The popularity of prosecco is putting pressure on supermarket supplies, with many retailers looking to stock up on cava in case they run out of the UK's favourite fizz.

Toby Magill, head of beer, wine and spirits at IRI, told the Grocer that like Champagne, prosecco is "geographically limited" and can only be produced in a small region of Italy.

“Supply is finite. Demand is growing everywhere in the world so there’s a limit on what retailers can get their hands on," he said.

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Richard Thorburn, commercial manager at wine merchant Lanchester Wines, also told the Grocer that prices might rise as supplies grew increasingly stretched. 

“This is leading to retailers and importers looking at alternatives to feed UK demand, with Spain, France and Germany suddenly looking attractive,” Mr Thorburn said.

Sales of prosecco continue to outpace those of Champagne, according to new figures from retail insight leader IRI.

Prosecco sales came to £356 million in the year to February 27, up 34 per cent on last year. Champagne sales increased just 1 per cent to £251 million, while sales in the wine sector as a whole grew just 0.4 per cent. 

IRI’s analysis is based on actual sales of products across the major supermarkets in the 52 weeks from 28 February 2015 to 27 February 2016.

Analysis of grocery sales data shows that shoppers are buying more supermarket own-brand prosecco than any individual branded product. Own label prosecco claims 12 per cent of the total market, with the most popular brand – Plaza Centro – taking just 6 per cent.

Researchers said the data shows that sales of prosecco are not being driven by the cachet any one brand brings, but rather the ability to buy a highly drinkable, celebratory tipple at a reasonable price. 

The continued demand for prosecco has led to a healthy sales increase in the overall sparkling wine category, which grew 15 per cent in the last year to £905 million.

Sales of cava, prosecco's Spanish rival, are rebounding. Cava sales increased 11 per cent in 2015, Kantar said.

Experts say prosecco's rising prices, increased demand and decreasing quality are behind cava's resurgence.

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