We've talked about Altria
OK, OK: Reynolds American isn't claiming to end world pollution or global warming. But, if you take a quick visit to the website of its subsidiary Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, you'll see the company's stated enthusiasm for sustainable agriculture, natural resources, and wildlife recovery. Close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air now!
As background, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company produces Natural American Spirit cigarettes, which are marketed as an additive-free alternative to mainstream smokes. Reynolds didn't share specific information about sales for Natural American Spirit in its latest quarterly financials, but the company says market share and volume continue to grow at this "all-natural" brand. In 2007, Natural American Spirit was at 0.5% American market share, with up to 4% share in trendy metropolitan markets.
It's not a huge surprise that these cigarettes have gained popularity as organic products become increasingly en vogue. American sales of organic food and drink grew about 20 times between 1990 and 2007. Riding that trend toward green have been the obvious superstars like Whole Foods Market
With booming U.S. excise taxes on smokers, global markets are becoming increasingly more attractive for companies (although that-ever menacing foreign exchange rate is making global growth less expansive than once thought). And since it's a small world after all, any windfall for Reynolds would extend out to global kissing-cousin British American Tobacco
Organic products aren't limited to the produce aisle anymore, so it's not far-fetched to think that additive-free tobacco products could mean big bucks for Reynolds or indeed any other tobacco company that could make the move. Sister "sin" products like wine, beer, and spirits are now expanding into organic alcohol classifications, so maybe folks would like an all-natural cigarette with their drink.
And, even if the emphasis on organic doesn't help Reynolds' bottom line, it sure is nice to see the tobacco folks helping out the butterflies.
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