Paull Hill talks to Paul Shakespeare, business development manager at JTI, hearing how it is supporting wholesalers with the upcoming track and trace legislation
One of the greatest challenges facing the wholesale industry is the implementation of new track and trace legislation. How is JTI supporting wholesalers throughout the period of transition?
Ensuring the new track and trace system is implemented by May is one of the most significant challenges currently facing wholesalers, and all those involved in the industry.
Successfully achieving this will only be possible with collaboration between the manufacturing industry and our wholesale partners.
The collaboration will be a priority for JTI over the coming months, to ensure timescales are met and continuity of supply is maintained.
JTI has a full project team at local and HQ level dedicated to the implementation of this legislation in the UK and across the EU, and will continue to support wholesalers throughout the process.
Is JTI planning any specific activity that will help wholesalers to be compliant with track and trace?
Last month, we launched a new track and trace microsite that provides a wealth of information for wholesalers and retailers regarding the legislation, and advice on what action they need to take before it comes into effect. We strongly advise wholesalers to visit the site to help guide them through this period of change in the UK tobacco market.
The company will be supporting the launch of the new site with a widespread trade media and advertising campaign, and JTI sales representatives will be available to answer any questions from wholesalers.
Track and trace is the latest phase of EUTPD II legislation and is designed to tackle the illicit trade. What has JTI been doing up to this point to combat the rise of illegal tobacco in the UK?
JTI takes a firm stance on any retailer engaged in the illegal trade, as part of an ongoing commitment to protect law-abiding retailers and the category as a whole
The company is also committed to withdrawing support from any retailer found to be selling illicit tobacco.
Last year, we successfully escalated our fight against the illegal tobacco trade with the launch of our Don’t Be Complicit in Illicit campaign.
The initiative is focused on motivating retailers, wholesalers and members of the public to take action, and includes a dedicated microsite – jtiadvance.co.uk/dontbecomplicit – featuring an easy-to-use ‘report’ function.
We have also removed 35 gantries from tobacco retailers found to be selling illegal tobacco, as well as bringing about seven private prosecutions – five of which led to successful convictions and two of which are pending.
What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months? Are there any other challenges that wholesalers should start preparing themselves for?
Our priority over the next few months is to help guide wholesalers through this period of change in the tobacco market and ensure they are prepared for the track and trace regulations. It is pivotal that wholesalers use all the resources available to make the transition as smooth as possible.
We are also looking ahead to the menthol ban that will come into place in May 2020 and would encourage wholesalers to take full advantage of the significant sales opportunity presented by the menthol and capsule categories while they still can.
They can do so by stocking JTI’s wide and market-leading menthol portfolio, including the two new products that were launched in January of this year: Sterling Dual Triple Green and B&H Blue Dual Double Capsule.