- Alcohol brands AB InBev, Constellation Wines, Bacardi and Jackson Family Wines have partnered with eMeals, a digital meal planning service, to promote alcohol recommendations as options to shoppers planning and discovering meals through the service, according to a release emailed to Grocery Dive.
- Subscribers select their meal and beverage options, and can send their choices for the week to Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, Instacart or Shipt to fulfill the order or use the list to shop inside stores.
- The alcohol companies join eMeals’ BrandBuilder program, which launched in September with Tyson Foods, Coca-Cola and Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The program claims to grow online sales for partnered food and beverage brands through recipe discovery on its 15 weekly meal plans, shoppable recipes with branded content and promotional opportunities.
While many retailers like ShopRite and Stop & Shop launched meal planning services over the last year, eMeals is looking to capitalize on growing online alcohol sales by aiming to help shoppers zero in on a particular brand, cutting out a lot of the clutter that comes with online alcohol browsing.
Digital sales of alcohol reached $2.6 billion in 2019, a 22% increase over the previous year, according to a recent Rabobank study. Sales via grocery increased 115% over the period, which is an impressive figure, but Rabobank noted that online alcohol sales are much lower than they should be thanks to outdated regulations, a lack of consumer awareness regarding options and retailers' failure to make the online shopping experience more compelling.
One way companies can boost sales, the report noted, is by offering guidance to consumers, which eMeals is trying to doing with its new alcohol pairing program. Founded in 2003, eMeals helps shoppers build a daily schedule of meals through 15 different food style plans, such as low carb, low calorie or vegetarian. Based on the selected meal choices, the eMeals app creates a grocery list that consumers can use to shop in-store, order for pickup or get delivered.
According to Rabobank, alcohol accounts for less than 1% of online sales versus between 5% and 6% of store sales. The firm said grocers could lose up to $3.7 billion in online alcohol sales over the next three years if they don’t improve merchandising and availability.
“The digital environment is critical to alcohol sales growth, both directly from e-commerce sales and indirectly from the role that online visibility plays in building brand awareness and generating demand,” Lorran Brown Cosby, vice president of digital commerce at Bacardi North America.