A PREDICTED jump in cider sales in Australia in the next five years is a positive for Orange fruit growers, according to orchardist and horticulture industry representative Peter Darley.
Owner of Small Acres Cyder at Borenore and industry representative, James Kendell, said while it was easy to build growth in cider production and consumption in Australia from what was a low base a few years ago, the future was bright for Australian cider production and fruit growers.
“There’s no doubt cider consumption in Australia is strong and it is growing,” Mr Kendell said.
“And producers around Australia are very supportive of the apple industry and indeed most of us set up in an apple growing region."
“It has been tough for growers over the last few years.”
A spokesperson for market research organisation IBISWorld says cider sales are predicted to hit almost $228 million this financial year.
The market researcher also predicts a 21.5 per cent increase in cider sales over the next five years, at the same time beer sales are expected to continue the current trend of decreasing sales.
“This is fantastic news about cider consumption growth and it will provide a lot of support for orchardists as our cider industry continues to grow,” Mr Kendell said.
Mr Darley said the opportunities opened up now for producers were encouraging after years of falling prices and being at the mercy of the supermarket duopoly.
“Cider production is another avenue for us to sell our fruit,” he said.
“And while in Orange most producers have got out of pear production in this area, with the popularity of pear cider growing along with apples it may be a chance to get back in the game.”
Mr Kendell said the the cider industry was now pushing for a labelling standard so Australian cider drinkers know they are supporting Australian growers and not consuming cider made from imported apples and other fruit.
“This is an educative process for cider consumers,” Mr Kendell said.
“Truth in labelling is something fruit growers have been pushing for for a long time,” Mr Darley said.
“There has been a real consumer backlash against imported fruit and it’s certainly a good thing for our industry,” Mr Darley said.
Mr Kendell said cider’s lower alcohol content had big appeal in the market place.
“Most cider is 5 to 7 per cent while wine, for example, is 12-13 per cent and in warmer weather it’s a refreshing drink,” Mr Kendell said.