Altria - new marketing strategy with emphasis on Marlboro SNUS..

February 19, 2010 - Altria Group, Inc. (Altria) participated in the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference in Boca Raton, Florida today. During the presentation, Mr. Michael E. Szymanczyk, Altria's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. David R. Beran, Altria's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer discussed Altria's 2009 performance and its 2010 plan to deliver strong returns to Altria's shareholders.

Szymanczyk disclosed Altria's thinking on the market as he spoke to stock-market analysts in New York. Tobacco users who don’t want to smoke and don’t want to spit are the customers Altria Group Inc. plans to focus a lot of its efforts.

“One new business opportunity for us is filling the increasing demand for smokeless products among adult smokers who do not find current MST [moist smokeless tobacco, or snuff] satisfactory,” Szymanczyk said. Szymanczyk said those tobacco users are seeking smokeless tobacco that doesn’t require them to spit the way they must with moist snuff.

That could mean a variety of “snus,” a traditional Swedish-style oral tobacco, “or other future products,” Szymanczyk said. He did not elaborate on those, though Altria researchers have for years explored dissolvable strips and inhalers. The company already sells a Marlboro-branded and Skoal snus.

Szymanczyk said Altria believes the tobacco market is now split into four segments — smokers of cigarettes and cigars; “dippers,” or people who prefer traditional snuff and oral tobacco; people who want spitless products such as snus; and a group that smokes and wants smokeless products that are easier to use when they can’t smoke.

For the last group, Altria’s U.S. Smokeless unit has launched a new “slim can” of snuff in pouches, Szymanczyk said. Many who aren’t accustomed to taking a pinch of snuff find the pouches, with their premeasured amounts of snuff, easier to use.

Szymanczyk said Altria’s Skoal brand plans a number of initiatives to expand its pouch business, while its Copenhagen brand plans two new long-cut varieties of snuff, because many dippers find the sliced leaves of long cut simpler to handle than the traditional finely powdered snuff from Copenhagen.

He said the company’s flagship Marlboro cigarette brand’s two newest varieties, each called Special Blend the territory where it is selling its new Black & Mild untipped cigarillo, he said.

Reference: Altria refines smokeless-tobacco strategy, posted on February 19, 2010, By David Ress (, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/19/2010; Altria Presents at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, 2/18/2010.