With much of hospitality closed due to the pandemic over the last two years, cider sales in the off-trade rose in terms of value sales, which were 37:63 in favour of supermarkets and off-licenses. Since most restrictions have come to an end, this number was equally weighted at 50:50 in 2021 – but still a huge way off the 62:38 split felt in 2019.
It’s been an uncertain time for the cider category as, last year across both the on and off-trade, almost 667m litres were bought by consumers - a decrease of 2.6% on the previous year, after years of continued growth. Additionally, according to a report by Westons, 69% of consumers reported that their cost of living had increased which could spark consumer concern surrounding financial security, potentially destabilising the category even further.
That being said, according to research done by Thatchers and CGA, 56% of consumers plan on visiting the on-trade as often in 2022 as they did last year, with 19% stating they plan on going out more. Also, on-trade cider sales were up by over 50% last year and with all COVID restrictions now lifted, there is an invaluable opportunity for the cider category this summer across the on-trade, bolstered by a longer spring bank holiday, Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the World Cup.
Last year, apple cider represented 73.5% of draught sales with fruit flavoured variants losing share according to Westons. Overall, apple cider represents more than a 60% share of cider sales in the on-trade, suggesting cider drinkers are going back to traditional products and flavours.
A key trend for 2022 is that of premiumisation. Drinkers, across all categories, are drinking less – but drinking better. Consumers have lost out on premium products due to the pandemic and are now looking to trade up their choices as they return to the on-trade.
Craft cider is a strong and emerging category and has a vibrant mix of products including keg, bag-in-box and packaged. Being locally produced, British, authentic, traditional and having heritage behind the product all underpin the qualities of the craft cider sub-category and consumers are becoming more and more engaged with the category.
Additionally, across both the on and off-trade, crafted and premium apple cider sub-categories have been gaining significant share and have been some of the only categories that have shown growth and, with 79% of cider drinkers being quality-led, it’s an ideal time for outlets to give good quality ciders more prominence on the bar.
No and Low
No and low options across all categories are growing in popularity as we see more and more consumers moderate their drinking as well as look to health and wellness more. Whilst only 6% of consumers engage with low and no cider options currently, it’s a wide choice that is now available in the market and this share is expected to grow as adults of legal drinking age enter the category and younger consumers see low and no options as a viable alternative.
Cloudy cider is also gaining traction as consumers associate it as being craft, authentic, with provenance and unfiltered. The sub-category represents 8.4% of on-trade with expectations that these contemporary style cloudy ciders will continue to see growth over the next few years.
Bank holidays and summer still feature among the top cider drinking occasions proving there’s plenty of potential to tap into cider trends over the next few months plus with several long bank holidays and sporting tournaments and events, these key occasions should hopefully drive growth across the cider category and ensure it gets a second bite of the apple through 2022.