Nicotine pouches have been making waves in the market in recent years as a modern and smokeless form of nicotine consumption.
They offer a discreet, tobacco-free alternative to traditional tobacco products while still delivering a satisfying nicotine hit. Despite being tobacco-free, these pouches come in a variety of flavors to suit different palates, ranging from mint to fruit and even coffee.
However, one flavor that is somewhat elusive in the nicotine pouch market is tobacco. Yes, you heard it right – tobacco flavor. It may sound ironic, but there’s a niche yet passionate group of consumers who appreciate the familiar flavor of tobacco while enjoying the benefits of a tobacco-free experience.
And frankly, its not so strange because nicotine pouches are essentially a product development of traditional Swedish tobacco snus which, naturally, tastes tobacco.
Tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches are not as common as their counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they are not available or less enjoyable. Ultimately, the question of taste comes down to preference but the fact is that a lot of people prefer tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches over other more common nicotine pouch flavors such as mint, citrus, or fruit.
In this guide, we will delve into the world of tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches, exploring their origins, their unique characteristics, and why they are appreciated by a segment of consumers.
So, whether you’re a seasoned user or a curious newcomer, buckle up for an in-depth exploration of the intriguing world of tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches.
Evolution of Tobacco Snus to Nicotine Pouches
To appreciate the existence and uniqueness of tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches, it’s essential to understand their roots in the world of traditional tobacco snus. Snus, originating in Sweden in the early 19th century, is a moist powder tobacco product that is placed under the lip for nicotine absorption. Over time, this product has evolved, leading to the creation of various flavors and forms of snus, including loose snus and portioned snus.
As society grew more health-conscious and regulations around tobacco use became stricter, there arose a need for a smokeless, spitless, and less harmful alternative to traditional tobacco products. Moreover in certain jurisdictions such as the EU, tobacco snus is banned. This, combined with a growing demand for tobacco-free alternatives that do not stain the teeth, led to snus manufacturers asking themselves: what if we can make a product that offers the same nicotine experience and enjoyment as snus – but without tobacco?
This led to the birth of nicotine pouches, an innovative product that mimicked the experience of using snus but without the use of tobacco. These pouches contain nicotine combined with flavorings and fillers, and are wrapped in a small, white pouch.
Swedish Match, a leading snus manufacturer, played a pivotal role in this transition from tobacco snus to nicotine pouches. They saw the potential in creating a product that catered to the changing preferences of consumers and were instrumental in popularizing nicotine pouches. They set a benchmark in the industry, inspiring other companies to create similar products and thus shaping the landscape of the market as we know it today.
Whilst it may at first sound quite contradictory to want the flavor of something that you want to eliminate from the product, it makes perfect sense. With tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches, you can get the flavor of tobacco but in a tobacco-free format that does not stain the teeth and is potentially less harmful as well. In addition, it gives users that live in a jurisdiction where tobacco snus is banned to enjoy a product that offers a similar experience and flavor.
Sweden is the country where the use of tobacco snus is the most widespread. With this said, snus users are used to the classic tobacco flavor and if manufacturers want consumers to switch to a new product, they need to create it so that it offers a similar experience. Since the rise of nicotine pouches, many users of snus have actually decided to switch to nicotine pouches. The reasons may vary but naturally, many of these individuals still want a tobacco flavor for a similar user experience.
In countries where snus use is not widespread and the first oral nicotine pouch that people come in contact with is nicotine pouches, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the demand for a tobacco flavored pouch is much lower.
With all of this said, tobacco is not the most common nor the most popular flavor for nicotine pouches. Instead, mint and fruit flavors dominate the market. The flavor of tobacco is not a flavor that appeals to everyone but most people enjoy the flavor of mint and fruits so this makes perfect sense. However, the good news is that for those that do prefer the flavor of tobacco, there are a few options to choose from.
Let’s have a closer look at what these options are.
XR From Tobacco
The first tobacco-flavored nicotine pouch we present is XR General Free From Tobacco. This tobacco-free nicotine pouch is manufactured by Swedish Match and is the first nicotine pouch in Swedish Match’s product range ”XR” which apart from this one only consists of tobacco snus options.
As one of the leading players in the snus market, Swedish Match has translated their experience and expertise in creating high-quality products into the realm of nicotine pouches. XR From Tobacco embodies this endeavor, offering a tobacco-flavored, tobacco-free experience that has quickly gained popularity among nicotine pouch users, in particular in Sweden and Scandinavia.
When creating XR Free From tobacco, Swedish Match set out to create a nicotine pouch that offers the same experience and a similar taste to traditional tobacco snus in the XR range.
In fact, XR Free from Tobacco was directly inspired by General White, one of the most popular tobacco snus products in the world. By seeking to recreate the classic, rich taste of General White in a tobacco-free format, Swedish Match catered to consumers who wanted the familiar flavor of tobacco without the downsides of tobacco. This intentional flavor design has contributed significantly to XR From Tobacco’s success in the market.
For comparison, the XR family can be seen below, where XR General Free From Tobacco is the only tobacco-free alternative:
Upon the release of this product in January 2021, Karin Pauli, marketing manager for Swedish Match Sweden stated the following:
”XR Free from tobacco has a taste inspired by tobacco, but completely devoid of tobacco content. The pouch is all white and the pouch format is Slim like other XR products. Now we are broadening the offer within all-white nicotine pouches and adding a tobacco-free product to our XR series. We want to offer an alternative for those of our consumers who are looking for a tobacco-free product but who still appreciate the taste of tobacco, the traditional snus taste.
Exploring ZYN Gold: A Strong Contender
Next up is ZYN gold. Unsurprisingly, this product is also released by Swedish Match and naturally focused on catering the Scandinavian market which is particularly fond and accustomed to the taste of tobacco from snus.
ZYN Gold was launched in May 2022 and offers a tobacco-free experience with a soft and balanced tobacco flavor with a touch of sweetness. They offer a pure and distinct nicotine experience with a balanced Virginia character. This nicotine pouch leans more towards sweetness with a less pronounced tobacco flavor with a round character and taste of air-dried leaves and hints of cedar. This makes it a suitable choice for those who want a tobacco-flavored pouch without a powerful and intense tobacco flavor. This is of course paired with the unparalleled quality and user experience that ZYN is known for.
ZYN Gold Mini Dry Normal 3mg€ 5.50
Discontinuation of Shiro Mellow Bergamot – and the Rise of ZYN
Once a popular choice among tobacco-flavored nicotine pouch users, Shiro Mellow Bergamot had carved a niche for itself in the market. Known for its distinctive flavor that blended the earthiness of tobacco with the citrusy notes of bergamot, it had a dedicated following. However, change was on the horizon, and 2023 marked a pivotal shift in the nicotine pouch landscape.
In 2023, a significant event occurred that would reshape the nicotine pouch market: Philip Morris International (PMI) acquired Swedish Match. This acquisition brought about a strategic realignment of the companies’ product portfolios. Given the similarities between Shiro and ZYN – both being nicotine pouch brands offering similar product experiences – PMI decided to streamline their offerings.
After careful consideration, PMI announced the discontinuation of the Shiro brand. The decision was driven by a desire to eliminate redundancy and concentrate resources on strengthening the stronger brand – ZYN. This move, while marking the end of Shiro Mellow Bergamot, underscored the ascendancy of ZYN in the market.
Ultimately, this led to on less tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches to choose from on the market in an already highly limited selection. However, as the popularity of tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches continues to grow – in particular as more snus users decide to switch to a tobacco-free alternative – it may mean that we’ll see a wider selection of tobacco-flavored nicotine pouches than we have today.