop for wine, they often are enticed to buy a particular brand for the first time because they are drawn to the “cool” package design.

Getting them as repeat buyers apparently is another thing. A blog posting on makes the argument, from one person’s perspective, that boxed wines might be sending signals to shoppers that the wine inside is of inferior quality. Think about it a bit, and this argument falls flat on its face.

Boxed wines do very well in other countries—they capture 50% of the market in northern Europe—and some consumers anecdotally say that the packaging format sends signals of a hip and contemporary brand. Consumers elsewhere also love the convenience aspect of being to tap into a boxed wine, for example, when following a recipe or even when wanting to sip a single glass of wine without fear of the remainder going bad.

And look at Target. It has opted for multipacks of single-serve 250-mL Wine Cube cartons for its own house brand.

As the blog posting points, out, beer went through the same quality perception issues when aluminum cans were first introduced. Today, beer in cans, even for some higher-end brands, is now mainstream.

Perhaps the real issue here is product quality. If what’s inside the package is bad, then even the sharpest package design can’t save it.

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