Based on consumer demand, Swedish Match North America (SMNA) has pulled the loose cut version of General Snus from its 20,000 US retail locations catalog. About 98% of all General Snus sold over the counter (OTC) in US convenience and tobacco stores is of the portion snus variety.
Swedish Match US (SMUS) has indefinitely cancelled the latest planned release this month of General Nordic Mint portion snus and General Classic Blend portion snus in new-design metal cans.
Both General Nordic Mint and Classic Blend will continue to be sold over-the-counter in the US in their original oblong plastic cans.....same snus; same cans. Let not your heart be troubled for now and read on.....
On May 2nd 2011, Swedish Match US introduced a new natural flavor moist snuff into select US cities: Ettan Snuff. Ettan Snuff joins Redman, Longhorn and Timberwolf in Swedish Match's American offerings of moist snuff and chewing tobacco. I recently spoke at length with Joe Ackerman; Director of US Smokefree Products - Swedish Match US, about the Ettan Snuff pilot project.
While cigarette use continues to decline in the United States, the smokeless tobacco category has been experiencing average 6% increases over for the five years into 2010. For the last 12 months alone, smokeless tobacco sales have grown over 10%.
This trend has not gone unnoticed in the tobacco industry (or unfortunately by the tax collectors). Of the above, Swedish snus is finally a blip on the radar but the majority of the smokeless tobacco sales in the US are of American dip and chew; moist snuff and chewing tobacco.
If you're wondering why I am writing an article about a new moist snuff offering instead of a new snus offering, I'm doing both...and neither. What the new Ettan Snuff pilot in the US represents to me is a brilliant example of a Swedish snus manufacturer proactively turning the tables on Big American Tobacco.
There are currently two major trade shows for the tobacco industry. One of these is Tobacco Plus Expo. This years TPE was held in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3rd and 4th. They say that "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". As far as snus and reduced harm/modified risk tobacco products go, this show should have never happened at all; in Las Vegas or anywhere else.
Attendance was down at Tobacco Plus Expo in 2009 compared to 2008. This was blamed by some on the show being in New Orleans which despite the scars of Katrina, is still a beautiful and haunting city to me.
Since Las Vegas is still the convention capital of the United States despite President Obama's pleas to Americans to "stop wasting their money in Las Vegas" (or even on vacations in general), the hosting city could not be blamed for the low turnout of both exhibitors and attendees.
The Road Trip to Sweden Series: June 2009, chronicals Larry Waters' diplomatic mission to Stockholm and Gothenburg Sweden. Swedish Match AB "suggested" he come visit them concerning the Joakim/Markus in "alleged" captivity issue and some other things. SnusCENTRAL in Sweden: it wasn't like the old Danish invasions of centuries past, but comes pretty close!
During our tour of the Swedish Match Gothenburg Snus Factory, we were shown a number of places we were not allowed to photograph. For example, this photo is from the upper level shooting down to the Gothenburg factory production floor.
In a diplomatic coup, we were allowed to walk the production floor and get a close-up look at a number of things like how the Star Formations are made and placed in the snus cans. I was actually inches away from the legendary "rewetting process".
Absolutely no pictures were allowed on the production floor. This wasn't necessarily bad as the next photo illustrates how one dresses for a clean room environment. At this point we had left the production floor and taken off our sanitary hats. I won't describe the disinfecting process prior to dressing and there are no pictures of that happening which I know of. I won't even tell my wife the procedure.
They didn't always tell us we couldn't photograph something, but there were many times that as I pulled out my camera, I heard a Swedish Match Security Guard unholstering and cocking his pistol. When I put my camera away, I heard the firearm decocked and reholstered. I caught on pretty quickly.
One of the rooms at the Gothenburg Snus Factory we were not allowed to photograph or film was the Flavoring Room. Here, rows of sealed shiny stainless steel containers labeled with each Swedish Match snus name made in Gothenburg and containing the particular tobacco mix used in that brand received the flavoring which make each so unique.
As a police escort led my armoured limousine down Canal Street towards the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, you could still see the signs of Hurricane Katrina. Scattered condemned buildings; other homes and buildings still under reconstruction, but it was still New Orleans. Cracking the heavily tinted, bullet-proof window as we passed a group of restaurants, the mouth-watering aroma of Cajun food filled the limo. The old cemeteries with their beautiful, yet haunting mausoleums stood as though Katrina had never happened. It was good to be back.
Today was the opening day of Tobacco Plus Expo 2009; where tobacco and tobacco products manufacturers, distributors, retailers and VIP's like me gathered together, quoting the Show Directory, "Where relationships are established and business is done".
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