Me and My Brand: Kieran Marsh on Nordic Spirit

Kieran Marsh, Portfolio Brand Manager at JTI UK, looks back over a year in which the company’s Nordic Spirit nicotine pouch has taken the market by storm, switching smokers to a fully satisfying but much less harmful product.

0
Kieran Marsh

Can you please give an overview of your brand?

Nordic Spirit is JTI’s range of 100 per cent tobacco-free nicotine pouches. Convenient and discreet, Nordic Spirit can be used in situations where smoking or vaping is not possible. It 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.

Nordic Spirit is available in three flavours – Mint, Bergamot Wildberry and now Elderflower – and in two strengths (a regular 6mg and strong 9mg), as well as a stronger 12mg variant of the Mint version.

It currently has an RRP of £6.50, though retailers are of course free to sell JTI products at whatever price they choose.

How is your brand currently performing? 

It has now been a year since Nordic Spirit was launched in the UK – so you could say the brand is celebrating its first birthday! We’re excited by the product’s success so far, and believe if it’s not already, it will become an integral part of retailers’ next-gen nicotine ranges.

Nordic Spirit has gone from strength to strength since hitting shelves just over a year ago. As a result, it is now the UK’s leading tobacco-free nicotine pouch brand, with a huge 90.5 per cent market share. So it’s safe to say that makes a successful first year. We are proud to have achieved this in such a short amount of time.

 

How is the tobacco-free nicotine pouch market currently performing? 

Tobacco-free nicotine pouches are certainly emerging as a popular alternative for smokers and vapers. The category as a whole is growing, with a value of over £380,000 a month, which equates to around £4.6 million a year. More importantly for Britain’s independent retailers, it is in Convenience that nicotine pouches are having a significant impact, with 88.9 per cent of total UK sales coming through that channel. It presents a profit opportunity that independent retailers would be wise to capitalise on.

Do you have any new product development? 

As many retailers will already know, we recently changed our design, introduced price marked packs and a brand-new flavour into our range. Joining Mint and Bergamot Wildberry, Elderflower is also now available in a regular 6mg and strong 9mg to offer even more choice to customers. We have also introduced a 12mg strength version of the Mint to the range, to help cater for every preference.

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.

 

How are you supporting your brand & NPD? 

JTI has significantly invested in the Nordic Spirit range over the past year, including widespread trade and consumer activation plans.

The emphasis has been on building awareness of the Nordic Spirit range amongst consumers, with large scale above, below and through-the-line campaigns running across the last 12 months, including advertising in key national and consumer titles. We are focused on educating existing adult smokers and vapers on the brand, as well as encouraging trialling and driving word of mouth.

JTI also remains committed to supporting its retail partners, to help them maximise sales of the Nordic Spirit range and grow their business for the long-term. To support retailers investing in the new tobacco-free nicotine pouch category, JTI’s strong sales force is dedicated to visiting retailers, sharing merchandising advice, product knowledge and market information.

We have likewise been providing the trade with merchandising and display solutions and supporting them with product and category education materials for staff.

How important are independent retailers to your brand? 

As I’ve mentioned, the majority of nicotine pouches in the UK are being sold through convenience stores. This means that independent retailers are integral to the success of the Nordic Spirit brand. Customers trust their local store-owners and turn to them for advice and information on new products. With the tobacco-free nicotine pouch category being relatively new, this relationship is vital, as customers will have questions and will seek recommendations.

The key thing, then, is for retailers to make sure they have up-to-date knowledge and are keeping up with trends in the category. If a retailer can confidently answer and explain what the product is, and why it could be a good option for the customer, shoppers continue to return and purchase such products. As always, retailers can use JTI’s online educational tool, JTI Advance, or contact their local sales rep for further advice.

What trends are occurring in the sector? 

Within the category, 9mg is the more popular strength compared to the 6mg variant, with over 50 per cent of the market share. In terms of flavour split, the UK nicotine pouch market is currently around 70 per cent menthol and 30 per cent fruit. We recommend that retailers maintain a consolidated range of strengths and flavours.

Describe your brand in four words…

Never miss a moment.

 


Sales figures based on IRI Market Place report for Nicotine Pouch Category, Total UK, May 2020