Cider manufacturers say aggressive discounting of supermarket own label cider undermines their quest to move the category upmarket.
They say own-label pricing, which has resulted in a three-litre bottle of own label cider being sold at Asda for £2.23 - just 74p a litre compared to Strongbow at £1.19 per litre, White Lightning at £1.02 per litre and Magners at £2.99 per litre - is dragging down the sector.
At a briefing, Keith Hogg, group sales director at Scottish Courage, said: “We want retailers to watch the price positioning of their own brand cider, which could become one of the cheapest ways to buy alcohol.”
Hogg said that while ScotCo was pleased with the work it
had done on moving up the price of White Lightning, pricing on own label cider raised questions about responsible retailing of alcohol.
“Effectively, people are paying
50% more for White Lightning now and I am pleased to see that other brands are following suit,” said Hogg.
“But in some supermarkets you can buy three litres of own brand cheaper than two-litres of branded cider.”
Colin Todd, sales director at Thatchers cider, said: “It doesn’t help moves by the majority of manufacturers in raising the value of the market and in presenting cider as a serious long alcoholic drink.”
Hogg said that Scottish Courage, which scrapped extra free deals on its PET cider bottles in January, would be getting rid of all remaining extra-free promotions on cans of Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack and Woodpecker by March next year.
And Hogg also revealed that Scottish Courage would be launching a new cider product next summer.
He strongly hinted that the new line would be an extension of Scrumpy Jack.
Sonya Hook