Heineken offers advice on cider category

Drinks giant says convenience retailers can capitalise on major market

Heineken UK has highlighted the opportunities presented by Old Mout and Strongbow.
Heineken UK has highlighted the opportunities presented by Old Mout and Strongbow.

CIDER is big business in the UK, with NIQ data showing the category was worth £1.1billion last year – with the convenience channel accounting for £384million.

Bosses at Heineken UK also stressed that cider over-trades during Easter, the summer and bank holidays – providing an all-year round opportunity for retailers.

And as the firm’s offerings, including Strongbow, account for a 27.8% share of the category, there is a great opportunity for stores to drive sales by stocking the bestselling brands.

That’s the view of Alexander Wilson, category & commercial strategy director at Heineken, who added: “All pack formats in cider experience a massive jump in sales during peak seasons, including summer occasions, such as sporting events and festivals, alongside Christmas and New Year, when premium nights come into the spotlight.

“With this in mind, we suggest stores stock a variety of single bottles and multipacks to cater for all occasions, whether that be for hosting at-home gatherings with large groups of people, or for grab-and-go and summer festival moments.”

Wilson also pointed out that while the cost-of-living crisis had undoubtedly influenced all food and drink categories in retail, premium apple cider was continuing to grow.

He said it demonstrated that people were still indulging in smaller luxuries, such as alcohol, and may be willing to trade up.

The director continued: “As such, we suggest retailers take advantage of this and dedicate ample shelf space to premium ciders, such as Inch’s and Old Mout.

“We have also identified key opportunities in heritage and premium berry ciders, and both segments are also attractive from a price perspective.

“Inch’s is the apple cider brand that grew the most share in the off-trade in 2023, and this is a clear sign that shoppers are looking for quality as well as accessible pricing options to help.

“A mix of mainstream and premium will help stores encourage purchases.”

Wilson also highlighted the fact that innovation across the market was predominantly coming from flavoured ciders, designed to drive penetration among younger consumers.

Coupled with this, mindful consumption was also shaping the cider category, he said, with low/no-alcohol options helping to drive this.

He shouted out Heineken’s Old Mout 0.0, available in Pineapple & Raspberry and Berries & Cherries flavours, as ciders to answer both trends.

However, he stated that ciders with an ABV of 4-5% had the widest appeal, while Strongbow was the No.1 cider brand in the total market in volume and value sales.

Aiming to boost that further, Heineken is launching Strongbow Zest (ABV 4%) to offer more choice and recruit new customers to the category.

Wilson said: “Strongbow Zest is a thirst-quenching apple cider carefully blended with lime, lemon and orange flavours.

“Available across grocery, wholesale and convenience channels from June, Strongbow Zest is rolling out in 4 x 440ml and 500ml formats, and, in time for the summer, in 10 x 330ml.”