Seen on the NACS Show Floor: Tobacco
ATLANTA — More than 23,500 individuals from 69 countries attended the 2019 NACS Show in Atlanta, which delivered four days of learning, insights, networking, and exploring what’s new and exciting for the global convenience and fuel retailing industry.
As always, one of the highlights of NACS Show 2019 was the expo floor, which this year spanned 425,000-plus net square feet and featured more than 1,200 exhibitors, from startups to big brands. The expo floor also included the New Exhibitor Area, 20,000 square feet of dedicated expo space spotlighting more than 200 companies brand-new to the show; and an all-new CBD Pavilion, a partitioned section of the expo that showcased hemp-derived CBD products from 50 industry suppliers.
The Convenience Store News editorial staff was out in force meeting with suppliers and checking out all the expo floor happenings. Here’s our rundown of the top tobacco takeaways:
At the forefront of everyone's minds this year at the NACS Show was the national crackdown on youth vapor use, the flavored e-cigarette and vapor bans that are popping up across the country, and the potential flavor ban at the federal level.
Juul Labs Inc. demonstrated its new POS program — the Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program — that helps retailers prevent minors buying vapor products. With RACS, a sales associate must scan an ID — which the system verifies to be valid or not — each time a Juul product is scanned at checkout. RACS also sets a limit on the number of Juul products that can be purchased in any one sale. According to the company, 56 large and regional c-store chains — for a total of roughly 40,000 stores — have committed to RACS so far, with each in various stages of implementation. QuikTrip Corp. is among the early adopters.
Another leading player in the space, blu, is using technology to connect with its trade partners. The company, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, launched a Trade Engagement Program with EdApp, a brand and educational app for trade customers. The blu brand is distributed by Fontem US Inc., a subsidiary of the Imperial Brands Group.
While all vapor falls into the tobacco category, not all tobacco is vapor. At NACS Show 2019, Altria Group Inc. showed off IQOS, its heat-not-burn product, while Kretek International Inc. and its new company DRYFT Sciences LLC showcased DRYFT nicotine pouches.
And Premier Manufacturing, the consumer products division of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc., used the occasion to hold a debut party for its Manitou super-premium cigarette brand. The cigarettes are 100 percent free from chemical additives like artificial preservatives, humectants or synthetic flavors, and are available in six king-size varieties. The Manitou brand, according to a company representative, appeals to the millennial tobacco consumer.
The 2019 NACS Show took place Oct. 1-4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.