Innovative NPD driving accessories success in Scottish c-stores as smokers switch to RYO
TOBACCO accessories are now worth £28.7 million annually in Scotland, according to IRI figures for the 52 weeks to 24 January, meaning there’s plenty of sales opportunities to go around.
And when it comes to category growth, Gavin Anderson, head of sales at Republic Technologies UK, reckons NPD is in the driving seat.
“Innovative new product development combined with consumers spending more time at home over the last 12 months, with less day-to-day restrictions on tobacco use, has led to Scotland’s tobacco accessories market continuing to perform well.
“Since the start of the first lockdown last year, many people have started to shop more frequently at stores local to home, avoiding longer trips and large numbers of shoppers in supermarkets, and this is helping to maintain the strong performance of tobacco accessories in convenience stores,” he said.
Republic Technologies has accelerated its NPD programme recently, with rollouts across filters, papers and lighters.
Most recently, Republic Technologies launched a new range of Flavour Fusion Cards under its Swan filter brand.
Flavour Fusion Cards let existing adult smokers create their own level of flavour in a packet of cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco, by simply placing cards in packs and waiting.
The range includes Fresh Burst and Menthol flavours, priced at 39p RRP per card and available in outers containing 25 individual cards.
Anderson reckons the timing of the launch, in the wake of the menthol ban coming into force last year, plugs the gap left by menthol cigarettes.
“Following the change in legislation last May, there has been a considerable rise in the number of consumers making a conscious decision to find competitively-priced flavour alternatives to menthol cigarettes.
“Last year we introduced Swan Crushball Menthol capsule filters, which proved to be really popular, and our new Flavour Fusion Cards enable retailers to offer shoppers even more choice in flavour and format.
“The cards not only provide smokers with the ultimate in flavour impregnation, they enable retailers to capitalise on the growing interest in roll-your-own flavour innovation,” he said.
Republic Technologies has also been rolling out NPD with an environmental focus. The firm has launched more eco-friendly variants of its OCB cigarette papers, which Anderson said should appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
“Environmental considerations continue to influence shoppers, with increasing demand across all categories for more natural products, reduced packaging and removal of single-use plastics.
“This has led to a surge in demand for category-boosting products such as OCB Virgin Slim & Tips and OCB Organic Hemp Slim & Tips, which are unbleached papers and made using OCB natural gum which is sustainably sourced from African Acacia trees.
“There has been increased interest across all premium Paper & Tips formats in the convenience channel. Demand for OCB products is such that it is currently the fastest-growing paper brand in the UK market,” he said.