Premium ciders are leading category growth across Western Europe as consumers increasingly opt for imported, 'natural' ciders at a higher price point.
According to new data firm consumer insight firm Canadean, premium cider had an annual growth rate of almost 8% between 2009 and 2015, far exceeding competing price segment categories which all posted declines.
But while Spain experienced growth of 3%, France 15% and Ireland a massive 107%, sales in the UK – the largest cider market – declined by 1%.
According to Canadean, growth in Spain was led by an increased demand for imported cider and ‘natural’ cider. The country is the second largest premium cider market by volume. 'Natural cider in particular benefited from its popularity with young adult consumers, who find the concept of filtered cider with no added sugar to be appealing,' it said.
Consumers in France are increasingly switching their cider drinking habits to quality over quantity, driving value growth. And the huge growth in the Republic of Ireland can be partly attributed to the recovering economy and a restored consumer confidence.
Canadean estimates growth will continue due to 'rising consumer interest and willingness to purchase higher priced and quality ciders', but urged brand owners to develop more unique and premium offering to keep momentum in the category.
According to market research and consumer insight company Mintel, cider has been one of the best-performing drinks categories over the past decade in the UK. However, it suffered a 20 million litre decline in 2015, with values declining for the first time in over a decade.