Over the past few years the increased availability of premium tobacco products like e-cigarettes and pipes has boosted market growth. To keep up with growth projections and stand out amongst competitors, tobacco and nicotine brands must find new ways to not only differentiate their products but also protect children from ingesting potentially harmful substances. To do this, the tobacco and nicotine market can look to other markets for guidance
Products in other industries and markets are getting noticed and answering consumers’ demands by making the switch from rigid packaging to flexible. Tobacco and nicotine brands have the opportunity to utilize flexible reclosable packaging attributes such as convenience, safety, and shelf presence as drivers of growth and differentiation – all while unlocking the positive benefits brand owners have seen from switching to flexible packaging including: reduced production cost, consumer convenience, transportation efficiencies, consumer lifestyles, and sustainability.
The team at Fresh-Lock® has identified key opportunities for cigar, e-cigarette and e-liquid, loose leaf tobacco, and smoking cessation markets to help forward-thinking brands get noticed in the eyes of today’s shoppers.
Convenience and Freshness for Cigars and Loose Leaf Tobacco
When it comes to the tobacco and nicotine market, cigars and loose leaf tobacco are products that can benefit from packaging that enhances convenience and freshness. Mintel identifies that 82 percent of U.S. consumers believe reclosability is an important feature on a package. Not only does reclosability add an effortless opening and closing experience for consumers, it helps keep products fresher for a longer period of time.
Cigar smoking is a relaxing and celebratory activity enjoyed by many consumers on the golf course or after dinner. Cigar packaging is typically found in two formats: individual cellophane-wrapped cigars or bulk packs found in wooden boxes or tins. While traditional in nature, these formats offer minimal barrier and convenience.
Groundbreaking cigar brands are already starting to take advantage of the benefits of flexible packaging by offering dual packs. These packs, combining resealable closures with flexible packaging, have increased barrier compared to traditional, individually-wrapped cigars.
The traditional cellophane packaging offers little freshness protection compared to flexible packaging films that can be customized for specific barrier requirements. New, three-side seal flexible resealable pouches for multi-pack cigars offer a larger billboard for graphics, making it easier for shoppers to notice bold cigar packages behind the counter.
Brands can even take their packaging to the next level by increasing packaging size. Four-packs with press-to-close zippers or a mini Slider are perfect for a four-some on the golf course, or individuals who want to keep their cigars fresh between smoking occasions. With over 70 percent of Americans preferring flexible packaging due to resealability, easy storage, and easy opening, cigar brands could discover easy wins by adding the convenience of a slightly larger flexible package with reclosability.
Included in the Other Tobacco Products (OTP) category, loose leaf tobacco for pipes and roll-your-own (RYO) are boosting in popularity among today’s hipster consumers.
“We continue to experience double-digit increases in our OTP sales. They began four years ago,” reported Steve Monaco, director of purchasing for Rockland, Mass.-based Tedeschi Food Shops, in a Convenience Store News article. “The renewed interest is a combination of three things: price, flavor, and new product introductions. I would say new product introductions are the No. 1 reason the category continues to grow.”
To differentiate and provide convenience in trending product categories, resealable flexible standup pouches can help satisfy consumers’ wants. Fresh-Lock® Ribbed Zippers are engineered to maximize seal integrity so package contents don’t spill. The addition of zippers on standup pouches help maintain flavor by keeping tobacco fresher, longer.
Paired with a clear window or kraft film designed to look like paper, brands can get noticed and better target shoppers who care about organic, natural products, too.
Child Safety for Vape and Smoking Cessation Products
As new products emerge into the tobacco and nicotine segment, the importance for child resistance packaging increases. In particular, the usage of vape pens and e-liquid amongst consumers has skyrocketed in recent years. This market is on a trajectory to grow at a double digit annual rate until at least 2025, according to BIS research.
Amid all this growth, companies are trying to navigate the packaging landscape to not only successfully brand but safely contain e-cigarettes and e-liquid. Brands are sometimes left wondering what packaging format to select for their brand.
While some e-cigarette and e-liquid products are currently packaged in rigid containers or boxes, flexible packaging is a contender that offers an abundance of benefits to both brands and consumers.
Flexible packaging creates enhanced consumer convenience and supply chain efficiencies, in addition to flat, large branding billboards. However, one of the real game changers is the fact that flexible packaging pouches can now be topped with child-resistant closures – a vital feature on these government-regulated products, and especially with recent announcements from the FDA and FTC regarding kids’ juice and lookalike e-liquid packaging confusing children.
Child-Guard® child-resistant sliders allow e-cigarette and e-liquid brands to utilize flexible packaging while incorporating required safety attributes. The Child-Guard® closure has been thoroughly tested and is an excellent choice for use with child-resistant flexible packages like bags and standup pouches. The child-resistant closure is designed to work for regulated products and meets Title 16 CFR 1700 of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) with ASTM D3475 classification from ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials).
On the other end of the spectrum falls smoking cessation products. Transdermal patches and nicotine gum, while typically found in paperboard cartons, can pose a risk to children if not properly stored or disposed. Data collected from the National Capitol Poison Center in Washington showed that there were 36 cases of children exposed to nicotine patches in a two-year period. Of that, 21 were from children who found used patches in the garbage or opened a package of new patches.
Additionally children may consume nicotine gum thinking it is regular chewing gum since it comes in mint and common fruit flavors. The Minnesota Poison Control System shares that “Each piece of nicotine gum contains 2 mg or 4 mg of nicotine. In small children chewing on even one piece of gum is a concern … even as little as 1 mg of nicotine can be poisonous.”
Nicotine gum brands can stand out by offering gum in flexible standup pouches with child-resistant sliders to keep kids out. Again, flexible packaging offers more room for brands to share product details and branding, while being forward thinkers in the category by offering child resistance.
While protecting children, flexible reclosable packaging can help brands get placement on store shelves when using retail-ready packaging. While gaining additional billboard space on cardboard retail-ready boxes, this display technique also helps reduce stocking time at grocery stores. Read more about retail-ready packaging for value, club, and traditional grocery stores in our recent article.
Getting Started with Flexible Reclosable Packaging
With over 20 years in the tobacco packaging industry, the team at Fresh-Lock® has learned the ins and outs of successfully packaging products for this segment. If you consider your brand to be a trailblazer that puts an emphasis on convenience and safety, let’s talk. While we listed just a few flexible packaging closure opportunities, solutions can be customized to fit your brand’s goals and requirements. Learn how to get started with flexible reclosable packaging in our article and contact the knowledgeable experts at Fresh-Lock® to get the conversation started online or at (800) 265-0750.