A growing number of craft cider makers in New Zealand are calling for compulsory information labels on cider packaging. They are concerned that consumers may be unaware that some ciders have a high sugar content and others contain a low percentage of actual fruit juice. Currently, alcoholic beverages are not required to include ingredient or nutrition information on labelling unless nutritional or health claims are made.
The most high profile target of the fledgling campaign is Swedish brand Rekorderlig which makes a range of popular beverages which are labelled and marketed as cider but are actually a fruit wine product. That is the reason six of their ten brands are not allowed to be sold in New Zealand supermarkets which can only sell beer, wine (including fruit wine) and cider. The Ministry for Primary Industries defines fruit wine products as drinks which can contain at least 70 per cent fruit wine as well as other foods, including food additives.
Fruit Wine and Cider Makers’ Association cider spokesman David Sax said adding nutritional information to cider would educate consumers about what type of cider they are actually buying. Motueka traditional cider maker Peckham’s Cider co-owner Caroline Peckham said “wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had to just declare what’s in it and then the public can make their own choices?”
Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand 2014 champion brewery Townshend Brewing owner Martin Townshend said he would love to see sugar and water content made compulsory on cider labelling. Townshend cider, also from Motueka, is made from 100 per cent New Zealand apple juice and contained no added sugar or water, Townshend said.
MPI is in the process of developing guidance for cider and fruit wines which is expected to be released in the next few months.