Tobacco category remains key for retailers

Plenty to be positive about

The L&B Blue Bright Air Filter has an RRP of £8.70

RETAILERS selling nicotine products have had a lot to get their head around in recent years.

From the increased regulatory demands brought about by EUTPD II,  to the rapid rise of vaping, it is a constantly changing category that can prove challenging to keep on top of.

But according to Imperial Tobacco, nicotine products still offer plenty of opportunities for retailers, and the firm is backing that up by investing in NPD in the UK.

Duncan Cunningham, head of corporate and legal affairs at Imperial Tobacco UK, pointed to the firm’s new roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco brand Riverstone as an example of its recent innovation.

“It offers a high quality, easy-to-roll blend at an affordable price, and is cut using an innovative, bespoke manufacturing technique,” he said.

“Designed to appeal to FMC smokers moving over to the RYO sector as well as dualists, Riverstone offers a smooth taste at a great value price point.

“It’s available now in both 30g and 50g packs, at RRPs of £11 and £18.15.”

Riverstone is Imperial’s newest RYO tobacco

Another recent innovation from Imperial is an extension of its L&B range. New L&B Blue Bright Air Filter combines a recess in the filter tip with a firmer filter structure, as Cunningham explained.

“The product has been developed to satisfy the needs of modern adult smokers looking for a combination of premium features and a smoother smoking experience, while remaining at a great value price point,” he said.

Imperial products to one side, Cunningham also pointed to a positive future for the tobacco industry in general.

“Even with the introduction of EUTPD II and standardised packaging regulations, we still see clear opportunities to bring products to market that meet consumer demand and ensure adult smokers continue to enjoy new tobacco experiences.

“The EUTPD II and standardised packaging regulations have brought challenges, but numerous opportunities still exist to bring products to the market that meet evolving consumer demand.

“We anticipate greater growth in our key accounts and only a minimal decrease in volume of sales caused by EUTPD II regulations.”

Cunningham added that the convenience sector still held a 55% share of tobacco sales, a figure that has remained relatively static since 2013/2014.

The overall UK tobacco market sits at approximately £18 billion in volume for 2018/2019, according to Cunningham, with RYO performing particularly well.

The crushball (capsule) subcategory also continues to flourish, according to Cunningham, standing at over 15% of the overall FMC market.

“If they don’t already do so, retailers should consider stocking our award-winning JPS Player’s Crushball (£8.70 RRP for a pack of 20) and JPS Crushball (£9.35 RRP for a pack of 20).

“We have also recently released an exciting new Rizla Crushball filter tip. The squeezable filter tip means adult smokers will be able to ‘click’ to enjoy the taste of mint whenever they roll their own.”