BAT UK has announced the integration of its UK e-cigarette product line, Vype into global brand, Vuse.

Vuse is the biggest closed system vaping offered in the UK with a market-leading share of overall sales (44.2% – Nielsen) and provides adult consumers with a wider range of enjoyable and less risky products, including vaping products.

The investment in Vuse is part of a global focus on ‘new categories’ and is part of BAT’s transformation journey to build A Better Tomorrow with a commitment to reducing the health impact of its global business. Khurram Durrani, Head of BAT UK Trade, tells Grocery Trader about BAT’s long term commitment to reduced risk categories and about the Vuse brand’s green credentials.

Why is Vype becoming Vuse at this time?

Vype’s migration to Vuse is reflective of BAT’s commitment to innovating its ‘new categories’. By taking the best from both brands, the migration will allow a more cohesive focus on customer satisfaction and sustainability projects across BAT’s group companies. The UK is our biggest market outside of the US, so we are refreshing the brand and are doubling down on serving our adult nicotine customers even better products, while ensuring sustainable and global growth.

Will the rebranding involve any NPD – will there be new flavours and designs?

The Vuse rebrand includes a refreshed design that will make our products easier to spot in store and online. Flavours and devices are visualised through multi-dimensional shapes on the packaging that gives each flavour and device a unique design.

However, to ensure customer ease and satisfaction, all models are backwards compatible so users can use Vuse pods on Vype devices, and vice versa. Meanwhile, there is no sacrifice to flavour or enjoyment, with the launch bringing with it a host of new flavours and more innovative designs – keep an eye out for updates!

What share of the vaping sector does Vuse have?

In a fast-growing sector, Vype has exceeded our expectations. It’s the fastest-growing closed system brand in the UK, with year-on-year growth of 44% overall (and 36% in the independent and symbols category) in 2021.

Is the brand in growth?

Vuse is our fastest-growing closed system brand in the UK, with more than two-thirds of the 686,000 regular vapour consumers using a Vype closed-system product last year. Excluding open systems, year on year data shows that Vuse has moved up 7.7pp to 43.8% in total closed system coverage and up 13.1pp to 36% in closed system coverage in the Independent and symbols sector, versus same period last year according to Nielsen data.

What is driving growth?

Adult nicotine consumers are becoming more and more invested in finding more sustainable ways to consume nicotine products. Vaping is considered to be less harmful to an adult nicotine consumer’s health if they switch completely to vaping from smoking; while improvements to packaging has given them more sustainable options. Vuse ticks these boxes for adult nicotine consumers and the quality and range of flavours the brand offers continues to attract new users to the category.

How much has BAT invested in new product categories over the last year? Where is that money spent?

Last year we invested nearly half a billion pounds in new product categories, including vaping, because they are the future of our business. We have a growing portfolio of potentially reduced risk products that include vapour, tobacco heating and modern oral products. As a company, we are dedicated to the development of alternative tobacco and nicotine lines and ensuring these are enjoyable and to the highest standard for our adult nicotine consumers. We will continue to invest across these categories over the coming years to push further innovation and development of our products.

What is BAT’s long term commitment to reduced risk categories? Is the goal for reduced risk products to eventually completely replace cigarettes?

We have set ourselves ambitious targets for our potentially reduced risk categories and aim to grow our annual revenue from new categories to £5 billion by 2025. We are making great progress in these categories; our research and development is world class and led by hundreds of scientists across the world. The same research led approach means we can flex and develop all our product lines to reflect what our customers want, and when.

What are the Vuse brand’s green credentials? Is the packaging made in a sustainable way?

Vuse is the world’s first carbon neutral vape brand*. The brand was independently certified carbon neutral by Vertis after completing a decarbonisation plan that included improving our factories’ energy efficiencies by upgrading to lower-impact equipment, increasing renewable energy usage through sustainable energy purchasing and on-site generation and ongoing carbon off-setting through reforestation projects in South America.

In addition to this, our packs are now 100% recyclable cardboard and we are committed to removing all single-use plastics from our packaging by the end of 2022. We also offer our consumers a ‘Device Take Back’ scheme, which encourages Vuse users to either return used e-cigarettes and cartridges to stores or via post for safe disposal.

*Based on ePod, ePen, eTank mini, Alto devices and consumables internal sales forecast (calculated March 2021) for 12 months starting from April 2021.

BAT has pledged for all aspects of its business to be carbon neutral by 2025. Is the company on track to meet this target?

BAT is committed to building A Better Tomorrow™ and addressing climate risks is a key aspect of our business transformation plan. We are already making great progress to meeting our carbon neutral target by improving the energy efficiencies in our factories by upgrading to lower-impact equipment; increasing renewable energy usage through sustainable energy purchasing and on-site energy generation; and optimising our logistics and fleet through vehicle performance and fuel efficiency.

 

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