The Lab Series - Not your traditional snus.
The Lab Series was created in September 2009 as a result of Swedish Match asking the consumers a lot of questions and then trying to come up with the relevant answers by developing a product. Many tobacco blends were evaluated and the fragrance and flavor was checked many times until the snus got its perfect balance and the cans were ready to be released. Please note the no-nonsense packaging and the absence of logos.
Gathering insights for a less visible snus.
It happened in Sweden and Norway not too long ago, A lot of people gathered to be interviewed. There were many questions asked and a lot of effort went into figuring out the responses. Likes and dislikes; complaints and praise; wants and needs... From the information gathered, Swedish Match created a book that described the requirements. In late 2008 a team of scientists, designers, and developers were brought together. And, for the record, a Tobacco Master. Six months and fifty trials later, a new product had been created. It was as good as you'd expect a new quality of Swedish snus to be, but it also came in a discreet pouch that felt comfortable under the upper lip. To be more precise, the pouches are longer and are designed for a better fit with a non-drip release system. This gives the snus user more flavor with a less running pouch. One of the challenges for the Swedish Match team was to create a pouch that could deliver a powerful taste while letting the product stay fresh and being thin at the same time. The cans also come with a larger disposal compartment. The cans (and the name) survived the entire phase of testing and resulted in two blends with a natural tobacco character. The difference between them is that one is stronger with a higher nicotine lever. The cans are clean and grey and come with a straightforward labeling system. Originally, they were numbered (a numbering system used by Swedish Match to keep track of their samples). The first products 01 and 02 were shipped to Norway in 2009 and the mission was fulfilled and the brand has become a modern classic.
No need for a brand
When Swedish Match asked the consumers what they thought about brands, the responses were clear: "Brands? We don't need any brands. We want snus." And since the responses were taken seriously, there are no actual logos on The Lab Series.
Rigorous control - from plant to pouch
It starts in the soil. Before someone even puts a seed in it, soil samples are taken to a laboratory in Sweden for analysis. Swedish Match experiments with cultivation in different countries to achieve the best possible raw tobacco. If declared a good soil for tobacco, seeds are planted and every step in the development and the cultivation of the plant is carefully monitored. The tobacco is selected on the basis of seed type, location, climate, leaf position on the plant and curing conditions. When cultivation have started, representatives from Swedish Match will visit the plantations regularly to ensure that the crops will meet the requirements. There's a simple purpose for all this care: To ensure that the tobacco that ends up being selected for the various snus blends from Swedish Match contains the lowest levels of undesirable components possible. This quality control continues through the entire chain of production; when the leaves are harvested and air-cured; when transported and later sorted in a gianormous, perfectly climatized storehouse. Then, finally, the tobacco will find its way to the factory.
When hi-tech meets a 200 year-old tradition.
In step one, the tobacco leaves are crushed and ground to fine grains; the size of the particles varies with the brand. The tobacco is then carefully mixed into a blend. A blend could contain anything between 10 and 30 different grades of tobacco depending on the recipe. In step two, the tobacco is mixed with the other main snus ingredients; water and salt. It's then time for it to undergo heat treatment, (pasteurization). After being chilled the tobacco meets the different ingredients - spices, natural oils or even bourbon whiskey - that will give the snus that extra flavor and special character. And then, finally, it's time for packaging. Loose snus goes straight into the can. For portions the correct amount of snus is first wrapped in a little pouch. In the Swedish Match factories, there is a zero tolerance for errors. Everything - which means everything - is completely focused on delivering top quality. Sophisticated instruments measure and control the process along with watchful and well trained eyes. The tradition of manufacturing snus is 200 years old in Sweden, but there's nothing traditional or old about the Swedish Match production plant. If your nose wouldn't detect the pleasant scent of tobacco here and there in the manufacturing facility, you could easily picture that parts for a fighter jet were being produced instead of snus. They even invented their own quality standard, GothiaTek. And that certainly did not happen because they wanted to make life easy for themselves. It's very much the other way around. Yes, those Swedes are a tough bunch.