Flavoured fruit cider has firmly established itself in the UK cider market, accounting for 27% of the marketplace in 2017, according to Westons Cider Report 2018.

GlobalData analysis shows that 12 years ago fruit cider was relatively unknown in the UK market. In 2005, the 500,000 litres of fruit cider sold represented 0.08% of the total volumes. If fruit cider continues at its current growth rate it will be 48% of the UK cider market by 2023.

Fruit cider represents 36% of all cider sold in the UK on trade and is worth £714.9m. The category underwent a 10.1% growth in volume and 11.5% in value. This was the result of the strength of draught varieties, which experienced 38% increase in volume and 41.4% in value and built on the success of Strongbow Dark Fruit.

CGA Strategy data shows fruit cider has attracted more female drinkers to the on trade cider category as a whole. Women comprise 60% of fruit cider drinkers compared with 47% across the general category.

Also, fruit cider attracts younger consumers to the cider category; 50% of fruit cider drinkers are aged between 18 and 34, compared with 34% across the whole category.

In the off trade, fruit cider experienced 11% growth and the sector now accounts for 33.5% of cider value. Canned fruit cider has seen year-on-year growth of 31.8%, compared with decline for bottled fruit cider.

Kantar Worldpanel concludes 48% of those who buy fruit cider are under 44, compared with 33% for all cider varieties.

The top five off trade fruit cider products have grown by 11%, the strongest of the three cider flavours: fruit, apple and pear. The top five products are in ascending order Strongbow Dark Fruit, Kopparberg Mixed Berry, Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime, Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime and Bulmers Red Berries and Lime.

The UK cider market is the largest in the world; it is worth $2.98bn across the on and off trade. UK consumers drink 800 million litres of cider a year, 45.5% of households buy cider and approximately 12.18 litres are consumed per person per year. The whole market grew 0.4% in 2017 with 3.5% growth in value and 2.2% in volume.

Westons Cider managing director Helen Thomas wrote in the report: “Fruit cider is now a firmly established part of the cider marketplace, most notably in the on trade where draught fruit cider has delivered cider category growth in a challenging marketplace, while premiumisation and evolving formats have driven growth for cider in the off trade. In many respects the cider marketplace is unrecognisable to what it was a few years ago and it is this dynamism that makes the cider industry such an exciting place to work.”

The success of fruit cider in the UK is not mirrored in the rest of the top ten cider consuming countries in the world. South Africa was the second largest global cider market with 280 million litres consumed per year and 100% of the cider consumed was apple. Only Australia, Canada, France and Germany had significant percentages of fruit cider consumed with 9%, 23%, 10% and 15% respectively. Australia ranked fourth, Canada sixth, France eighth and Germany tenth.

Westons’ report also showed that value white cider continued to decline in the UK in 2017 with a drop of 2.6% in both value and volume sales. It is exclusively available in the off trade and 48.8 million litres were sold last year, which represents 9.5% of the off trade cider volumes.

The report states this section of the cider sector could be further affected by the UK Government’s new 6.9% plus duty band – value white ciders typically have a 7.5% ABV – and Scotland’s new minimum unity pricing rules. It has been estimated that 65.4%, or 335 million litres, of white cider are sold below 50p a unit across the UK.