Cider had a tough summer in 2019, dropping 7.6% in volume compared to summer 2018 which was up 8.1%, according to Bolton.
“This summer just wasn’t as good, we didn’t have the football tournament and the weather was a bit dreary," he explained.
“Despite over a quarter of consumers drinking cider, we know we are losing consumers in the category.”
How to beat the threat
The category saw moving annual total (MAT) decline for the first time in over four years – down 1.5%.
He continued: “Categories such as gin are threatening to take away the consumer.
“Gin is in 40% value growth and has a real appeal to most consumers and fruit drinkers."
Fruit cider and pink gin consumers are demographically aligned, both being majority female and earning more than the average GB consumer, he continued.
“It’s a category that can recreate some of those serves, like pin gin and lemonade.
“But, we are seeing innovation within the category like with cider gin to help retain those consumers.”
How to drive cider forward
According to CGA analysis, two-thirds of consumers proactively try to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“Thirty-two percent of consumers said they bought a no or low product in the last 6 months, with 1 in 10 of those drinkers being teetotal.
“There is an opportunity for cider to hitch on the back of this trend and give our consumers a no or low option to drive the trend.”
Fruit cider has helped the category stay in growth, making up 40% of the category, however.
Bolton continued: “Draught fruit cider is still a trend but were now looking at what’s coming next and what’s going to drive the category forward.”
Range is important
Two-thirds of cider consumers also like to experiment and try new different flavours, according to CGA's findings.
They are, in fact, more likely to be experimental with their drink choices than the average consumer, making them a great target market for innovative products.
Bolton added: “26% of consumers drink fruit cider and some of those are completely new entries into the category who wouldn’t have drunk cider before.”
The cider category introduced 122 new products over the past year - comprising 55% apple products, 39% fruit, and 7% pear.
“We know how important range is and driving people into outlet, we know that 3 in 4 consumers consider the range of ciders as to where to visit.”
On-trade vs off-trade
Now, 58% of outlets have more than one tap on cider – Bolton said this has a lot to do with fruit cider now being on draught.
What's more, it looks like on-trade cider sales are beginning to compete with the off-trade, making up 18.8% share of the space behind the bar, but only holding 12.4% share of the space in the fridge.
“It’s about shouting that to the consumer and making them aware of it," Bolton continued.