What is the future for fruit cider?

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cash for kiwis: Old Mout launches campaign to save kiwi bird
Cash for kiwis: Old Mout launches campaign to save kiwi bird

Related tags: Cider, Apple

Emma Sherwood-Smith, Heineken’s Cider Brand Director, has her sights set on a big future for fruit ciders, especially those with unique flavour profiles such as Old Mout’s variants.

Packaged fruit cider’s growth in recent years has been well documented, with CGA Strategy recording sales volumes up 6.2% for last year.

Heineken breaks packaged fruit cider down into two segments – mainstream and premium, with Old Mout sitting in the premium category.

“Premium packaged fruit cider sales have grown by 13% in volume and 14% in value as a segment,” she explains. “What makes Old Mout stand out is its adventurous origin and its exciting flavour combinations.

“The category is doing well for a couple of reasons,” Sherwood-Smith continues. “It is playing into the premium trend, and if you look at it over the past 10 to 12 years, what’s really drawn the penetration is ‘new news’, diversity and exciting flavours to try, which have all characterised the segment.”

A wealth of interesting choices for the consumer has continued to drive growth in the packaged fruit cider category, she adds. “The brands are really communicating the flavour range and quality.”

old mout

A Point of Difference

Old Mout has created a point of difference for itself in the market by developing a flavour range that plays into the consumer’s desire to experiment, as well as a need for familiarity. The four flavours in the portfolio are Strawberry & Pomegranate, Kiwi & Lime, Passionfruit & Apple and Summer Berries, all offering a fruit variant that’s familiar, with a twist.

Though packaged fruit ciders are currently in rude health and are driving the growth of the overall cider category, it is important to take a holistic view when it comes to predicting a segment’s future, explains Sherwood-Smith.

It hasn’t happened yet because Strongbow Dark Fruit is such a big player that the need for flavoured draught cider is currently being satisfied

– Emma Sherwood-Smith, Heineken

“If you think typically about how segments tend to behave, you see a growth explosion and then the big players come out with product, and then you see acquisitions of the smaller brands and then things start to flatten out,” she explains.

“Right now, because of the variety and number of brands, operators will be able to experiment and we are expecting more flavour innovation in the short term to grow that.”

A Premium Serve

However, it’s not just the products themselves that scream excitement, Sherwood-Smith continues. The fact fruit ciders lend themselves well to being served in a similar way to cocktails can help operators tap into those other consumer desires – having a visually appealing drink and to feel like you’ve got exactly what you paid for.

By serving, an Old Mout, in the right branded glassware with ice and a beautiful accompanying fruit garnish, customers feel like they are drinking something extra special because time and effort has been put in to make the drink stand out.

“Operators don’t tend to pair their fruit ciders with a garnish, so it can create more of a premium perception for customers.”

While more new and exciting flavours will inevitably appear in the segment, and consumers buy into innovation, Sherwood-Smith points out another important fact: “What’s really interesting about the segment is that about 75% of the sales are from fruit berry flavours.”

She adds: “People are quite traditional around berry and I would expect more innovation around this flavour profile to make it more interesting.”

Growth in Premium Fruit Cider on Draught

One final area of growth Sherwood-Smith predicts for the future is the rise of premium fruit cider on draught. Although the segment is already reaching taps on the bar, as premium fruit cider becomes more in demand, she predicts this will accelerate.

“The draught segment could really open up in premium flavoured cider,” she explains. “If you look at what’s happened in the mainstream flavoured cider category then you can see where premium could go.

“It hasn’t happened yet because Strongbow Dark Fruit is such a big player that the need for flavoured draught cider is currently being satisfied.”

There has been an uptick in premium apple cider on draught, especially in the cloudy segment, the cider expert explains. “On average in the UK, there is typically one type of cider on draught on the bar, unless you go somewhere like the south-west where there are more.”

Of course, Sherwood-Smith recommends there is an apple variant on the bar, but she is also excited about the possibility that a premium fruit cider could eventually sit on the bar next to a premium apple cider.

Help Hatch a Kiwi

Inspired by New Zealand’s epic landscapes, Old Mout is also giving back to nature by launching a campaign to save the country’s native wildlife and one animal in particular, the kiwi.

Rescue bid: TV presenter Michaela Strachan will host a special show dedicated to the kiwi

“The kiwi is the national icon of New Zealand, and it also represents the Old Mout brand,” explains Heineken brand director for cider Emma Sherwood-Smith.

“The kiwi is a very endangered species in New Zealand, there are only 50,000 left in the world and only one in 20 kiwi chicks that are born survive to adulthood.”

To support the kiwi’s future, Old Mout is spearheading a ‘help hatch a kiwi’ initiative that will see a third of the brand’s profits from selected pubs and supermarkets during a period of time, go to a charity to help save the endangered bird.

Live in the on-trade

Activation will go live in the on-trade to raise awareness of the campaign in the UK.

Hundreds of pubs will be provided with promotional kits including t-shirts, point-of-sale and coasters – and a 10p donation to Kiwis for kiwi for every bottle of Old Mout sold.

Customers who purchase Old Mout will also receive a game card enabling them to enter a prize draw that will give them the chance to win a trip for two to New Zealand.

In addition, former The Really Wild Show hosts Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham will host a special one-off show, called The Kiwi Wild Show, dedicated to the kiwi, funded by Old Mout, to kick start the cause.

Related topics: Cider

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