Philip Morris has launched a new range of heated tobacco products, which it expects will prompt a “step-change” in the growth of the niche category.
The Iqos Iluma range is made up of three devices: Iqos Iluma Prime, Iqos Iluma and Iqos Iluma One.
The cheapest of the range – the Iluma One – has a recommended retail price of £39 and includes two packs of tobacco refill sticks. Given latest ONS data puts the average price for a packet of cigarettes with kingsize filter at £14.40, the Iluma One’s price point makes it easier for retailers to “interrupt that journey with a value discussion” said PMI UK&I MD Christian Woolfenden, “which you couldn’t do previously”.
Iqos Iluma Prime is “the most enhanced device” the company said, with an rrp of £109.
“All three are built with the same revolutionary technology at their core but have been designed to address varied preferences and different price points,” PMI said.
Devices in the new range feature what PMI calls its “smartcore induction system” – which involves the tobacco sticks users place in the device being heated by a magnetic heating system, comparable to induction stove tops.
Previous generations of Iqos involved a metal blade in the device pushing into the refill stick which heated up.
“The issue is the blades, if you’re a bit heavy handed, they can break and you have to clean it. The new ones, the consumable [tobacco stick] has a tiny strip of metal in the middle, you pop it in and the induction technology warms it up within the tobacco,” Woolfenden told The Grocer.
“It’s all sealed, which basically means there’s no chance of breakage. You don’t have to clean. And actually, it’s a slightly better draw and for smokers that’s important,” he said.
The new heating technology requires a new range of tobacco sticks to replace Heets, called Terea, which will be available in nine different tobacco blends including classic, menthol and aromatic variants.
Retailers currently stocking Iqos Original and Heets can “expect to see the same boost to their bottom line” with the new device, and the equivalent profit margin. The cash margin for Iqos Iluma One is likely to match that of Iqos Originals.
“We are now taking our innovation to the next level. It’s revolutionary technology that gives adult smokers more options and represents an important leap forward in our efforts to accelerate the end of smoking,” Woolfenden said.
“We are confident that with its attractive device range and price points, Iqos Iluma is equally appealing for adult smokers as well as existing adult nicotine users and will step-change the growth of heated tobacco in the UK.”