February 11 2019  |  Retailers

Hamila Duty Free to premiere trendy new shisha tobacco brand

By Hibah Noor

Shisha tobacco brand 111 comes in four flavors, available in 500gram packs

YKH Holding Group, the parent company of well-known and respected Tunisian retailer Hamila Duty Free, has partnered with a local tobacco company to introduce a new brand of shisha tobacco worldwide.

Hamila Duty Free, which has the distribution rights for travel retail and domestic markets, will distribute the premium 111 brand of shisha tobacco starting with its own outlets in coming days.

The company has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Société Orientale, a specialist manufacturer based in the Tunisian city of Sousse. The two firms want to emphasize that their 111 tobacco can match the high quality of other leading shisha tobacco players on the market.

Société Orientale is a family-run company that started producing black and aromatic molasses in 1996. It is a leading player in the North African market and exports its products to Egypt, the US and some Middle Eastern countries.

In the manufacturing process, the company utilizes the most up-to-date technology, while maintaining traditional manufacturing methods during the fermentation and sourcing of its products.

CEO and owner of Société Orientale, explained: “After three decades of manufacturing and selling shisha tobacco through North Africa and chosen countries in the Middle East, we expanded our expertise into developing and manufacturing, blending finest tobacco with molasses. Our idea was a great success, and since then we have created many flavors named 111.”

Explaining why the name 111 was chosen, he said that some numerology experts claim 111 is a message from the angels to tell people that their thoughts and ideas are ready to manifest. The CEO believes that he may have received that message 20 years ago when he started developing successful flavors.

Karim Mahjoub, International Business Developer, Hamila Duty Free, said the operator has known Société Orientale for years, as it supplies Hamila Duty Free with other brands.

“When we spoke to Société Orientale, we thought about creating an international tobacco brand to compete with other international brands. We want to reach this standard. We wanted something new, with new packaging and high quality tobacco, and with a good price.”

The two firms developed the 111 brand together, working on the brand name, the packaging, the taste and the flavors over a couple of months. There are four flavors – two apples, blueberry, mint, and mojito (mint and lemon) - available in a 500gram packs.

Hamila Duty Free is in talks to supply other operators in the region in locations such as Beirut, Jordan and Morocco. Because of the complex requirements of local taxes and regulations, the company is seeking distributors in Europe.

“We are really optimistic about developing this product worldwide,” said Mahjoub. “We’ll start with operators in North Africa and the Middle East, targeting all duty free channels.”

Explaining why Hamila Duty Free chose shisha tobacco as a sector in which to expand, he said: “Shisha tobacco [smoking] is well developed in the Middle East and is now growing in Europe – in places like Germany, France and UK through shisha lounges. Before, the product was just made of tobacco, but today all the manufacturers are improving the flavors. It’s become a premium product and it’s trendy and social.”

He concluded: “We want to develop something which can make a difference and give the consumer complete satisfaction – in price, taste, and packaging.

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