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MODE: Cider Trends 2022

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Now more than ever, UK consumers are visiting the on-trade for conversation, connections and experiences. Venues can capture customers with these emotional drivers and ensure customers have a memorable experience, alongside offering a balanced mix of seasonal serves and classic staples. 

Among some of those classic staples, is the mighty cider. The UK drinks more cider than anywhere else in the world, with 57% of apples grown in this country going towards cider production. Getting the right styles in your bar is crucial for winning over this huge market.  

Drinks insight agency, PROOF Insight, have developed MODE to help operators keep ahead of quickly changing trends. MODE is an award-winning, pioneering research tool that expertly analyses the latest drinks lists of industry-leading venues, covering wine, beer, spirits, and – our focus for this article – cider. Read on for some of the key cider insights from the year so far. 

Apple is still king  

The original, apple cider at its best is still the top performer in MODE bars and accounts for two thirds of listings in the UK’s most influential cider bars, highlighting that apple is still King.  

Within the wider cider category, apple has gained share of volume +0.6%, driven by draught. Fruit cider growth, on the other hand, has been driven by packaged product. Unsurprisingly, both apple and fruit ciders are gaining share in the South and Southwest but  losing share in Scotland,  suggesting that brands could benefit from taking a regional approach when targeting their brands at consumers.  

Orchard Pig is an excellent example of a brand that has tapped into the strength of regionality, with their range bursting with bittersweet West Country cider apples. Expertly crafted to their own special blend and slowly matured for a great taste with real character, Orchard Pig ciders are bursting with character and are a real celebration of Somerset and South West England. 

Craft and Hazy Ciders  

Nothing better than a hazy summer day with a hazy cider in hand. Craft and hazy ciders are gaining share of apple cider, tapping into consumers’ desires for experimentation and exploration. Craft and hazy ciders are winning with authenticity, taste and provenance coupled with highly engaged consumers looking for new discoveries. 

Local listings 

In the UK, 72% of listings are from cideries that are local to the venue that serves them. For brands that don’t have those local credentials, it’s all about championing sustainability and evoking a sense of place.  

In the age of conscious convenience, brands need to bear the burden of sustainability, so environmentally friendly choices are easy and convenient for consumers to make. 

Magners Irish Cider is a great example of this, with a strong commitment to heritage, quality, and respect to the environment. Their sustainable efforts include an aim to be plastic free in 2022 on all consumer plastic, installing a solar panel farm at their home in Clonmel. They also have 13 km’s of ‘healthy hedgerows’ to support wild bees and pollinators around their 165 acres of orchards 

Flavours 

Tropical and exotic fruits  

Where the mainstream On-Trade is dominated by berry and dark fruit flavours, MODE trendsetting venues are taking consumers tastebuds on holiday with mango, pineapple and kiwi serves. Citrus forward serves are the third most popular flavour in the UK (after dark fruits & tropical) accounting for a fifth of fruit/ flavoured in the UK’s MODE cider bars. 

There’s a super opportunity here for venues to tap into consumers’ desire for exploration by offering exotic and unusual flavours on home soil. Perfect for those who are enjoying a staycation or easing the pain of those who experienced travel chaos. 

Cross-category inspiration  

A trend that builds on the vibrancy observed within the fruit/ flavoured category are ciders directly inspired by popular cocktails. This could provide an opportunity for cider to steal back some share from the spirits category by enticing customers in with this exciting new trend. 

Fruit ciders in particular are more successful in attracting younger consumers, as they imitate the sweetness of cocktails. 

Gaining share with Cider  

Cider accounts for 6% share of total value in the drinks categories but it is losing share. Cider is  decreasing among older drinkers, with 31% of over 55s drinking cider compared to 36% in 2020. And the category is struggling to recruit 18–24 -year-olds, with 61% drinking cider compared to 71% in 2020. PROOF data suggest that this group of drinkers is opting more for spirits and cocktails.  

However, this group of younger consumers are key to engage with for the Cider category as they are driving the trade. Cider can win back share with tradition over innovation, a sense of exploration, and championing sustainability.  

About the author

Mary McCarron

Mary works in digital marketing for Matthew Clark. After a couple of years working in tech, she found her way back to the hospitality industry and can now be found talking all things cocktails, spirits, beer, softs and more across our website and social media.

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