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Cordial Invitation

Cool and refreshing natural cordials are perfect for hot summer days, and there are more than ever to choose from 

For decades the highly competitive UK drinks market has remained dominated by global giants, brands that have long since established themselves as household names. Yet in recent years, the likes of the Coca-Cola Co., Britvic and Red Bull have faced more market disruption than possibly any other sector of the food and drink industry (with the exception of the micro-brewery/craft beer trend that has challenged the major brewing company’s market share over a similar time period). 

With constantly changing consumer demands and preferences, more sophisticated purchase patterns and rapid changes in lifestyles, the global soft drink market is growing and mutating at ever-increasing speed. Three of the man drivers behind this evolution are a growing concern about consuming too much sugar (particularly refined), an increasing preference for ‘natural’ ingredients, and a broadening, more adventurous palette, which has created an appetite for more unusual flavours and flavour combinations. 

In a world full of smoothies and exotic energy drinks, squash may, until recently, have been viewed by many as an old-fashioned and irrelevance; the over-diluted accompaniment to the kid’s birthday parties of yesteryear. Yet by playing to all the consumer desires and requirements listed above, the cordial market in the UK is currently undergoing nothing short of a major renaissance, with a study by Kantar Worldpanel, taken between September 2017 and 2018, revealing that cordial is now the fastest growing sector of the adult soft drinks category. 

Posh Squash 

It’s undoubtedly the widening range of sophisticated flavours that has driven the huge surge in adult-orientated squash, led by the resurgent interest in elderflower-based cordials spearheaded by brands such as Belvoir Fruit Farms and Bottlegreen, as Pev Manners, the MD of Belvoir Fruit Farms confirms. “Elderflower is still our leading cordial, but we have also seen large growth from other flavours, notably Ginger, Blueberry & Blackcurrant, and Raspberry & Lemon.” 

Such products are the antithesis of the lurid 70s and 80s era of squashes, full of added sugars, artificial colourants and E numbers. Playing to a repertoire of natural ingredients found for centuries in country garden, hedgerow or field; ingredients like elderflower, rhubarb, mint and rose that happily accompany traditional English fruits such as apples, raspberries and blackcurrants, has not only attracted new consumers looking for an authentic, natural product free of refined sugars, but also cleverly tapped into the nostalgia of an older market at the same time. 

The appeal of “natural, true tastes” means that many shoppers are now “prepared to pay a premium for quality” agrees Mark Edge, head of soft drinks at Bottlegreen. “They are trading up in the quest for real ingredients and flavour.” 

Quenching the Urge 

Another important factor in the upswing in adult cordials and soft drinks has undoubtedly been the steady decline in alcohol consumption over the past. With Generation Z and Millennials far more conscious of the health risks involved with frequent, habitual alcohol consumption, social drinking on a regular basis was only regarded as acceptable by one-in-ten under-30s. 

Nevertheless, many of this cohort still want to go out with their peers even when they’re not imbibing alcohol, and the grown-up tastes and flavours and combinations available within these new ranges of adult-oriented cordials provide the ideal alternative; refreshing, sharing many of the same ingredients as classic cocktails, and entirely hangover free. 

At Maws we can supply you with quenching cordials from the Belvoir Fruit farms Range, whether it’s classic Elderflower (picked from their own 90-acre organic plantation and still their biggest seller), exotic Lime & Lemongrass, or new summer favourite Blueberry & Blackcurrant. This summer, flavourful refreshment is just a twist of the tap away.