Interview with Amplicon – Producers of Småå Nicotine Pouches
You can read our in-depth product review here.
Bioceramic materials are a type of ceramic material that has been specifically designed and engineered for use in medical and healthcare applications.
Traditionally, bioceramic materials have been used in the field of dentistry, particularly for dental implants and prosthetics. Orthopaedic implants, like hip replacements, often utilise bioceramics due to their capability to seamlessly integrate with the surrounding tissues.
In recent years, the applications of bioceramic materials have expanded beyond dentistry and orthopaedics. Bioceramics can be found in drug delivery systems, where they provide controlled release mechanisms to ensure optimal drug dosage over extended periods.
A bit lost? So was I – but thankfully Tomas and company CTO Jesper Lööf were kind enough to share some of their time and talk to me in more detail over a video call about their products and the technology used.
Why use bioceramic materials in nicotine pouches?
As we have a background in pharmaceuticals – we were familiar with bioceramics being used as control release mechanisms. What we saw was an opportunity to extend the use of these materials to incorporate nicotine to use a very different and beneficial type of nicotine and flavour release.
We are working with dry pouches – and looking at other dry technologies – we have patented IP around this technology producing novel products.
These products also have the benefit of being able to use very small quantities of the products in the pouches – allowing for the production of much smaller pouches. This also allows for the production of pouches with a small weight.
Bioceramic materials are used in place of the traditional cellulose base. 94-95% of the pouch is made from bioceramic material. This is a calcium sulphate based bioceramic.
How does this approach differentiate your product from others in the marketplace?
This approach allows for much smaller, lightweight pouches due to the format that the material allows for. One of the biggest advantages going forward is the ability to make smaller pouches with similar nicotine content.
Whilst we have pouches with a small volume – we find that we still get a consistent, long release of nicotine.
Based on recent data (some presented at GFN) from cellulose-based pouches – between 40-70% of the nicotine remains in the pouch after 30 minutes of use. With Småå pouches – around 90%+ of the nicotine is released during 30 minutes of use.
How did you determine the nicotine strengths used in your products – and how do the bioceramic materials affect this?
One of the main considerations was the limit of nicotine by weight – which can impact packaging requirements. One thing that can be beneficial for us is that our material has a much higher density. We can make stronger pouches as we can have a lower volume due to the density of the material used.
What else would you consider a differentiating factor with your products?
Size – whilst some traditional Swedish snus users enjoy very large pouches – we also see in Sweden the dry pouch market is growing rapidly. We certainly believe for new pouch markets that the smaller format pouches are a great starting point – provided they still provide nicotine satisfaction and long flavour delivery.
What elements go into developing the product? Do you think about the traditional snus users?
Legislation around snus has made approaching that marketing very difficult – so nicotine pouches provide an alternative product which can be used in locations where you can’t use a vape or heated tobacco product. We see strong interest from users using nicotine pouches as a ‘backup’ – for situations where they can’t use their normal method of nicotine delivery.
One thing I’m personally very interested in is the strength of nicotine pouches on the market – with some reaching very high strengths – what are your views on this?
The pouches you have are 6mg – and have found after learning more about the delivery of the product we are looking at different strengths also – potentially looking at a 3mg version. We’ve found some differing feedback from traditional pouches based on the unique method of our nicotine delivery.
We’ve seen products on the market with ridiculously high nicotine strengths – we don’t have a nicotine ceiling in Sweden at the moment – but we do expect to see that in the future. We fully agree that safe limits should be put in place.
Given all this information regarding the use of bioceramic materials – how does a 6mg pouch from say BAT, JTI or PMI compare to a 6mg Småå pouch?
Because cellulose pouches retain between 40-70% of nicotine after 30 minutes of use – ideally when you have a finished pouch – you want all the dangerous or non-biodegradable materials gone. With some pouches on the market – around 50% of that nicotine is left in the pouch. Småå products currently leave around 10% of the nicotine left in the pouch after use – over a 30-minute period our products will release more total nicotine. This also allows us to potentially use lower strengths to the same effect.
What you will notice with a cellulose base is that perhaps 50% of the nicotine will be released very quickly – and you’ll have a short-lived nicotine experience. Using bioceramic materials allows for a longer – more controlled release of nicotine.
What upcoming developments are we likely to see?
Our developments all stem from the way we can control the release of nicotine and flavour in a small pouch. You’ll soon see changes to the can to reflect this. We’ve had great feedback on the citrus flavour so far – and also our mint flavour – which many remark doesn’t taste like toothpaste! We will be looking at new flavours and strengths going forward. We’re also refining and improving the production process with a potential view to even smaller pouches in the future.
Where can customers buy Småå pouches – and what are your future distribution plans?
Småå nicotine pouches are on limited sale in Sweden and on our own website. We will now after the summer be to expanding in Sweden – and are actually also looking at sale into the UK market – initially online. We’re looking closely at regulation to ensure that products are listed and labelled in the correct way.
Thanks to Tomas Hammargren and Jesper Lööf from emplicure for their time – and when you get an opportunity – I recommend trying their products!
For our readers based in Sweden – you can find a retailer or buy online here – https://www.småå.com/
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