The cider categorys UK growth is expected to slow

The cider category's UK growth is expected to slow

Cidermakers should be wary of devaluing the category's improved image with “faddy” flavour innovations, according to an industry analyst. 

Chris Wisson, a senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said new flavours still offer growth potential for the category in the UK, as research shows 60% of drinkers have tried cider in the last six months. 

Traditional apple cider remains favourite among drinkers with around half (47%) saying they had drunk it in the last six months, according to Mintel research released. Some 37% had tried pear cider. 

But Wisson warned that producers must be “careful not to risk devaluing the image of cider with faddy and unsophisticated choices, something which markets such as vodka are at risk of at present”. 

He added that there was still “room for improvement” for cider to boost its image as research showed that just 8% of drinkers think cider is sophisticated. 

Wisson's comments came in a report this week that predicted that the UK cider volumes growth is expected to slow in the next four years to around 10%. 

However, Mintel suggests the market will jump by 38% in value terms to GBP3.7bn by 2017, based on duty hikes and “inflationary pressures”.

The report forecasts that the retail price of cider is likely to rise this year after a “poor” 2012 harvest due to bad weather. 

On brands, the study suggested that Anheuser-Busch InBev's Stella Cidre has bought new drinkers into the category. “Indeed this transference of a beer brand into the cider market may be a sign of things to come as the markets move closer to one another,” the report noted. Carlsberg is another major brewer that has stepped into the cider market with the launch of its Somersby brand last year

On sales, Mintel flagged that Heineken's Strongbow brand accounted for a quarter (24%) of all UK off-trade sales by value last year. Stella Cidre accounted for 6% of off-trade sales last year, around GBP63m in value. 

Mintel's research was conducted among 1,437 adults online.