UK consumer confidence in wine is becoming a more pressing concern, as commodity costs continue to rise, according to industry chiefs speaking at the London International Wine Fair yesterday (21 May).

"We are experiencing global cost increases in grapes, glass, transport, energy and fuel. Even tin and aluminium is going up at a rate never seen before," said Jeremy Beadles of the Wine Spirit Trade Association.

Following research carried out by Wine Intelligence, figures reveal that, although wine is not perceived by UK consumers to be as expensive as fresh fish, coffee and cheese, it is more expensive than fresh vegetables, confectionary, beer, rice and pasta.

"I feel confident that wine isn't expensive," said Brian Howard of Wine Intelligence. "But around 40% of those who shop for wine in Threshers believe wine is expensive or very expensive, yet round 17% of those who shop for wine in Morrisons believe wine is inexpensive. So it really is a consumer perception."

In the on trade, wine is seen as less expensive than some of the other beverage categories, yet it has moved up in price by a slightly greater extent than other beverage categories.

"If our budgets tighten and consumers have to spend less on three categories, wine is not the first to go," added Howard. "Sweets and chocolates are seen as something wine drinkers would sacrifice first."

The research also found that regular wine drinkers identify a possible 45-65% ceiling above the typical spend on wine from GBP4.64 (US$9.12) to GBP6.81.