Henry Chevallier-Guild told FoodManufacture.co.uk the Suffolk business would fight against declining volumes and falling prices prompted by intense competition to be viewed as the standard for premium cider.
“Our big challenge is to make sure Aspall doesn’t get sucked into that orbit,” he said.
“Our aspiration over the next 15 years is that wherever you find a bottle of champagne, in any fridge of any five-star hotel globally, there should be a bottle of Aspall.”
By 2028, 30% of Aspall’s turnover would come from overseas sales, Chevallier-Guild hoped. Currently only 4% of its £34M turnover is gained outside of the UK.
Any cider that is made with raw materials, expertise, skill, passion and love should take its place next to any drink in the world, Chevallier-Guild claimed.
Consumer engagement, new product development and Aspall’s vinegar business should help the business secure its planned global growth, he added.
The cider category was “slightly on the slide” at the moment as a result of large-scale beverage manufacturers entering the market simply to add the drink to their portfolio and driving down prices.
“It is not healthy if you have large brands coming to the market that are not being sold with the best interest of cider to heart,” he said.
Aspall - key facts
- 1728: First planted trees in Suffolk
- 1970s: Started producing cider vinegar
- 2014: Producing 14,250l of cider a year
- 2014: Producing 3,250l of vinegar a year
“[These are] new entrants with large-scale brand distribution capabilities but without having to make the investment up-front that most cider makers would have to make – in terms of planting trees.”
‘Bitter price war’
These businesses were entering a market that had become attractive after the prices had bottomed-out following a bitter price war at the turn of the century.
Chevallier-Guild estimated we could see a similar price war with certain cider producers that hadn’t made a long-term plan going out of business.
Companies such as Strongbow and Heineken would survive this war, along with Aspall, he claimed.
“It is key for Aspall and any other cider producer that wants to remain in a premium position to never lose sight of what makes your brand special and what made people want to engage with it,” he said.
“Otherwise you will be sucked into the melee.”
Meanwhile, watch our video interview with Chevallier-Guild to find out how investment in the business over the past year was beginning to pay off.