The combination of plain packaging and EUTPD II has created many challenges for the tobacco category, but many opportunities remain, too. 

On the one hand, cigars – once seen as the preserve of an elite – now offer customers the cheapest option on most retailers’ gantries. Meanwhile, premium cigars offer customers the taste and quality they demand while providing retailers with an opportunity to boost their profits.  

Take our quiz to find out if you have the knowledge you need to capitalise.

1. The number one cigar brand in the UK commands 22.1% of all sales. Which brand is it?

a) Montecristo

b) Café Crème Blue

c) Henri Wintermans

ANSWER (b) According to data from RN’s upcoming What to Stock guide, Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s (STG) Café Crème Blue leads the market. The company’s own data says this translates as almost a quarter of cigar purchases. 

2. What is a cigarillo?

a) An extra-long cigar

b) A lower-nicotine cigar 

c) A smaller version of a cigar

ANSWER (c) Cigarillos are scaled-down variations of traditional cigars. They are larger than cigarettes, and should be smoked like a cigar and not inhaled. Major cigar brands have invested in this format across the board, particularly post-EUTPD II, because it offers consumers a value purchase below the price of the cheapest RYO and cigarette products.  

Test-your-tobacco-knowledege-1.jpg3. Which target group does manufacturer Ritmeester recommend targeting its Mini Moods cigarillos at?

a) Older customers

b) A younger, 25-to-35 year old

c) Customers looking for a one-off treat

ANSWER (b) “Cigarillos attract a slightly younger demographic than traditional cigar smokers,” Tony Lyles, field development manager at Ritmeester, told RN. “Cigars in general attract 18-to-30-year-olds who purchase RYO because they prefer unfiltered products. Cigars can also offer this and it’s worth retailers communicating this”.

4. According to STG, what is the difference in margin on a cigar compared to a cigarette? 

a) 25%

b) 300%

c) 100%

ANSWER (c) Cigars are taxed at a different rate to cigarettes and, according to STG, more than a quarter of smokers would try out a cigar product if recommended. The company has launched a campaign to increase this communication. “Through our campaign we are actively encouraging retailers to use the insights revealed through our research, stock the right products and offer the advice shoppers are looking for,” says Jens Christiansen, head of marketing and public affairs at STG.

5. With smaller cigar formats emerging to meet demand for lower-priced premium products, STG launched Moments Panatella in March last year. How many cigarsare in a pack and what is the current RRP?

a) Pack of five, £4.20

b) Pack of six, £5.10

c) Pack of four, £6.00

ANSWER (a) Moments Panatella is being positioned by STG as the cheapest product on the shelf within the small cigar segment. 

6. Which cigar brand is double-wrapping its products to help consumers get used to its new packaging?

a) Mini Moods 

b) Hamlet 

c) Moments Blue

ANSWER (a) As part of a wider rebrand, Ritmeester’s Mini Moods have been given updated packaging. To ensure customers are used to the new look, the company is double-bagging every pack so customers see the older and newer packing together. “The plan is that by the time the transition is complete, customers will know the new packaging,” says Tony Lyles at Ritmeester.

7. How many premium cigarettes make the top 25 in RN’s upcoming What to Stock table and what are they?

a) Four (B&H Gold, Camel Blue,Davidoff, Silk Cut)

b) Three (B&H Gold, Marlboro Gold, Silk Cut)

c) One (Lucky Strike) 

ANSWER (b) Premium tobacco still plays an important role as shown by RN’s data. Suppliers continually tell RN that premium cigarette smokers –like cigar smokers – are among the most brand loyal. 

8. How has Marlboro-maker Philip Morris managed to provide smokers with a premium cigarette for below the RRP of many mid-market cigarettes?

a) It has decided to make a loss. 

b) It is selling stock from 1996. 

c) It is selling thinner cigarettes. 

ANSWER (c) Marlboro Touch is described as offering “just a slimmer size and price” than other premium cigarettes. Its current RRP is £8.50. 

Sobraine Cigarettes have attracted a loyal customer base

9. Which premium cigarette is known for its distinctive pastel colours and gold paper filter?

a) Richmond

b) Capri

c) Sobranie

ANSWER (c) The rainbow-hued Sobranie brand was established in 1879 and was a favourite of the Imperial Court of Russia at the time.