Cider stays strong despite COVID-19 restrictions

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cider sales stayed strong thanks to growing interest in craft products and premiumisation
Cider sales stayed strong thanks to growing interest in craft products and premiumisation

Related tags: Drinks

Cider sales have continued to grow despite the closure of pubs during the latest lockdown, with crafted and premium brands leading the charge, according to a new report from Westons Cider.

The sixth edition of Westons Cider Report found that in 2020 the cider category grew 21.2% year-on-year in grocery retail, taking overall value to £1.3bn. It stated that shoppers had bought cider in greater volumes across the year, averaging an additional 30 litres per household – up 9.4%.

Tim Williams, insight and innovation manager as Westons, said: “After a year of almost continuous government restrictions and the consequent closure of the on-trade, we’ve seen a huge swing towards the off-trade.

“The challenge now is for cider brands to keep engaging with these new consumers to help the off-trade retain some of the share it picked up in 2020, even as pubs, bars and restaurants reopen.

“We’re confident that the clear appetite for cider demonstrated through last year’s significant off-trade growth spells good news for the category overall.”

Crafted cider

Westons also found that the growth of crafted cider continued to significantly outpace the overall category, up 48.7% versus 21.2% respectively.

The report attributed this growth as a vital driver of premiumisation across the subcategory. Higher-value, traditional ciders continue to drive trade-up consumers looked to authentic, heritage brands for products they could count on to deliver a high-quality serve at home.

Westons head of marketing Sally McKinnon added: “The figures suggest that stocking premium, branded lines with provenance and heritage will unlock a significant sales opportunity for retailers.

“However, there’s still a huge untapped opportunity to drive premiumisation and value growth across the wider category.

“Understanding cider drinkers’ motivations and the new opportunities beyond COVID will be integral to this, and innovations within other fast-growing subcategories could help to spread value growth more evenly across the category.”

Key areas

Other areas driving growth included online and convenience –  up 81.4% and 19.0% respectively, well ahead of the 17.9% growth seen in the total grocery market – and low- and no-alcohol cider (volumes up 32.6%).

Darryl Hinksman, head of business development at Westons, concluded: “Over the past year, UK grocery retail has played a crucial role in maintaining presence and momentum for the cider category.

“The sheer popularity of crafted ciders, the emergence of diverse offerings within the cloudy and rosé subcategories. The growth of the online and convenience channels have played a key part in this, and we expect these factors to remain important throughout the year ahead.”

Meanwhile, Guillaume Chesneau, managing director at Nespresso UK and ROI, has outlined important 2020 consumer trends​ and how these would influence food and drink production and sales growth in 2021.

Related topics: Drinks, COVID-19, Operations

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