A group of 25 UK retailers and importers has joined forces in an urgent bid to persuade France to change the way it promotes its wines in the UK.
The campaign, which has been called Plan B, hopes to encourage the French to take on a unified approach when it comes to marketing their wines.
The group, which consists of high profile campaigners such as Tesco, Morrisons, PLB and Bibendum, voiced its concerns in a letter to agriculture & fisheries minister Michel Barnier.
‘We are united in the belief that France needs to change the way it promotes its wine in the UK if it is to ever regain – or even stabilise – its market share,’ the letter said.
The underlying issue behind the campaign is the idea that the individual regions need to work together to fund a generic, nation-wide campaign.
Tesco’s Graham Nash highlighted the example of South Africa, where producers put national benefit ahead of personal gain.
‘In France there are disputes within regions as well as between them,’ he told Off Licence News.
‘There could be much better progress achieved from the regions working together, perhaps enabling France to stabilise and even grow its market share,’ he added.
Due to a change in European law, a country-wide advertising campaign would need to be funded by the 21 regional bodies as well France Agrimer and the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries.
However, according to the letter sent to Barnier, the regional bodies refuse to cooperate.
‘The regions must know that, while on the French market they are rivals, in the UK their strength lies in them being seen as part of a greater France,’ it said.
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Written by Suzannah Ramsdale