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Flavoured Ciders Demand partly cover Demand for Apple Cider in the United Kingdom: Ken Research

Posted on 29 March 2017 by KenResearch Food and Beverage,

Ken research has announced latest edition report titled, "United Kingdom Cider Market Insights Report 2016". The report evaluates the current emerging trends and future growth opportunities in the UK cider market to support various researchers' brand development and marketing initiatives. It provides detailed account of the performance of brands and brewers to develop a competitive advantage.

Cider is popular in the United Kingdom, especially in the West Country, and widely available. The UK has the world's highest per capita consumption, as well as principal cider-producing companies.  There are various flavours of ciders available.

There are two broad main traditions in cider production in the UK - the West Country tradition and the eastern Kent and East Anglia tradition. The former are made using a much higher percentage of true cider apples and so are richer in tannins and sharper in flavour. Kent and East Anglia ciders tend to use a higher percentage of culinary and dessert fruit; they tend to be clearer, more vinous and lighter in body and flavour.

  • At one end of the scale are the traditional, smallfarm-produced varieties. These are non-carbonated and usually cloudy orange in appearance. Britain's West Country contains many of these farms, which have an abundance of ancient varieties of specialist cider-apples. Production is often on such a small scale, the product being sold only at the site of manufacture or in local pubs and shops.
  • At the other end of the scale are the factories mass-producing brands such as Strongbow and Blackthorn. Mass-produced cider, such as that produced by Bulmers, is likely to be pasteurised and force-carbonated. The colour is likely to be golden yellow with a clear appearance from the filtration. White ciders are almost colourless in appearance.

Roughly, two-fifths of the global cider market is consumed in the UK and Ireland with close to half of UK adults regularly drinking cider. Cider consumption showed significant growth in UK markets as a result of innovations in cider. This is especially so when one considers that cider’s appeal is equally strong to both males and females with cider appearing to be the most preferred drink in the 18-24 year-old consumer segment in the UK market and the category is also achieving some degree of success in moving cider away from ‘seasonality’.

Cider has been one of the best-performing drinks categories over the past decade. While some apple cider brands have enjoyed a successful few years, much of this growth was – and continues to be – driven by fruit ciders such as Kopparberg and Rekorderlig. However, the past two years have been sobering for the category. A dip in volume sales in 2014 was followed up by a larger decline in 2015, while values fell into decline for the first time in over a decade last year.

Cider penetration remains high. However, cider continues to lack session ability and it remains a much smaller market than beer. The majority of NPD (New Product Development) continues to focus on flavoured variants, taking the category further away from its traditional roots. Cider sales are also likely to have been hampered by the market not effectively leveraging the ‘craft’ trend which has served beer so well in recent years.

All ciders are included within this report: low/no-alcohol to super-strength; draught and packaged cider; unflavoured and flavoured ciders; still and sparkling ciders. Both on- and off-trade sales are included in the UK market size. Perry and pear cider are both included in this report. Whilst it is recognised that perry refers to a drink made using fermented pear juice, this term is used to describe light perries that are sold as wine-style drinks (eg Lambrini). Perries that are sold alongside ciders are referred to, for the purposes of this report, as pear cider.

Flavoured cider refers to drinks marketed as ciders that contain flavourings or fruit other than pear or apple. Examples include Kopparberg Mixed Fruit and Brothers Strawberry and Mixed Pear Cider, among others.

Reasons for the observed trends

The UK cider market declined in 2015, with cool damp summer conditions contrasting with the previous year, where there was growth for the industry. Cool climate gave way for higher demand and thus expanding this industry manifolds. Sales were also hit by the lack of a global sporting event on the scale of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. England and Wales hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the positive impact of which caught many in the industry by surprise, though even this could not nudge the industry into growth. The March 2015 budget was widely welcomed by the alcoholic drinks industry due to favourable tax cuts and freezes.

The leading players have all invested heavily in the portfolios over the last 12 months. The change to Scottish Drink Driving regulations at the end of 2014 hit the Scottish market. Product innovation has started to address consumers' widening dietary requirements through products with reduced attributes. There was a double-digit decline for the discount segment in 2015.

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Ken Research
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications