Carlsberg targets female shoppers

19 December 2012

COPENHAGEN: Carlsberg, the brewing giant, is trying to attract greater numbers of female customers by creating bespoke drinks targeted specifically at this audience.

According to Carlsberg's figures, men still account for 80% of lager purchases, meaning a large and essentially untapped opportunity remains among women.

"We can and we must come up with more products that are appealing to females," Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, Carlsberg Group's chief executive, told Fast Company.

As such, Carlsberg has made "female drinks" a key objective internally, and hired women as senior executives to research, develop and build marketing campaigns for this new breed of "brewed drinks".

The key to encouraging purchases by female customers, Carlsberg believes, are providing a less bitter flavour, avoiding a feeling of bloating, and reducing the aftertaste of malt or hops.

Rasmussen gave the example of the personal care sector, which used to be exclusively focused on women, but changing tastes and attitudes have since stimulated a widespread shift in habits.

"Now, when you go into a supermarket, the number of products for male personal care is enormous and a fast-growing category," he said.

Various brewers have targeted women before, albeit with mixed results. Coors, for example, introduced Zima, a clear, carbonated, malt-based drink, in the early 1990s, but ended production in 2008.

Molson Coors rolled out BitterSweet in 2009 in a bid to "remove the gender imbalance" in the beer market, as females yielded around 17% of its past sales. Carlsberg is similarly determined.

"Defining the category takes time and you often have to be patient with new innovations," added Rasmussen when speaking to KPMG. "We are focused on doing more innovation to make this category more attractive and to get more consumers to engage."

One line recently launched by Carlsberg is Eve, a light, fruity carbonated drink which is low in calories and alcohol, and now on sale in Switzerland and Russia.

BEO, available in Denmark in Sweden, also contains lower levels of alcohol and uses natural ingredients, while Copenhagen beer, sold in the Nordic markets, has a clear and "trendy" bottle, although the flavour needs "optimisation", Rasmussen added.

Data sourced from Fast Company/KPMG; additional content by Warc staff