Bestway-Batleys is first to market with own-label fruit cider

Country Choice, the exclusive cider brand from Bestway and Batleys, is extending its range with the launch of two new fruit-based ciders for off-trade retailers.

The two new variants – Country Choice Dark Fruit (can) and Country Choice Strawberry and Lime (bottle) – aim to build on the popularity of fruit-based ciders in the UK, which have shown strong growth over the last few years. This NPD marks the first foray by a UK wholesaler into the emerging flavoured cider market.

Roopinder Singh Toor, licensed controller for Bestway Wholesale, stresses there is no risk in being the first own label entrant into the category saying “The category is already there and is performing extremely well with all major manufacturers posting impressive increases year on year. This demonstrates that there is a continuing thirst for fruit-based ciders among consumers which is great news for licensed retailers both in the on and off trade. It also means that the category is now at a size and scale which can offer a wider range of consumer choice, including an exclusive label entrant” 

Toor backs this up by explaining how the market is developing within Bestway Wholesale stating that of the top 20 best-selling cider brands – excluding high strength ciders and large PET bottles – nine are fruit-based ciders rather than traditional apple and, although some of the more premium brands such as Magners and Thatchers are growing, the fruit flavours are largely responsible for a category lift of almost 30% in value year-on-year.

 “We have been monitoring the success of Strongbow Dark Fruit, Kopperberg and Recorderlig among others and customers have been enquiring when Country Choice was going to launch into the category. This tells us that the time is right to launch. We were conscious not to introduce a whole raft of skus as we realise that retailers’ shelves are not elastic but to concentrate on offering a real alternative to the best selling flavours from the major brands. However if we see that there is retail demand for other blends then we will introduce them and, as with all our own-label products, we will work with our retail customers to ensure that each product warrants inclusion on shelf.

Toor concludes,”The new variants will bring in new consumers who may have been put off by the premium price point and we will also see some loyal Country Choice drinkers trialling the new liquids – both of which will result in more money in our customers tills.”

The two new variants are made with fresh pressed ‘A’ grade apples and blended using natural fruit flavours to deliver a sublimely balanced and refreshing taste.

Country Choice Dark Fruit

Dark is a delicate cider blend of Blueberries, Blackcurrants and Raspberries with an ABV of 4%. The packaging reflects the quality of the liquid with rich purple and amber tones and is available in a four can multipack (6 per outer) with a price mark of £4.49 which gives a POR of 19.88%

Country Choice Strawberry and Lime

Bottled in a transparent glass bottle, Country Choice Strawberry amp; Lime (4% ABV) is available in a single non price marked 500ml bottle and carries an RRP of £1.59. With 8 to an outer, this delivers a fantastic retail margin of 26.4%

Both new brand extensions are available exclusively at all Bestway and Batleys depots from 1st October 2014

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