This cause for concern was one of the key factors to emerge in the latest Interbrew Market Update report, released last week. The report, compiled by analysts at AC Nielsen, notes: "Most consumers appreciate why they pay more for beer in the on-trade than the take-home market. "They recognise they are paying for the total leisure experience and that the price of their pint covers a range of overheads, including staffing and the general costs of running the outlet. "Long term price deflation in the take-home market has been impacting on the delicate balance of on-trade versus take-home pricing for some time. The events of Christmas 2001, when take-home pricing hit a new low, put greater pressure on this delicate relationship by widening the pricing gap. "It is difficult to know how big an impact this had on consumer purchasing decisions during the festive season and whether it limited pub and club traffic. However, there is no doubt that many on-trade retailers will be closely monitoring take-home pricing developments this Christmas." These findings echo research done by Interbrew to better understand the pricing dynamics. This found: l the gap between the standard and premium lager sectors is narrower in the on-trade, which is surprising given that people are less aware of price in the on-trade l there was a wider price gap between the prices of standard lagers in the on-trade compared to the off-trade than there was for premium lagers. Another major challenge affecting the industry is "the imagery of beer". In the report, Stewart Gilliland, chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland, comments: "There remains an urgent need for the industry to take action to improve the way consumers relate to beer. "We have to make it more relevant to emerging consumers and women drinkers, who are turned off by beer's pint' culture." The report notes that women are drinking more and men less, but beer is not capturing their extra spending power. The report suggests: "Presenting beer in a quality outlet that's appealing to women and in a glass that's attractive to them has got to be the key objective of the industry.