Fruit keeps driving cider sales

Merrydown range

A new report highlights how fruit cider is set to account for almost half of all sales – and low and no alcohol variants are gaining ‘credibility and acceptance’.

Once the darling of the alcoholic drinks category, cider’s stellar growth stalled some time back but it still presents a huge and very significant opportunity for local retailers, as highlighted in a new Cider Report from Westons Cider.

According to the report, the category is in robust health overall with almost half of households (45.5%) buying cider, and sales up by +3.5% in value to £2.98bn in the last year [IRI]. Some of the most important trends from the report are highlighted below:

Fruit here to stay

The latest data from CGA Strategy shows that fruit cider continues to bring more consumers into the cider category, including women, who make up 60% of fruit cider drinkers compared with 47% of all cider drinkers. Fruit cider is also bringing younger consumers into the category, with half of fruit cider drinkers aged 18–34 compared with 36% of all cider drinkers.

“Fruit cider has grown by 338% in the last 12 years to represent 27% of the overall category across the on and off trade in 2017,” said Matthew Langley, Insight and Innovation Manager at Westons Cider, “so we are predicting that it will account for almost half of all cider sales by 2023 if current growth continues at the same rate.”

The health agenda

The report highlights an opportunity for retailers to tap into a growing trend for health and wellness. “Low and no alcohol products are rising in credibility and acceptance,” said Langley, “and are now seen by consumers as a positive discovery choice based on taste, flavour and experience rather than just having to choose something when ‘you’re not drinking’.”

Changing shoppers

With sales of ‘crafted’ ciders up by +22% (led by single glass bottle brands), premiumisation and a more adventurous consumer are the strongest drivers in an off-trade cider category that is now worth £1.12bn and growing by +5.3% (value). “Despite strong gains in all segments of the market apart from value white and pear cider, our report clearly shows that the biggest category growth lies in crafted cider,” explained Langley, “so retailers should really bear this in mind when making their stocking decisions.”

Can do attitude

“Canned fruit cider has seen year on year value growth of +31.8% whereas bottled fruit cider has declined, so retailers should also bear this in mind when deciding which brands and formats to stock. The demand for cans is also being seen across the wider category, to account for 48% of all cider sales and up by +13.3% year on year, largely at the expense of larger plastic bottle offerings, sales of which are down by -11.3% to account for just 15% of all sales.”

Key trends

Westons Cider Report notes the following:

  • Fruit ciders to account for almost half of sales within five years
  • Low/no alcohol drinks ‘rising in credibility and acceptance’
  • The face of the off-trade cider shopper is changing
  • Cans in growth

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