Titled The Changing Demands of New Generation Cider Drinkers, the report identified key trends impacting the category, which the brewer said had shown “resilience” over the past 12-months.
According to data from CGA, cited in the report, cider was the fastest growing category within the on-trade, hitting 8.6% in value sales growth, amounting to £1.9bn in value sales and 2.5 hectolitres within the channel each year.
Though choice was found to be of particular importance to younger cider drinks, such as millennials and Gen Z, with the category becoming increasingly “relevant” to a younger wave of drinks that are more regularly visiting the on-trade.
Heineken UK cider category development manager Jack Wignall said: “Our latest Cider Report demonstrates that there’s so much more for operators to go after within the cider category.
“As we enter the darker winter months, there’s real opportunity to get creative and have fun with new cider serves and marketing to boost appeal and trial.
“Our latest cider report revealed 83% of cider drinkers would be open to the idea of drinking cider throughout the winter.
“It’s therefore worth considering rotating in some ‘wintery’ flavours, darker berry-infused variants and mulled cider options this festive season, to grab the attention of cider enthusiasts who are renowned for their category loyalty.
“Whilst cider traditionally invokes images of hot summer days, it absolutely continues to play an important role during the colder months.”
However, the report stated cider had not preimmunised at the same rate as other drinks categories, such as beer or spirits, but recent innovation in the category had broadened choice and trade-up options on draught and in the fridge.
It added premium cider had grown quickly and was now worth 42% of all cider sales, according to figures from OPM, helping reinvigorate drinker excitement and allowing operators to maximise cider revenue.
Premium and exotic flavours in particular have driven interest and growth among 18–34-year-old drinkers, with almost half (48%) saying they would purchase flavoured cider rather than apple because they like being able to switch between flavours.
In addition, No & Low Alcohol remained the fastest-growing cider segment for the second year in a row, also primarily driven by preferences of younger consumers.
Moreover, the availability of an alcohol-free cider option would encourage purchase for more than a fifth of 18–34-year-olds across both apple and flavoured.
Overall category wise, apple has continued to hold the top spot as the preferred cider choice, with 58.4% value sales, and remains the firm favourite for more mature cider drinkers who typically revert to classic or mainstream apple options, as featured in the report.
Wignall added: “We hope this year’s report proves helpful and inspirational for operators looking to up their cider game over the coming months.
“In summary, cider is continuing to see remarkable evolution and is maintaining a widespread appeal across a diverse range of drinking occasions.”