pimms strawberry

Major NPD has made less of a splash in the alcohol category this year than last, with the top 10 sellers worth £15.3m in the year to July, down from £18.9m [Nielsen calendar year to 25 July 2015 v 26 July 2014]. This was despite the total number of new launches growing from 71 to 88.

Fruit cider’s dominance of big launches is also dwindling - with spirits making up two of the top three new releases in the first half of this year. The number one new product was Pimm’s Strawberry & Mint, which launched in March and racked up £3.56m in sales by July [Nielsen year to 25 July 2015]. This was followed by the top new fruit cider, Bulmers Zesty Blood Orange, on £2.81m, and then Scotch whisky variant The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve - by far the biggest non-fruit-flavoured NPD - on £1.81m.

In 2014 all of the top five NPDs were fruit flavoured products, with three of these cider, including the biggest (Strongbow Citrus Edge, £4.69m) and third-biggest (Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry, £3.46m). In between these was the Smirnoff Sorbet frozen RTD range (£3.68m).

Nielsen senior client manager Rob Zielski said that with the number of flavoured cider SKUs in the average multiple rising from eight to 14 in the last two years, NPD now faced a tougher task standing out against the competition.

“Flavoured cider remains one of the stand-out growth areas across BWS,” he said, “but it is true that new NPD is typically not performing as well in terms of absolute sales.”

In a further sign that fruit cider’s dominance of NPD is slipping, this year’s top 10 includes Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, which hit sales of £585,000, despite only launching in June. Among multiples, it is currently only in 497 Tesco stores. Zielski said he expected the cinnamon-flavoured whiskey to be much higher up the list at the end of the year.

“There are a few reasons why we would expect JD Fire to be a big success,” said Zielski. “JD Tennessee Honey was huge - it is currently in the top 20 spirits brands in terms of value sales. This new flavour has come over from the States, and trends in America are key to keep an eye on as we often follow suit. Cinnamon is also a very ‘on trend’ flavour; both Fire Eater and Fireball have seen strong growth in the last year.”