Emma Sherwood-Smith Cider Director at HEINEKEN

Emma Sherwood-Smith is Cider Marketing Director at HEINEKEN, responsible for Heineken’s cider brands including Strongbow, Bulmers, and quirky New Zealand cider Old Mout. Emma spoke to Wholesale Manager.

What does your job involve?

I’m responsible for everything to do with the brand, its packaging and logo, how it tastes, what it stands for, the price and its sustainability credentials – all of it!

How would you sum up the Old Mout brand and its history?

Born in New Zealand, the little country with a big attitude, Old Mout is a unique range of exotic fruit ciders. Inspired by the great outdoors, we’ve been finding ways to be more adventurous with fruit for over 65 years. Old Mout is now the fastest growing premium cider in the Impulse channel1.

What Old Mout products are available?

We have four flavours, Strawberry & Pomegranate, Kiwi & Lime, Passionfruit & Apple and Berries & Cherries, which is also available in an alcohol-free variety, a perfect alternative for health conscious shoppers looking to moderate their alcohol intake without compromising on taste.

How big is fruit cider as a category in the UK wholesale sector? How is Old Mout doing in wholesale?

Premium flavoured ciders are growing +30% YTD2 in the impulse channel, which is served by wholesalers, and consumers are looking to be more adventurous. Old Mout is perfectly placed at a time when fruit cider is in significant growth, with the brand growing +62%3 in value last year partly due to its relevance among younger people looking for more exciting flavour combinations. The premiumisation trend identified in HEINEKEN’s The Greenpaper has also been key to Old Mout’s growth (see below.)

What types of consumer are buying Old Mout?

Old Mout appeals to a broad cross section of shoppers, who identify it as the number 1 premium cider brand4 ideal for treats at home.

What other ciders do you offer in wholesale?

As the world’s leading and biggest cider supplier with a portfolio of well-loved brands, HEINEKEN offers both mainstream and premium ciders, including the biggest cider brand in the world, Strongbow Original, Dark Fruit, Cloudy Apple, Old Mout and Bulmers.

Any more Old Mout NPD in the pipeline?

We will continue to bring exotic flavours to the market that excite current consumers and bring new shoppers into the brand. We’ll also be launching a new flavour, in early 2019… so watch this space!

What are your consumer marketing plans for the Old Mout brand this year?

Old Mout launched a national campaign to save the endangered kiwi bird, teaming up with New Zealand charity Kiwis for kiwi, and TV wildlife presenter, Michaela Strachan.

As part of the campaign, Old Mout encourage customers to sign the pledge to help save the kiwi through committing to increasing recycling in their business. For consumers, we encourage people to join our mission – and you still can – just search ‘save the kiwi’! We have supported the campaign at point of sale with free tote bags to replace plastic carrier bags and all our packaging is 100% recyclable.

How are you helping your wholesale customers grow their fruit cider business?

As the cider and beer market leader, throughout the past year our category and sales teams have been providing education to wholesalers and independent retailers on key trends and expert advice, as well as continued support and investment.

Earlier this year we launched The Greenpaper, HEINEKEN’s biggest piece of category research to date, helping customers grow their business and unlock additional value. This identified a potential extra £670m in off-trade sales over the next three years.

As mentioned previously, one of the key trends in The Greenpaper is premiumisation. It’s crucial for wholesalers to stock a range of premium flavoured cider options like Old Mout and allocate them a fair share of space. Wholesalers should also educate retailers about the benefits of stocking a representative range of premium flavoured ciders shoppers want to purchase time and time again. A further trend in The Greenpaper is the increase in occasions when people are consuming alcohol with meals, up over 5%5 in four years. Wholesalers need to educate retailers about this trend and the importance of merchandising food and drink together to maximise sales and encourage consumers to make the link between the two categories.

The rise in the ‘no and low’ category is another key growth area, with consumers wanting to Live Better and thinking more about their diet. Educating retailers on the importance of stocking no and low options like Old Mout Alcohol Free, as well as Old Mout’s ongoing ‘naturalness & sustainability’ journey, will ensure they are not missing out on this growing segment.

Where do you see the Old Mout brand in five years’ time?

The Old Mout brand will keep going from strength to strength by appealing to existing and new consumers through our exotic flavours and quirky Kiwi spirit, while supporting wholesalers and retailers to grow their businesses.

1 Nielsen Scantrack L12 to 08/09/2018, Total Coverage. (Brands >10% wtd. Distribution).

2 Nielsen: YTD Value Sales in the Impulse Channel 11.08.18

3 Nielsen: YTD Value Sales in the Impulse Channel 11.08.18

4 HIM Beer and Cider Category Deep Dive

5 InSites Consulting/HEINEKEN Category Image Study 2017