Growth in cider poses ‘real threat’ to wine

The wine industry has been urged to “assess the threat” posed by the recent growth of the cider category in global markets by Rabobank in its Wine Quarterly Q3 2015 report.

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Recent growth in the category, particularly in New World countries, has put the category “squarely back on the beverage alcohol map”, says Rabobank beverage analyst Marc Soccio, positioning itself as a “real threat” to competing alcohol beverage categories.

The UK remains the biggest market for cider, which consumes two-fifths of global volumes, despite a slight drop in volumes in 2014. Outside of Europe, New World countries such as the US, South Africa and Australia are considered the “next frontier” for cider, with markets quickly expanding. In the US, sales of cider have tripled since 2012 rising from around 2.3 million cases to 7.8m in 2014.

Rabobank’s analysis ties in with a report published last month by Canadean, which predicted that cider will grow around 5% annually to reach over three billion litres in 2020, due to the category’s growing strength in the US, Australia and South Africa.

Such growth in New World countries has been attributed by Rabobank to the growing popularity of cider among “younger, more affluent consumers”.

“In the past decade, the cider category has gone a long way to discard its old fashioned image and connect with a new wave of consumers”, said Soccio.

“Not unlike the rise of craft beer before it, the recent success of cider producers in tapping into a seemingly ready and growing global market has provided further evidence of rising segmentation within many developed alcoholic beverage markets. Sensing the opportunity, new and existing suppliers are busy testing the boundaries of the cider category, with a surge in product innovation and marketing activity.”

Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q3 figure_ciderThe report warned wine producers to assess the “current and future threat” posed by cider to their markets as the category once again “enters the big leagues of the alcoholic beverage market”

Global wine consumption is estimated to have fallen by 1% in 2014, while global wine supply is estimated to have fallen by nearly 5% since 2013 which saw smaller harvests in Italy (-17%), Spain (-6%) and Chile (-18%. It is hoped larger harvest in 2015 will help redress this imbalance.

“Cider might be consumed more like beer, but the wine industry needs to come to terms with the fact that cider is not solely a threat to the beer category. The impact might still be at the margin, but wine companies need to seriously consider what might lead their current and future consumers astray”, stressed Soccio.

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