‘Over to you’: BAT’s Tony Clayton on building ‘A Better Tomorrow’

By Trb Editor |

Tony Clayton, Head of Customer Management for Global Travel Retail, BAT: “We’ve noticed a step-change towards A Better Tomorrow in the travel retail space already, with our global New Category brands – Vuse, glo and Velo – available at airport duty free shops around the world.”

The latest in TRBusiness’ ‘Over to you’ guest column series features Tony Clayton, Head of Customer Management for Global Travel Retail at British American Tobacco (BAT).

He outlines how the international tobacco group’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ corporate strategy prioritises choice for adult-age smokers via ‘New Category’ products, including in the evolving reduced-risk space.

By conducting business in reduced-risk, BAT is focused on accelerating its global ambition to reach 50 million consumers of non-combustible products by 2030.

Elsewhere, Clayton touches on the company’s broader portfolio, which contains flagship vapour product Vuse – that reportedly became the world’s first global carbon neutral vape brand – while Tobacco Heating Product (THP) sku glo is on track to become the fastest-growing THP label achieved through concerted strides in Japan and Korea.

TRANSFORMING TOWARDS ‘A BETTER TOMORROW’

In a world of rapid change, disruptions and ever-evolving market dynamics, innovation has been the driving force behind the development of products that satisfy evolving consumers’ needs and preferences. At BAT, innovation has also played a crucial role in driving our transformation, as we evolve our business to deliver value to our consumers and all our stakeholders around the globe.

Our purpose is clear and bold: to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of our business. Central to our strategy is our commitment to providing adult smokers a wide range of enjoyable and less risky products* to smoking.

Vuse pop-up store at Riyadh Airport in Saudi Arabia.

(*This is based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive. Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, and subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. No reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without FDA clearance).

Our ambition entails exploring the evolving space of reduced-risk alternatives to smoking, while accelerating our ambition of delivering positive environmental and social impacts. Our growing range of reduced-risk products is underpinned by tobacco harm reduction, which stems from the widely accepted proposition that most of the harm associated with cigarettes is caused by the toxicants in the smoke produced by the burning of tobacco.

Oral brand Velo is rapidly expanding its global footprint.

That is why we have invested heavily to develop, commercialise, and scientifically substantiate alternative tobacco and nicotine products that don’t burn tobacco to deliver nicotine, offering smokers an enjoyable, reduced-risk alternative.

Over the years, we’ve built three strong, non-combustible global brands – Vuse, glo and Velo – offering our consumers wide choices that present reduced-risk potential compared with smoking.

Our flagship vapour brand, Vuse, became the world’s *first global carbon neutral vape brand (*based on ePod, ePen, eTank mini, Alto devices and consumables internal sales forecast calculated March 2021 for 12 months starting from April 2021. Vuse’s carbon neutrality has been independently validated by Vertis based on product Life Cycle Assessment data provided by an independent third party).

Vuse also became the number one global vaping brand by value share last year (based on Vype/Vuse estimated value share from Recommended Retail Price/RRP in measured retail for vapour i.e. total vapour category value in retail sales, in the US, Canada, France, UK, Germany. These five markets cover an estimated 77% of global vapour closed system net turnover, calculated from June – July 2021).

Multi-category pop-up store in Dubai.

Moreover, our Tobacco Heating Product (THP) brand, glo, is on track to become the fastest growing THP brand, with its excellent performance in Japan and Korea, while our modern oral brand Velo is rapidly expanding its global footprint.

We believe that our reduced-risk portfolio of products will enable us to accelerate our global ambition of reaching 50 million consumers of our non-combustible products by 2030. Our range of capabilities – from extensive global marketing and distribution reach, track record of R&D and innovation, to decades’ worth of consumer insights and brand-building expertise – make us exceptionally well-placed for the future growth of our brands.

GLOBAL TRAVEL RETAIL’S PIVOTAL ROLE

Another key enabler to accelerate our journey towards A Better Tomorrow is ensuring that adult smokers are aware of what we call ‘New Category’ products, enabling them to switch away from cigarettes. We believe that this is where the travel retail industry will play a crucial role to support the transformation of the industry – creating a platform for adult smokers to learn about these products to make their informed choices.

Vuse activation in Dubai.

We’ve noticed a step-change towards A Better Tomorrow in the travel retail space already, with our global new Category brands – Vuse, glo and Velo – available at airport duty free shops around the world. Travel retail is playing a key role in facilitating conversations and educating adult consumers in all locations about the reduced-risk potential of these products compared with cigarettes.

With the increasing accessibility of these innovative products, approximately 100 million adult smokers have switched to reduced-risk products globally. The key to accelerating the movement of smokers to less risky alternatives cannot be solved by our industry alone, but will need the support of all our stakeholders such as our travel retail partners around the world.

Another example of a Vuse pop-up store at Riyadh Airport.

With the recovery of the travel industry from the Covid-19 impact underway, we believe that travel retail will offer a unique opportunity to engage with and educate consumers on these innovative products, complemented by our global brands’ creative, digitalised activations. At the same time, we are committed to investing in continuous innovation and development of our high-quality products to offer value to our consumers and travel retail partners.

The comments and opinions expressed in this column are those of the columnist alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of TRBusiness.

To access other ‘Over to you’ columns, click the respective links below. 

Svenja Fischer, Team Leader for Corporate Responsibility, Gebr. Heinemann

Siobhán Griffin, Aer Rianta International

Leanne Nutter, Brand and Retail Director, Blackjack Promotions

Martin James, Founder, Martin James London

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys

Kate Holsgrove, Chief Commercial Officer, Perth Airport

Leanne Nutter, Head of Travel Retail, Blackjack Promotions

Diego Baeza, Global Travel Retail & Duty Free Director, Viña Concha y Toro 

Richard Gray, Chief Executive Officer, Aer Rianta International Middle East 

Olivier Dancette Founder, HiDutyFree

Dr Patrick Bohl, Chairman, CEETRA

Laurent Safar, CEO, Adaptive Channel 

Tim Jobber, International Management Consultant, JES Travel Retail

John Pearce, Head of Retail & Commercial — Terminal, Adelaide Airport Limited

Alain Maingreaud, President, TFWA Part Two

Andrew Brodie, CEO, Sunshine Coast Airport

Trevor Lee, Managing Director, TravConsult

James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding Retail

Tullia Ialongo, Business Development Partner, Wand Technology

One Red Kite Limited, Founder and Managing Director Kevin Brocklebank

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