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    Innovation Defines RAI's Investor Day

    New product Revo will tackle the heat-not-burn segment.

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News

    NEW YORK — It's been 10 years since Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) became a publicly listed company and during that time, it's moved from being a pure-play cigarette company to include moist snuff, snus, nicotine replacement therapy and vapor. Now, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based RAI is once again eyeing innovation to lead it into the future.

    According to President and CEO Susan Cameron, the company's vision is to achieve market leadership by transforming the tobacco category. Part of this strategy is innovation across all segments and as such, RAI's operating companies are introducing new products to address the shifts in consumer preference.

    During the company's Investor Day on Monday, which was held in New York, RAI announced it is repositioning its former Eclipse brand as Revo. The new product will mark RAI's re-entry into the heat-not-burn segment of tobacco.

    "Heat-not-burn is a technology whose time has now arrived," said Brice O'Brien, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. As he explained, heat-not-burn fits between traditional cigarettes and vapor products. "Over the past 20 years, this space didn’t exist because e-cigarettes didn’t exist."

    Revo — what RAI calls "the unconventional cigarette" — will launch in Wisconsin in February. It will be premium priced and supported by a full marketing mix, O'Brien said.

    Also on the alternative tobacco product front, RAI's operating company R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. (RJRV) will introduce flavored VUSE vapor cigarettes in Colorado beginning in December. The four flavors will be Rich Mint, Crema, Chai and Mint. The move comes as flavors are gaining a lot of attention, O'Brien noted.

    On average, vape shops carry 118 flavors, but the top five flavors account for about 50 percent of the volume. Top flavors include tobacco, menthol/mint and fruit. "This tells us quantity isn't important, but quality and satisfaction is," he added.

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News
    • About Melissa Kress Melissa Kress joined EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner in November 2010. Her primary beats include alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Kress has been a professional journalist since 1995. A graduate of West Virginia University, she began her career in community journalism before moving to business-to-business publishing in 2000, covering commercial real estate.

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