The National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) has ruled the term 'pear cider' can be used in the marketing and labelling of perries - made from fermented pear juice.

Products made from other fermented fruit cannot be called ciders under the revised code.

"There is such a close relationship between the production methods of cider and perry that we are relaxed about the use of the term pear cider for the latter," said spokesman Simon Russell.

"There are many differing methods for producing other fruit and alcohol drinks and these products should not be referred to as fruit ciders. These products should be referred to as cider with something."

The change in the code came about during a review of the body's code of practice, Russell confirmed.

"There has been much innovation in the category over the past few years and, because of the rise in the popularity of cider, there is a marketing advantage to adding the term cider to a label. We were concerned that consumer confidence and understanding of the product should be maintained. "

A few NACM members would have preferred to maintain the two separate terms, said Russell, but it was a "pragmatic decision".

Merrydown MD Chris Carr welcomed the ruling. "There was some concern that not being allowed to use the term pear cider would give imported products an unfair advantage in a market where consumers are confused about what perry is," he said.

The change will come into force over the next six months to allow producers to work through existing label stocks.

"It is important all products sold by NACM members are accurately named so they fully conform to regulations," said NACM consultant Nick Bradstock. "More importantly we must reassure consumers that the essential integrity of the products is being maintained," he added.