Impressive growth in the demand for cider in the global markets has put it squarely back on the beverage alcohol map, attracting a younger, more affluent consumer.
In its latest report on the international beverage sector, Rabobank’s Wine Quarterly highlights the relative appeal of cider to younger, more well-heeled, both male and female consumers.
This presents a real threat to competing beverage alcohol categories, with wine companies having ceded the high ground to beer companies in the fight to defend their ‘share of throat’ from cider.
Rabobank senior beverages analyst Marc Soccio says that in the past decade, the cider category has gone a long way to discard its old fashioned image and connect with a new wave of consumers.
“Not unlike the rise of craft beer before it, the recent success of cider producers in tapping into a seemingly ready and growing global market for their products has provided further evidence of rising segmentation within many maturing beverage alcohol markets,” Mr Soccio says.
“Sensing the opportunity, new and existing suppliers are busily testing the boundaries of the cider category with a surge in product innovation and marketing activity. Outside of Western Europe, the North American, South African, Australian and New Zealand markets are quickly expanding as consumers begin to explore the cider category with greater interest.”
And this is a trend that is likely to continue.
Mr Soccio says cider might be consumed more like beer, but the wine industry needs to come to terms with the fact that it’s not simply a threat to the beer category.
“The impact might still be at the margin, but wine companies need to seriously consider what might lead their current and future consumers astray as cider once again enters the big leagues in key markets at home and abroad,” he says.
According to the latest Rabobank Wine Quarterly report, global wine consumption is estimated to have fallen modestly by one per cent in 2014, while global wine supply is estimated to have fallen by nearly five per cent from the bumper 2013 crop. The countries largely behind the fall in supply were Italy (-17 per cent), Spain (-6 per cent) and Chile (-18 per cent).
The report says wine producers will be looking intently at the size of the global harvest in 2015 to relieve supply pressure on mainstream wine segments.
A particularly compressed and early Australian wine harvest in 2015 was characterised by reasonably good growing conditions prevailing across most of the country, not withstanding some relatively isolated adverse weather events. All-in-all there is little evidence to indicate too radical a deviation from the five-year average at this point in time, with official estimates due to be released in July.
New Zealand’s 2015 wine grape harvest is estimated at 326,000 tonnes, with this year’s harvest down 27 per cent on the prior year’s record, and roughly in line with the 2011 harvest back when exports were more than 20 per cent lower than they are today.