Innovation cues from RTDs to further accelerate cider market growth: IWSR

GLOBAL – Cider volumes are expected to grow at a volume CAGR of 2%, from 2021-2026, however, the category is poised to face two main challenges in the years ahead: according to a new report by IWSR.

IWSR projects the cider category in 2023 will surpass 2019 levels considering that the cider market outlook is relatively buoyant.

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Amid the growth, the cider market is going to dilute its reliance in the UK and Ireland, while also countering the threat from the Ready-to-Drink (RTD) market with which it competes for many drinking occasions and drinkers.

Both the UK and Irish cider markets look to be coming out of boom periods, and IWSR data suggests that both countries may have seen cider peak in the mid-term.

According to the global alcohol market research firm, achieving growth is likely to become difficult in these core markets, which account for a third of global cider sales.

Other regions do offer opportunities for the category such as Africa which has witnessed cider volumes grow over 50% in 2021, the firm adds.

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The growth was achieved by brand owners such as Heineken who have been investing in cider’s biggest African market-South Africa, where there has been an existing tradition of cider drinking.

IWSR notes that regional expansion at a domestic level helped cider in the UK emerge from a trough period a little more than fifteen years ago.

At the time, IWSR says the cider distribution continued to be biased towards the West Country and a small pocket in the Northeast of England where they enjoyed sweet ciders.

In the mid-nineties, is when cider consumption took a steep decline in the UK driven primarily by younger legal drinking age (LDA) drinkers switching from cider to the RTD category that had just arrived in the market.

The buoyant RTD category is undoubtedly constraining the cider category today as seen in what some might consider a sleeping cider giant, the US.

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IWSR says that cider in the US was going well, with sales more than trebling between 2012 and 2015.

The green shoots of a craft cider movement became evident before the rapid rise of RTDs stunted the development of the category.

Nevertheless, the regional cider brands In the US continue to perform well and leverage current consumer trends to maintain relevance.

The cider market is also tapping into the health and wellness trend, for example, Schilling Cider released Vida Mate cider which contains Yerba Mate, a natural tea-like compound containing health benefits.

In addition, the Cider brands in the US are also leveraging the hard seltzer trend by releasing seltzers with a cider base.

For example, Austin Eastciders Spiked Seltzer comes in flavors such as mango, black cherry, apple, and peach.

At the premium end, IWSR reveals that Heritage hard cider is also making in-roads with enthusiasts, as each year’s crop is captured in the bottle similar to that of winemaking at a vineyard.

Although all the recent cider innovation points to a category that is benefitting from consumer interest in RTDs, the runway for cider growth could be long, IWSR points out.

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