We are now just over six months away from the point when all tobacco sold through legitimate traders in Scotland will have to comply with EUTPD2 and UK plain pack rules.
RYO will see some of the biggest changes, not just a move to minimally branded standardised packaging but also a hike to a minimum permissible size of 30g.
The big players in RYO recognise the significance of the changes. However, for the time being they say make the most of the brands and packs that have made RYO the most successful part of the tobacco market but prepare and work with reps to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
At JTI, owner of the market-leading brand Amber Leaf as well as Sterling Rolling Tobacco and others, head of communications Jeremy Blackburn said: “With the introduction of TPD2 and plain packaging we are of course entering a new phase – and it is difficult to predict the actual date when TPD2 stock will appear on shelves for specific brands.”
But the JTI recommendations are clear.
Retailers should ensure they maintain a good selection of brands across all price segments to cater for the needs of their existing adult smoker customers and remain a destination of choice, the firm says.
It has now moved into the Be Prepared phase of its Your Guide Through Change programme and says retailers should use its JTI Advance retailer website and app to ensure they understand the changes and implement them in the best way.
It’s also launching a consumer information website and providing leaflets and posters to help retailers inform customers about the changes.
It strongly recommends that retailers consider pricing very carefully as PMPs disappear from the market and suggests that retailers should price at or below RRP.
At Imperial Tobacco Andrew Miller, head of field sales, said the firm was urging retailers to continue to sell lower weight packs of RYO while stocks last before the deadline of 20 May 2017.
“In a fully plain pack environment, there will naturally be some initial confusion in the market,” he said.
“Through our Partnering for Success platform we are continuing both to prepare and support retailers and adult smokers alike as the market gradually transitions to larger pack sizes.”
On pricing Imperial’s head of sales and marketing Sophie Hogg said losing PMPs would mean retailers would have to reassure customers that they are not being overcharged.
“Communicating that you sell tobacco products at the recommended retail price or below is likely to not only maintain shopper confidence and loyalty, but also protect in-store footfall and basket spend,” she said.