Photo: Anna Gyurkovics / Tobacco Magazin.

The tobacco market conference, Tobacco Hungary was organized for the fourth time with the aim of providing industry players a common platform for a detailed overview of market news. Continental Tobacco Group was also represented at the two-day event, which consisted of thematic panel discussions and presentations. József Bányász, Head of National Sales Development at Continental Tobacco Group, shared his thoughts with the participants at the sectoral round table discussion on plain packaging, which will be introduced on 1 January 2022.

On the second day of the professional conference organized by Tobacco Magazine, the sectoral roundtable discussion was held with market participants on the introduction of unit packaging, which was attended by representatives of Hungarian tobacco market companies: József Bányász from Continental Tobacco Group, Zoltán Orosz from BAT, János Lustnyik from Imperial Tobacco Hungary, Kálmán Papp from JTI Hungary and Tímea Fekete-Buzma from Philip Morris Hungary.

In connection with the plain packaging for cigarettes and cigarette tobacco products, which will be introduced on 1 January 2022, Bence Földi, moderator of the panel discussion, asked experts about foreign examples. According to their opinion navigation cards for tobacco shop workers will help a lot, but it is key to properly prepare for changes, which also affects tobacco shop warehouses and the design of proper storages. For the new packaging, which will be introduced from January 1, tobacco shop workers will receive navigation cards that make it easier to arrange tobacco products in stores. József Bányász added that the navigation card is available for traffic workers for a whole year, so during this period it continuously helps the work of tobacco shops and the development of long-term solutions.

Experts believe that in the future it will be important to maintain the quality of cigarettes and cigarette tobacco products, as consumers will not choose on the basis of appearance, but on the basis of quality. Traders play a key role in this process, as their preparedness and routine are essential to properly serve consumers and inform them about changes of packaging. In addition, tobacco shop operators should pay special attention to “sensitive” consumers as well as regular customers and be prepared in advance for any questions and comments.

Regarding the interest in the products, experts consider the quality and price-value ratio of the products to be an important aspect, which, in their opinion, may determine the future rearrangement of consumption habits. It is believed that the introduction of plain packaging alone will not cause a significant transformation, such as an increase in demand for substitute products, but a possible price increase will. Finally, experts also spoke briefly about what to expect in the next five years, saying they did not think plain packaging would significantly reduce the proportion of smokers, but did not like to speculate, it would be decided by future events.