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Swedish Match boss on why 2021 will be the year of the nicotine pouch

January 11, 2021

Paola Midence, brand and trade manager at Swedish Match

The nicotine pouch market has developed fast in the UK, with a wealth of big-named backers launching brands during the past eighteen months. Paola Midence, brand and trade manager at Swedish match discusses the company’s Zyn brand and why 2021 will be a big year for the nicotine pouch market.

Based on the foundation we have built in 2019 and 2020, we believe that 2021 will be a good year for the nicotine pouch market. The tobacco market has been in transformation since the advent of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches is the continuation of this progression. We know that not one product fits all consumers’ needs and we are proud to be in a position to offer current tobacco and nicotine users an alternative reduced harm product.

One big issue for the year ahead will be whether the UK government will go for a new regulatory approach after Brexit. The category is currently regulated under product safety regulation but we believe that a more natural home for it would be alongside e-cigarettes and tobacco products, considering that the category is targeting the same consumers who are using products regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation.

Credit: Swedish Match

Given the UK’s commitment to tobacco harm reduction, we hope that we will be able to provide truthful information to our consumers about the relative risk of the nicotine pouches in the not too distant future in order for UK to achieve its ambitious Smokefree 2030 goal. We know from our very successful experience in USA that we have a good product with great acceptance from consumers, and we are certain that it has a big potential role to play in the market alongside other reduced risk products.

The nicotine pouch market is still very small in the UK and one challenge for us will be to ‘spread the gospel’ around the category and how it fits alongside the current tobacco and nicotine market. Our ZYN brand has been developed to target current users of tobacco and nicotine, but we have limited means to explain to our consumers the intricacies of the category due to current regulations on tobacco advertising. But again, revised regulation may change that. It is clear that we have a big job ahead of us to educate UK consumers about this new category.

In general, our plans for 2021 include putting increased efforts into understanding our consumers and making sure we engage with them as part of a relevant and authentic conversation. This means understanding not just what they want, but also when it might be most relevant to them.

We believe pouches have an incredibly important role to play, alongside vapes, in helping adult nicotine users discover different ways to enjoy a tobacco-free, smoke-free nicotine experience. As of now, we have portfolio of seven products which provide a variety of flavours and strengths. ZYN offers Cool Mint, Citrus and Espressino in 3 and 6 mg and Spearmint in 1.5 mg formats.

In 2021, we expect more flavours and strengths to be incorporated in the portfolio which gives a great opportunity to vape retailers since they are the only ones that can carry the whole portfolio, giving their customers the widest possible choice. ZYN can now be found in tobacconists and vape shops as well as in Waitrose and Sainsbury´s supermarkets. We expect to make the product readily available to consumers by increasing our distribution both in-store and online this year.

Three key facts about nicotine pouches

  1. It all started with Snus Traditional Snus pouches remain, for now, illegal in the UK but the market is hugely popular in its native Scandinavia and highlights the potential opportunity for the modern pouch market.
  2. Pouches are a US hit ZYN is one of a number of brands – such as VELO and Dryft – to have found success in the USA. Investment in product development and branding have made this category one to watch Stateside.
  3. Pouches can be used anywhere Unlike tobacco, or even vape, nicotine pouches can be used in places such as gyms or aeroplanes as there is no smoke or vapour produced by those using them.