Imperial Tobacco has announced product enhancements across five of its brands, as part of its new Green Filter range, plus the launch of a brand-new product, JPS Bright, to help retailers maintain menthol customers and grow their sales.

Chris Street, Market Manager UK at Imperial Tobacco comments: “We recognise the incredible lengths traders up and down the country are going to in order to keep the nation going during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the many challenges currently being faced within the retail industry, changes linked to the menthol ban will continue as planned. From the 20th May, all crushball and menthol cigarettes will be banned from sale. Our latest product developments are designed to help retailers cater for their menthol and crushball customers when the ban comes into effect by offering them new innovations from their brands of choice.”

Launching across five of Imperial’s leading brands, the new Green Filter range includes the same consumer-endorsed tobacco blend the brands are famed for, but with product enhancements to ensure they meet the needs of shoppers transitioning from menthol. The new features include a white-tipped firm filter that retains its shape and structure until the end of the smoke and delivers a smoother, more consistent smoking experience. Plus, the addition of special Reduced Smoke Smell (RSS) paper which is designed to reduce the linger of smoke smell on clothes or fingers. The new Green Filter variants are being launched across JPS Players, Carlton, Windsor Blue, Richmond and Lambert & Butler ranges. All the new SKUs are available to buy now in packs of 20 sticks with an RRP* of £8.95.

Chris Street continues: “Our findings highlight that many menthol consumers would reject a cork tip[i] so we’ve adapted some of our best-selling brands to cater for this demand. The new range of Green Filter variants include white filter tips and specialist RSS paper to deliver great appeal to these shoppers when they switch. Retailers should make sure they’re stocked up on the full Green Filter range to allow them to offer menthol consumers a product designed specifically for them from their brand of choice. Smokers can couple the range with our recently launched Rizla Flavour Infusions, which will enable them to enjoy a familiar mentholated experience, while also providing incremental sales opportunities for retailers.”

The newest addition to Imperial’s portfolio, JPS Bright, comprises a premium two-piece white stream filter tip that reduces the harshness of the smoking experience, while allowing a full rounded tobacco flavour to flow more freely.  As with the Green Filter range, the addition of a white-tipped filter and RSS paper will ensure the product resonates with menthol consumers. The range features a new, premium Virginia tobacco blend that has tested positively with consumers[ii]. The unique quality blend offers a rounded taste profile that is less bitter than traditional Virginia blends and designed to suit the taste palates of menthol smokers. The new range will be rolling out soon in super king size packs of 20 sticks with an RRP* of £9.65.

Chris Street continues: “Brand loyalty has always been strong purchase driver in Tobacco and our research shows that 82% of menthol and crushball smokers will remain with their usual FMC (Factory Made Cigarettes) brand, while 70% are expected to switch to a smooth or full flavour variant when the menthol ban arrives[iii]. As a globally recognised brand, with the 2nd highest market share of the economy sector in the UK[iv], the house of JPS is well positioned to leverage its brand recognition through the launch of JPS Bright. Providing premium quality at an economy price point, JPS Bright provides the perfect alternative for menthol consumers from a brand they can trust.”

* Retailers are free at all times to determine the selling prices of their products.

[i] HBT Menthol & Tips Report April 2019

[ii] ‘86% of smokers who tested the product scored the new blend positively in consumer testing’. Substanceqi‘4K’ Product Proposition Research Findings (sample size 224) – August 2019

[iii] ITUK Internal Estimates June 19

[iv] ITUK ROT to Sept 19

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