CAN (ON): Vineland researches cider profiles and consumer preference

Seven million litres of local craft cider flowing into the market by 2020 is a tall order and one Vineland Research and Innovation Centre's (Vineland) research team is working to ensure becomes a reality.

The work is based on the cider research and innovation strategy developed in partnership with the Ontario Craft Cider Association and the Ontario Apple Growers in 2016 and serves as a roadmap for the fledgling industry.

Amy Bowen, PhD, Vineland’s Research Director, Consumer Insights, is working to better understand consumer preference drivers of hard apple cider and flavour profiles preferred by consumers to determine how thirsty they are for something more complex.

Utilizing Vineland’s trained sensory panel, her research team developed a lexicon of 22 sensory attributes to describe taste, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and colour of hard apple ciders.

Based on sensory differences, profiles for 50 commercial ciders (including top-selling brands at the LCBO, ranging from imported to domestic and Ontario craft ciders) were grouped into five categories related to taste, mouthfeel and colour attributes.

Consumer preference tastings were completed in October 2017 with 15 ciders from the 50 profiled.

Qualified participants rated liking for each cider, described the cider using a provided list of terms and completed a questionnaire around consumption and purchasing habits.

While the research analysis continues, available results indicate most consumers prefer sweet ciders with specific descriptors including tropical fruit and candy-apple.

Interestingly, two of three top-rated ciders tasted by study participants are not among the top five-selling cider brands at the LCBO.

For more information on the Cider Research and Innovation Strategy, visit and check out media centre/latest reports.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

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