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The Wine Group On Franzia And The Future Of Boxed Wine

October 28, 2021

According to Impact Databank, Franzia is the largest wine brand by volume both in the U.S. and globally, with U.S. depletions up 7.6% to 24 million cases last year. SND recently caught up with Collin Cooney, marketing director at Franzia owner The Wine Group, to get an update on current progress and discuss where the larger boxed wine category is headed in the future.

SND: Boxed wine got a boost from the off-premise surge at retail last year. How is the category faring this year from a big picture perspective?

Cooney: The 5-liter and 3-liter box continue to be the dominant formats in the boxed wine segment, with the 3-liter size continuing its multi-year growth trajectory. The total boxed wine segment is roughly flat (up 1%) over the past 52 weeks, per Nielsen, as it cycles the heavy pantry loading that took place at the outset of the pandemic last year. Convenience continues to be a feature that consumers value, as corrugated 500-ml. Tetra Paks have gained steam, increasing volume 12% in the past 52 weeks.

SND: How do consumers of boxed wines differ from those of bottled wines? Are younger people more open to the boxed category?

Cooney: Boxed wine consumers have unique and attractive shopping habits—they’re more loyal, have a higher share of repeat rates and enjoy more frequent trips than traditional bottle consumers. That makes them extremely valuable to both suppliers and retailers. As brands, prices and sizes have expanded over the past decade, the boxed format has become more widely accepted as people realize the quality, value, and environmental advantages of boxed wines versus the traditional bottle format.

SND: What’s the latest on the Franzia brand itself?

Cooney: Franzia has long been a gateway into the wine category. To continue meeting the evolving needs of entry-level consumers around sessionability and refreshment, we recently launched a new sub-line of Franzia Refreshers. It’s a 3-liter box lineup that delivers single varietal wines blended with all-natural fruit flavors at 6.5% alcohol and 75 calories per 5-ounce serving. We have four types available—Peach Moscato, Tropical Pinot Grigio, Strawberry Rosé, and Wild Berry Moscato, each at an SRP of $14. (Editor’s Note: Impact Databank projects Franzia Refreshers to be the largest brand in the fast-growing “better for you” wine category by year-end.) We’re also introducing a new generation of consumers to our original Franzia lineup with an integration into the music video remix of this summer’s hottest song, “Fancy Like” with Walker Hayes and Kesha. Franzia continues to make friends, or “Franz,” for life with our ongoing national ad campaign on digital and social channels. We’re also celebrating brand loyalists with the Franzia merch store, where you can find anything from a wine-dispensing backpack to our Halloween box costumes.

SND: What are you seeing in terms of pricing for boxed wines overall? Is premiumization occurring?

Cooney: Over the past decade, the growth of 3-liter boxed wine has brought an expansion into higher priced offerings. But while several brands have tried to cross the $20 threshold, that still seems to be a barrier. Expansion is a more appropriate term rather than premiumization, because value offerings within this space are still a critical solution for many box wine consumers. There’s a slew of brands in the boxed format fighting for shelf space.

SND: How do you expect the boxed segment to evolve from here?

Cooney: It’s still in the early stages of consumer adoption, so significant growth opportunities lie ahead—both through traditional varietals and innovation that capitalizes on emerging consumer trends. At Franzia, we’ve been at the forefront of meeting these needs through innovation, while also continuing to introduce consumers to the brand through our national “Franzship” campaign.

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