2 minutes of your time: Kieran Marsh

Kieran Marsh

As Nordic Spirit celebrates its first birthday and title of number one product in the new nicotine pouch category, we catch up with JTI’s Kieran Marsh to find out how the category is developing.

Factfile

Kieran Marsh has been at JTI UK for over a decade, working in a number of roles within marketing and sales, before assuming his current role as CTP Portfolio Brand Manager, where he oversees some of JTI’s most successful brands, like Nordic Spirit.

How is the 100% tobacco-free nicotine pouch category performing?

The category has continued to grow since it hit shelves last year. The response to Nordic Spirit in particular has been phenomenal as shoppers look for alternative nicotine products in addition to or instead of their usual tobacco or vaping choice. So much so, the category is now worth £380,410 a month, which equates to approximately £4.6m a year.

What can you tell us about Nordic Spirit?
Our 100% tobacco-free nicotine pouch range, Nordic Spirit, has gone from strength to strength since hitting shelves just over a year ago. As a result, it’s been the fastest growing tobacco-free nicotine pouch brand in Scotland over the last 10 months, so it’s safe to say that makes a successful first birthday! We are now also Scotland’s leading tobacco-free nicotine pouch brand, with a huge 89.4% market share, and are proud to have achieved this in such a short amount of time.

As many retailers will already know, we recently changed our design and introduced price-marked packs and a brand-new flavour into our range. Joining Mint and Bergamot Wildberry, Elderflower is also now available in a mellow 6mg and regular 9mg to offer even more choice to customers. Alongside this, by introducing price-marked packs into the market, we have been able to make purchasing decisions easier for adult smokers and vapers, and in turn help retailers’ profit from this growing category.

What is it about tobacco-free nicotine pouches that appeals to shoppers?
Simply put, adult customers love how convenient and discreet tobacco-free nicotine pouches can be, as it’s really easy to use when smoking or vaping might not be possible. Nordic Spirit has a gum base, which allows the pouch to fit comfortably under the top or bottom lip and can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere for up to an hour.

What should retailers do to maximise sales of these products?
With the tobacco-free nicotine pouch market still relatively new, the key thing is to make sure that retailers have up-to-date knowledge and are keeping up with trends in the category. We know that customers will look to their retailers to advise them on new products and will of course have questions. If a retailer can confidently answer and explain what the product is, and why it could be a good option for the customer, shoppers will begin to trust the retailer and continue to return and purchase such products. As always, retailers can use JTI’s online educational tool, JTI Advance, for more information on prices, merchandising and how to communicate the category, or contact their local sales rep for further advice.

Have you seen any impact on sales following the Characterising Flavour Ban?
While it’s currently too early to comment on the exact impact of the characterising flavour ban and the direct changes it has made to different categories, we know that Nordic Spirit has been performing extremely well in recent months.

With the mint flavour our best-seller in Scotland at the moment, we expect this to grow in popularity as existing adult smokers look at what other products are available to them – and would therefore recommend retailers stock up on such flavours.

How big can the category get in the UK?
The future is really promising for this category as more and more shoppers find out about Nordic Spirit and why it could be a good option for them and their lifestyle. We already know that the category is continuing to grow in the UK, and with the demand being so high, we will always look to innovate and listen to exactly what consumers and retailers want – whether that be new flavours, strengths and even merchandising initiatives as retailers’ ranges grow.