Cider feels shelf squash
Consumption growing but wine and beer dominate supermarket shelf space, writes Chloe Winter.
New Zealanders’ love of cider is growing but it’s not reflected on the supermarket shelves, the boss of cider maker Zeffer says.
Josh Townsend said that according to business analytics firm IRI, cider was worth $55.5 million to New Zealand, growing 8 per cent a year. Wine was growing at 3 per cent and beer at 5.5 per cent a year. Craft beer was earning $113m.
Based on those figures, he said space given to cider on supermarket shelves was ‘‘massively disproportionate’’ to that given to beer and wine.
Cider was given about a third of the shelf space for craft beer, when it should be nearer to half.
But Antoinette Laird, spokeswoman for supermarket company Foodstuffs, which owns New World, Pak ‘n Save, and Four Square, said cider got ‘‘more than its fair share’’ of shelf space.
Cider shelf space varied from store to store, but it was generally between 10 per cent and 15 per cent overall, Laird said.
Cider sales across all Foodstuffs stores accounted for about 5 per cent of total liquor sales.
‘‘We believe cider gets more than its fair share of space on shelves,’’ Laird said.
However, the company was constantly reviewing its categories and consumer trends, and cider was no different.
Demand for cider had increased a lot over the past few years, Townsend said.
Part of that growth was a growing demand for craft cider.
‘‘Consumers are becoming more discerning by understanding what’s on offer, understanding the different sugar content, the different flavour profiles. And they are willing to pay a premium for a better-quality product.’’
Massey University retail expert Jonathan Elms said drinks companies were in a ‘‘constant battle’’ over shelf space.
But at the end of the day, the retailers would make a decision based on which products made them the most money.
‘‘Retailers will want to push particular products that they have their bigger margin on, or have a particular better value for them,’’ Elms said.
Cider was ‘‘still a peripheral beverage’’ in comparison to wine and beer.
A Countdown spokeswoman said cider was only a ‘‘relatively small part’’ of its overall alcohol sales.
Josh Townsend of Zeffer says consumers are becoming more discerning but his company faces an uphill battle to get its product in front of them.