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Premium quality drives cider category revival

The category is becoming increasingly crowded with many new brands, such as Carling, entering the market. Anthony gives his view on the industry and how brands are working to stand out from the crowd

Anthony Mills Savanna Cider

Sales of cider are soaring – with the category seemingly impervious to the economic downturn. Total cider sales in terms of volume are up 0.3 per cent but total value sales give a clear picture of how buoyant the sector truly is with the total value of cider up 8.1 per cent, according to the latest CGA Strategy figures.

The cider market has been a consistent success story and in recent years there’s been a lot of brand activity and consumers continue to seek out new styles and flavours. Savanna cider, a premium bottled New World cider, is the world’s fourth largest selling cider, but is still relatively new in the UK.

“We know that premium ciders like Savanna perform really well in consumer taste tests given the quality of the liquid and the refreshment it delivers – this is key for retailers who want to be able to make a recommendation of something their customers will enjoy and that they know will receive the investment to become a trusted brand they recognise,” explains Anthony.

The resurgence in interest in cider is part due to more premium products. Savanna has increased sales by 72 per cent year on year, versus market growth of four per cent, proving that consumers are converted to the brand. As the category grows it is becoming an increasingly crowded sector so those brands with a clear focus on quality and backed by investment will flourish, he says. “It’s our view is that the sustained growth in the cider category can only be achieved through investment which results in products of the highest quality. Hence we have invested year on year to support Savanna through TV advertising, radio promotion and most especially activation in retail outlets to encourage trial and build rate of sale.

“It is important for retailers to be aware of those brands investing heavily and generating interest.  Consumers will seek out these brands and it will mean increased sales when popular brands are highly visible.”

Consumer engagement, alongside NPD and new product entrants are key factors driving the resurgence of the cider category. However, there is, he believes, still room for continued growth.

“We expect significant investment to continue within the sector over the next year. Alongside this, innovation continues to be the driver in the category from what we’re seeing, and over the next year its brands which are prepared to engage with consumers that will grow the category.

“Last year we ran The Savanna Watering Hole Tour, which was the brand’s largest ever consumer engagement operation. The Tour visited all major cities in the UK with a camper van, which we gave away as a competition prize at the end of the campaign. The consumer communication and brand activity displayed an ‘off the wall’ sense of humour that made Savanna accessible to a broad number of venues serving different consumers on varied occasions. Importantly, the drink appeals to both men and women. This year we will again run another consumer advertising campaign. Though the details are not yet available to release, the plans are to do more of the same.”

Cider is increasingly becoming an all-year round choice for consumers, but it remains a strong impulse purchase and historically, cider sales still do increase during the summer.

Anthony’s advice to retailers is: “Be prepared – get in the right balance of cider styles and brands to suit your customer profile. Products will also deliver incremental sales if chillers are well stocked with popular brands during the summer.”

With the category steadfast and growing at an impressive rate, the outlook for the cider industry looks positive. An increasing number of premium ciders are entering the market, growing interest in the sector and I believe this trend is set to last.

More consumers also appear to be willing to pay a small price premium for a quality cider. The depth of the cider category, coupled with strong innovation from brands, places it in a strong position for continued growth.

“I believe the premium end of the market will continue to drive interest in cider, and we would suggest for retailers it is a core range. Premium brands are creating this interest by investing in consumer communication and in our opinion this will prove vital to the ongoing growth and success of the category.”


13 May 2013