Show and tell?


Even dieticians don’t advocate a Spartan existence and encourage the need for balance. Elliot says: “As part of a healthy, balanced diet, a food item such as a cream liqueur that is calorific but with poor nutritional value of micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals), should be consumed in moderation. Obviously many health-conscious consumers will therefore choose to avoid such products.

“However, the key to a healthy, balanced diet is indeed balance and the necessity to indulge in something a little more decadent once in a while can promote wellbeing in other ways. I therefore expect many consumers out there, even those of a health-conscious disposition, would still enjoy a cream liqueur tipple from time to time,” says Elliot.

The emphasis for the marketing teams and powers that be, therefore, needs to be on why their cream liqueur is worth the calorie intake. One way of doing this is to talk up the quality.

Dino D Araujo, Amarula global general manager at Distell, says this is true across the board. “Consumers across all alcohol beverages seem to be moving towards better quality brands, made with care and craftsmanship,” he says. “I believe this underscores the success of many of the trends within the global drinks category – the growth of craft beer, the resurgence of novelty gins and the continued growth of high-end cocktails. While there are easier ways to make cream liqueur, we choose not to follow these.”

This quality trend could not come soon enough for many producers, who have struggled against the tide of inferior products and uninformed consumers. “Due to the continuous influx of low-priced, poor-quality cream liqueurs in the past years, premium brands had to significantly improve their product quality to differentiate themselves,” says Florian Iro, CEO of Mozart Distillerie. “High-quality, attractive packaging and unique stories are the key to increased consumer confidence and loyalty.”

Iro says it’s a continuous challenge and communication must improve for consumers to know the difference in quality with low-priced, mostly artificial liqueurs. “Price-driven markets don’t have an understanding of elaborate maceration processes or high quality ingredients.” A way of combatting this, Iro says, would be to put more focus on tradition and quality, “as this is where our costs are bound”. He adds: “Consumers are very much willing to pay a high price for an aged whisky.”

As a category, cream liqueurs has struggled – world sales volumes were down 2% from 2010 to 2015, according to Euromonitor International. To break that down further, cream liqueur sales were in double-digit decline in western Europe (17%) and experienced single-digit losses in eastern Europe (6%) and Australasia (5%). North America – the second biggest market after western Europe – is, however, a beacon of light, with gains of 10%. The future also looks relatively bright as world sales volumes are projected to increase by 2% in the next five years.

Kerrygold’s Murphy thinks new entrants and a push towards premium will drive this change in fortunes. “After a long period of relative inertia, the category has started to become exciting again,” he says. “In the past few years we have seen new entrants at the higher end of the price ladder. As more brands join, they breathe new life into the category, which can only be a positive. It leads to a re-energising of the category, and this is something I am excited about.”