CHICAGO -- From soon-to-be-available vaping devices to award-winning limited-time offers (LTOs), the exhibit floor at the 2017 NACS Show offered an array of announcements and featured products designed to keep the tobacco category vital leading into the coming year.
Additional flavors, technology introductions and marketing strategies seemed abundant across the many tobacco- and e-cigarette-focused booths, providing retailers a breadth of opportunity beyond any single product.
Here are a few of the many innovations, modifications and yes, of course, products that stood out …
Altria Group Distribution Company
Designed as an intimate hall of separately themed, brand-specific rooms, the booth from Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Distribution Company featured its many cigarette, e-cig and other tobacco products (OTP) brands. The rooms provided retailers and wholesalers a unique opportunity to be immersed in each of the Altria Operating Companies brands, which was a strategic change in 2017. Within the half-dozen-or-so rooms of note, the company’s recently acquired Nat Sherman brand showcased its line of premium products.
Creating one of the more unusual booths on the show floor, Geneva-based JTI chose not to feature any of its tobacco products. Instead, it used a carnival theme to pose a question about how regulations are threatening consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. It was designed to shine a light on how, in many countries, health warnings and packaging regulations now plaguing the tobacco category can spill over to soda, energy drinks, alcohol and candy.
In its booth, San Francisco-based JUUL Labs featured starter kits with flavored pods. Mango was the featured flavor at the NACS Show. The JUUL device has regulated temperature control and uses nicotine salts found in the tobacco leaf rather than the free-base nicotine found in standard e-cigarettes, officials said.
Kretek International Inc.
Kretek International Inc., Moorpark, Calif., displayed its Djarum Black Ultra Smooth cigar, which the company said has an easy draw and distinct experience. The cigar targets both men and women with a balance of aroma and taste, giving retailers a high-margin, high-sales product, the company said. Djarum Black Ultra Smooth cigars are available in a four-pack or 12-pack.
Logic Technology Development LLC
Princeton, N.J.-based Logic Technology Development LLC featured, among other items, its VapeLeaf product. VapeLeaf works by passing heated vapor through ground tobacco to capture the true tobacco flavor in every puff, the company said. Its unique process doesn’t heat tobacco directly, so there’s no smoke smell or ash that comes with burning.
Coming out of bankruptcy, NJOY, Scottsdale, Ariz., is reestablishing itself with its retailer-distribution base, offering a set of flavored vaping and electronic-cigarette products. Company representatives said their products have a familiar, “easy form” and a chemical makeup that doesn’t dry the throat, describing it as a “softer” experience as opposed to combustible cigarettes.
Prime Time International
Phoenix-based Prime Time International featured Tropical Little Cigars, a flavor in its limited-edition line. A blend of premium tobacco, pineapple, coconut and spices, Tropical Little Cigars are available for a limited time in singles and 20-count packs and cartons.
Reynolds American Inc.
In addition to spotlighting its Newport Platinum brand, which was rolled out nationally over the summer, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. used a cityscape-themed booth to feature its full portfolio of products, including Camel, Natural American Spirit, Pall Mall, Grizzly and Vuse.
Scandinavian Tobacco Group
Expect a lot in 2018 from Tucker, Ga.-based Scandinavian Tobacco Group, as it updates its portfolio for the coming year. Part of that plan, representatives said, includes reaching out to tobacco users. The company’s focus will continue to be the concept of premium products throughout the store, extending the theme typically reserved for beer and alcohol to the backbar. The company also featured its Talon-branded cigars and pipe tobaccos, Cricket lighters and a spit-free tobacco product called Oliver Twist.
Spark Vapor Brands showed its lines of closed-tank, electronic-vaping systems from Cig2o and Vapage. Camarillo, Calif.-based Spark Industries’ products and pricing are designed for convenience stores, with a risk-free display placement program featured at the NACS Show, the company said.
Swedish Match featured its White Owl Emerald and Platinum cigar lines, which include unflavored, unsweetened cigars made with an all-natural premium blend of tobaccos from around the world. White Owl Emerald has a green wrapper and White Owl Platinum has a traditional brown wrapper. The Richmond, Va.-based company also promoted a second line called Game Diamond, an unsweetened, unflavored cigarillo with a premium wrapper and filler.
Banana Smash cigarillos, one of the many products on display at the Swisher International booth, received a product award as a retailer favorite from CSP magazine. Jane Green, vice president of marketing with the Darien, Conn.-based Swisher, accepted the award on the show floor, saying that it was one of the company’s most successful LTOs and that it will return to the market in an Encore format.
U.S. Tobacco Cooperative
With its purchase of King Maker Marketing last year, U.S. Tobacco Cooperative and Premier Manufacturing bought four value-priced cigarette brands: Ace, Gold Crest, Checkers and Hi-Val. At the NACS Show, the company featured repackaged versions of the Ace and Gold Crest brands. Both are now made in the United States and use flue-cured tobacco from the cooperative’s growers as the main ingredient. Ace packaging uses primary colors, while Gold Crest has a high-end redesign, representatives said.