bulmers blueberry

Heineken will aim to turn around the struggling Bulmers brand with the launch this month of its latest flavour, Wild Blueberry & Lime.

Heineken said the product was the first mainstream blueberry-flavoured cider in the UK, and would tap into a flavour trend that has appeared across numerous categories. It will replace Bold Black Cherry and be supported by a £2m through-the-line campaign.

The four main variants of Bulmers available before 2015 - Crushed Red Berries and Lime, Original, Bold Black Cherry and Pear - lost £12.1m, or 15.9% of their sales last year [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 October 2015].

Bulmers Zesty Blood Orange, which launched last March, was the year’s biggest cider NPD, and brought a million consumers into the brand, half of which were new to cider altogether, said Heineken. But its sales of £3.95m by October made up less than a third of the drop in the other four variants.

“Blueberry’s popularity is soaring in the UK, yet surprisingly there is currently no mainstream blueberry-flavoured cider in the market, until now,” said Emma Sherwood-Smith, cider director at Heineken. “This product addresses both consumer demand for blueberries and the trend for experimenting with different flavoured ciders.”

After years of growth, the cider category as a whole declined by 2.8% last year to £1.04bn.