THE UK tobacco market is set for some big changes from May, when all products will have to follow EUTPD2 and UK standardised packaging regulations.
However, not all items associated with the category will be affected. Papers and filters, for example, will still carry company branding, and be available in various pack formats, including ‘all in one’ RYO pouches and boxes that contain tobacco, rolling papers and, in certain cases, tips.
Recent trends have seen a shift in value-seeking adult smoker gravitating towards ‘all in one’ RYO packs, and Imperial Tobacco expects this trend to continue.
Its own range of accessories includes papers brand Rizla.
Andrew Miller, head field sales, said: “At an RRP of 65p for a pack of 50, Rizla Regular Green continues to be the nation’s favourite RYO paper, while we also produce thinner papers (Rizla Slim Blue, Slim Silver and Micron) for more experienced rollers.
“Our wide range also includes menthol papers plus an organic offering that’s due to be launched later in the year, Rizla Natura. There is also a Rizla-branded range of filter tips. Separate accessory offerings like Rizla rolling papers consistently deliver high margins to retailers, so we’d advise them to stock a wide range.”
Miller said Imperial has seen evidence of customer confusion around the new regulations in the market, and independent retailers will play a crucial role in educating adult smokers moving forwards towards May.
“To assist them, we have
provided the trade with a suite of educational materials in their Partnering for Success START packs, and we would advise retailers to use them as the basis of any conversations around the loss of price-marked packs (PMPs), new incoming minimum pack sizes etc,” he said.
“As the category heads towards May, tobacco pricing will play a critical role in the independent trade. While convenience stores will need to manage their own pricing strategies particularly carefully during this period of legislative change, Imperial Tobacco has reiterated the importance of competitive pricing during this time of consumer uncertainty.
“Retailers pricing at recommended retail price or below and making customers aware that they sell tobacco products at these competitive price points, for instance, is a great way for the independent trade to continue to foster loyalty while also minimising any potential channel shifts.”