NEW YORK -- Swedish Match AB, the Scandinavian snus maker, has unveiled plans to release two new versions of its General brand and expand retail distribution in the United States, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Snus is a type of smokeless tobacco that comes in small pouches and requires no spitting. Initial U.S. markets will be Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia, the paper reports.
The company reportedly intends to compete with Reynolds American Inc.'s Camel Snus and Altria Group Inc.'s Marlboro Snus and Skoal Snus, by emphasizing to consumers that General is an authentic Swedish snus made in Sweden for more than 150 years.
The new Nordic Mint and Classic Blend varieties will sell at a slight premium to Camel Snus, the Journal reports.
The company also will reportedly look into the possibility of filing an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have its snus products designated as "modified risk."
Snus accounts for about 2.5% of smokeless tobacco sales in the United States, according to Swedish Match numbers cited in the article.
Swedish Match accounts for 85% of the snus market in Sweden and about 70% of the Norway market. Clark Darrah, vice president for next generation products for Swedish Match's U.S. division acknowledged to the paper that his company faces challenges in gaining retail space in the United States, among Altria and Reynolds products. "What we need to do is sell the opportunity," he told the paper.
Swedish Match is a global group of companies with a broad assortment of brands in snus and snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, matches and lighters. Some of the company's well-known brands in the United States include Red Man, Timber Wolf, Longhorn, General, Garcia y Vega, Game and White Owl.