Research released this week by VicHealth into the attitudes of Australian cider drinkers has been strongly welcomed by Cider Australia.
The President of Cider Australia, James Kendell said “this analysis reveals some interesting patterns about the way people drink which can only improve the way the industry and government educates consumers about what they’re drinking”.
“That drinkers are turning to cider in droves is fantastic, both for cider producers and Australian apple and pear growers, as long as we are talking about ‘real’ cider made by fermenting the juice of apples and pears”, said Mr Kendell.
“Unfortunately, an absence of labelling requirements in Australia means that you can call anything cider, even a beverage that is effectively an apple or pear flavoured ‘alcopop’”.
Cider Australia cautions against drawing detailed conclusions from any research on cider in Australia without further work to disaggregate the category.
“There are significant differences between traditional ciders and apple flavoured ‘alcopops’ when it comes to health, in particular the sugar content and level of antioxidants”, said Mr Kendell.
Mr Kendell stated that “until consumers are given information about exactly what is in a beverage, analysis on behaviour will have to be taken with a grain of salt”.
“What our producers are finding, and this is evidenced in the VicHealth study, is that consumers do want to know what’s in a drink for all sorts of reasons – obviously for flavour but also health reasons”.
The President also noted that Cider Australia is particularly encouraged that the research reveals regular cider drinkers were more likely to consider ‘taste’ than non-cider drinkers when choosing a beverage, and more likely to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
“This should help us sustain the vast quality improvements seen in Australian produced cider in recent years – last year for instance an Australian producer took out the top prize in the annual Australian Cider Awards for the first time, ahead of 160 local and international entries”, Mr Kendell said.
Cider Australia also noted that the alcohol content of the majority of cider sold in Australia is already 4.5% and below.