Cider has been one of the star performers in the UK alcoholic drinks landscape over the past decade, enjoying significant growth. However, 2014 was an altogether tougher year for the market as overall volumes saw a marginal decline.
At a time when beer volumes finally bounced back into growth, cider’s fortunes suddenly – and unexpectedly – look a little cloudier than just a year ago.
Scratching beneath the surface of sales figures reveals even more surprising results, with apple and pear ciders both struggling, and the category being propped up flavoured ciders.
Fruit-flavoured ciders have undoubtedly been a success and driven cider’s growth over the past decade. However, their popularity no longer seems to be contributing to incremental category growth. Additionally, there are signs that many drinkers are getting ‘flavour fatigue’ and that cider innovation is often becoming just a small variation on the fruit theme.
While these ciders can provide short-mid term sales spikes, there are a number of cautionary tales – with perhaps flavoured vodka in the US the best example – of categories which have suffered in the longer term by prioritising flavoured NPD too much.
As such, the UK cider market has now reached a crossroads which will determine its mid-longer term future. The wise path for the category to take is towards premiumisation, and the craft beer market provides numerous lessons for brands in this respect. Craft beer is currently the buzz category in the UK, largely because it is tapping into many consumers’ desire for better quality on the rarer occasions on which they drink alcohol.
Many of these lessons can also be assimilated by cider brands, helping to elevate perceptions of cider and drive the category back into growth.
For more details and booking information on next month's Cider Trends Summit visit the website.