Craft Positioning and Flavour Innovation Spur the Cider Renaissance in Australia and New Zealand

New World growth challenges UK dominance

Growing popularity for cider in New Zealand and Australia represents one aspect of the wider global cider renaissance taking place over the last few years. Global cider volume consumption reached over 2.3 billion litres in 2014, growing by 9%. This is compared to global sales of 1.6 billion litres in 2009. The UK continued to dominate global cider sales in 2014 at 954 million litres. Cider holds a traditional position within UK drinking culture, with per capita consumption of cider falling closely behind wine, but ranking higher than per capita spirits consumption. Nonetheless, despite its first-ranked-position, the share of UK volume consumption has actually declined from 50% of global consumption in 2009 to 41% in 2014. On the contrary, the volume share of New World cider consumption has increased over the same period. In fact, the volume share of cider consumption in the US has grown from 3% in 2009 to 14% in 2014, while Australia’s volume share has doubled, from 2% in 2009 to 4% in 2014. In New Zealand alone, cider volume consumption has more than doubled between 2009 and 2014.

Craft positioning & flavour innovation drive growth

The craft positioning of cider is one of the major factors contributing to cider growth within New Zealand, Australia and the US. Within New Zealand, craft positioning has been demonstrated through the use of small glass bottle packaging (as opposed to large plastic bottles) as well as the focus on provenance and quality. Indeed, following a recent packaging revamp, Lion Pty Ltd’s Mac’s Cider products now offer a flavour scale on-pack, ranking ciders from “quenching” to “savouring”. Moreover, flavour innovation has also been a major development within the New Zealand cider market, with both international and local cider brands releasing new cider flavours (such as boysenberry, feijoa, cranberry and passionfruit) beyond the traditional apple and pear.

Market segmentation likely in the future

New Zealand’s cider market is relatively underdeveloped, especially when compared with the UK, however, cider volume sales are expected to grow by a 9% CAGR between 2014 and 2019. This is higher than the 6% CAGR forecast for Australia. New Zealand per capita cider consumption is expected to grow by 45% between 2014 and 2019. As the industry develops it is likely that market segmentation will occur over the long term, with “real cider” players emerging and distinguishing themselves. Real cider players are likely to produce cider naturally from apples as opposed to apple concentrate, with their products possessing provincial branding, attracting a premium positioning and targeting “cider purists”. Nonetheless, this trend is dependent on the supply of cider apples and perry pears in New Zealand growing. As a result, the focus for most New Zealand cider manufacturers is likely to remain on craft positioning and flavour innovation over the short term, with manufacturers continuing to produce ciders that are sweet and lightly carbonated, appealing to the mass market.


This article originally appeared in NZ Liquor News