Kiwi vaping business Alt secures Countdown
Wednesday, 27 March 2019
The largest Kiwi-owned vaping business has secured a supplier agreement with supermarket giant Woolworths Group with its Alt-branded products now available throughout Countdowns.
Formally known as Progressive Enterprises, Australian-owned Woolworths has the country’s many Countdown supermarkets, along with SuperValue and FreshChoice.
The co-owners of vaping companies Alt New Zealand and Vapo, Ben Pryor and Jonathan Devery, say getting into Countdown confirms their dominance in the New Zealand market for both their innovative vaping devices and superior e-liquids.
“We’ve been supplying Foodstuffs’ Pak'nSave, New World, and Four Square’ businesses for some time. Our products are also available at most BP and Z service stations and in many independent stores and dairies the length of the country. Then we have eight of our own Vapo stores with more coming.
“Our Vapo Haiz and other Vapo branded products already sell well in SuperValue and FreshChoice. To now also have Countdown on board with Alt is great news for our Auckland-based business and highlights the momentum of the industry,” says Mr Pryor.
The Kiwi entrepreneurs say getting into Countdown is timely given big international tobacco is on their tail, now bringing their own vaping and e-cigarette products into New Zealand, locking in well-incentivised supplier arrangements, and doing a lot of marketing of their brands.
“Vapo has been around for a while now. Then last year we launched Alt which has been exceptionally well received by customers to date. Alt has a focus on price accessibility with discreet devices that emit significantly less vapour which have proven popular,” says Mr Devery.
The co-owners say they got a good head-start on big tobacco in New Zealand and continue to outsell them. However, they’re well aware the overseas giants will be determined to dominate the vaping category given there’s possibly 200,000 vapers in New Zealand and growing.
“More than ever we really appreciate those who just love our products, with many vapers telling us they like supporting a New Zealand business that employs a lot of Kiwis. Otherwise they know they’re just sending their hard-earned money off shore,” says Mr Pryor.
With an eye on achieving Smoke Free 2025, the Government is set to amend the 1990 Smoke-free Environments Act this year.
Keen to improve regulation around vaping products and the industry, the Government also wants smokers to successfully switch to significantly less harmful alternatives such as vaping.
The co-owners of Alt and Vapo say if done well such legislative and regulatory changes should give smokers a better chance of quitting, with Smoke Free 2025 also their corporate mission.
“If New Zealand is to get anywhere close to being Smoke Free in 2025, accessibility of vaping products is critical, as is more acceptance overall for vaping’s proven health and economic advantages.
“Having Alt products now available in Countdown fills the last big gap in our distribution chain. For consumers it means more choice, and that can only be positive for Kiwis desperate to quit smoking and looking for products they know and trust,” says Mr Devery.