Following several years of strong growth, 2014 was a far more challenging year for the cider market. A surprising 1% dip in volumes ended a sustained period of growth when cider’s penetration in the UK has risen significantly. Over half (57%) of Brits reported to drink cider in the 12 months to October 2014 and while apple is the most popular variant and dominates sales, it saw a 1% dip in values in off-trade values last year. Pear is faring even worse, with off-trade values declining by more than a quarter, with fruit-flavoured ciders appearing to be picking up much of this business.

2013_Mintel_hi-resValue sales reached an estimated £3.05 billion in 2014, but are expected to regain momentum and reach £3.74 billion by 2019.

Cider’s muted 2014 performance is also likely to be the result of a rejuvenated beer category which saw volumes bounce back into growth for the first time since the 2008/09 onset of the economic recession. Despite another hot summer, cider only saw limited benefit as the increasingly innovative beer market also saw an uplift from the football World Cup.

Much of the innovation in the cider market has been more predictable, with a slew of new flavours adding little incremental growth to the category. Developing a more dynamic craft segment as well as giving greater emphasis to ingredient quality and heritage are two possible ways for brands to drive the cider market back into growth in 2015 and beyond.

Exclusive consumer research shows how glass bottles continue to be significantly more popular than cans, with 500ml emerging as the most popular size for both formats. Despite apple cider sales stagnating in 2014, a higher share of cider drinkers still prefer apple ciders over fruit-flavoured ones. Unsurprisingly, a high share prefer ciders with high fruit/juice content to low, although there is likely to be widespread uncertainty around the contents of many ciders as this information is rarely stated on packaging.

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