For about a decade now, we’ve watched as flavor-centric trends have taken off across drinking and smoking markets. In the early 2010s (and arguably before then), we saw craft beers and ciders redefine the industry for social drinking around much of the world. Somewhat more recently, we witnessed the skyrocketing popularity of vaping as a smoking alternative. Granted, The Guardian reported recently on a government crackdown, which could signal the de facto “end” of vaping, it was flavoured cartridges that powered the market’s emergence. And finally, an explosion in tasty craft cocktails has occurred in the early 2020s. As per our own piece on Smirnoff Seltzer’s new range of drinks, beverages like these deliver all kinds of inventive flavours, sparking natural intrigue among consumers and often yielding lucrative sales.
Put these trends together, and it’s clear that while consumers are often intrigued by new products –– bottles of beer from new breweries, a whole new device for smoking, cocktails in cans, etc. –– flavour has been at the core of emerging markets. And lately, it has become evident that this trend is continuing in the form of an appealing new smoking alternative.
This alternative is what’s known as the nicotine pouch –– a small capsule of nicotine and fibres that users can lodge between their upper lips and gums. The purpose of the pouches is to release controlled doses of nicotine over time (usually 30 minutes at once). This in turn helps the user to satisfy cravings and avoid smoking withdrawal without consuming tobacco. There is no need to chew gum, smoke a vape pen, disrupt surroundings, or produce waste beyond that of a small pouch that can be easily disposed of. These factors make pouches intriguing to many as alternatives to cigarettes, nicotine gum or lozenges, chewing tobacco, and/or vapes. It is the range of flavours offered by emerging brands, however, that makes pouches appealing.
Consider a few examples:
Rogue – Rogue has been in the business of nicotine alternatives for some time now, but has quickly leapt into the pouch market. The brand offers pouches in different strengths (3mg and 6mg), and has used its existing logo and distribution channels to thrive early in the pouch market’s emergence. It has also done well, however, to promote a diverse range of taste options for consumers. The Rogue nicotine pouches on Prilla include mango, apple, cinnamon, honey lemon, berry, and assorted mints as flavour options for users.
On! – On! is a brand that exists under the umbrella of Altria –– an established company that sells smokeless, tobacco, e-cigarettes, cigars, and more. As a newer sub-brand though, On! has enjoyed a swift rise to the top tier of the pouch market. On! sells nicotine pouches in 2mg, 4mg, and 8mg doses, and offers flavours including mint, coffee, citrus, cinnamon, and berry (as well as an unflavoured option).
– Earlier this month, Tobacco Reporter wrote about Swedish Match and its “dominance” in the U.S, which is largely where pouches have begun to emerge. This dominance occurs through the sub-brand Zyn, which is owned by Swedish Match and available beyond the U.S. as well. Here too though, flavour offerings play a role. As of this writing, Zyn nicotine pouches can be purchased in wintergreen, cool mint, citrus, coffee, cinnamon, peppermint, menthol, and “chill.”
For the local market, it’s worth mentioning that the availability and legality of products like nicotine pouches are in question. Current Australian guidelines on nicotine vaping stipulate that consumers “require a prescription for all purchases.” It is also worth noting that snus, a predecessor to nicotine pouches that contain tobacco, is banned. It is not entirely clear, however, whether nicotine pouches will ultimately be treated with more leniency as the market develops.
Whether or not the products ultimately thrive in Australia though, they appear to be yet another example of the power of well-branded flavour choices we’ve seen in recent decades.