The manufacturing process used for snus products from Swedish Match differs from the processes used for smokeless tobacco products in other countries. Swedish snus is subject to the Swedish Food Act, which entails that the additives used are approved for use in food and that a high standard of hygiene is maintained. Swedish Match has also developed its own quality standard, GOTHIATEK®.
Swedish snus is a product that differs substantially from most other smokeless tobacco products. To guarantee this unique quality, Swedish Match has developed a quality standard for snus products. The standard, named GOTHIATEK®, provides a guarantee assuring the consumer that all Swedish Match products undergo controls and maintain the highest quality throughout all the stages from tobacco plant to consumer. Read more about GOTHIATEK®.
Raw material requirements
The tobacco used in Swedish Match’s snus products is air and sun-dried and is selected to ensure that the company’s internal limits for undesired substances are met for each product. Swedish Match snus under the GOTHIATEK® standard contains no genetically modified tobacco.
In addition to ground tobacco, the main ingredients in the preparation of snus are water, salt (ordinary cooking salt) and sodium carbonate. Additional ingredients are aromatic compounds and moisture preserving agents.
There are three main stages in the production of Swedish Match snus under the GOTHIATEK® standard: grinding, preparation and packing. Swedish Match pursues an extremely detailed production process, including strict hygiene requirements, with each stage monitored and analyzed.
The tobacco is broken up, dried and fed into a grinder, where it is ground. The ground tobacco is screened into coarse, intermediate and fine meal.
The process begins with the tobacco flour being weighed and transported to closed blenders. Water and salt are added while the mixture is stirred, after which the snus is heated. The temperature of the snus mixture and the stirring process is computer controlled. This part of the process is known as pasteurization. Thereafter, the snus is cooled and other ingredients are added. Samples are taken for quality control. If all measurement values are approved, the batch is ready for packing.
Loose snus: cans are filled in automatic packaging machines. After filling, the cans are closed with a lid, after which they are weighed and labeled.
Portion-packed snus: Portion-packed snus requires a more complicated process. The portions are measured and inserted into a cellulose fiber tube. They are then sealed and cut apart. The finished portion pouches are packed into a plastic can, before being sealed with a lid. Finally, the cans are weighed and labeled.
Packaging materials: Loose snus is mainly packaged in paraffin-coated cardboard cans. When the cans are produced, two different grades of cardboard are used, one for the frame and one for the base of the can. The lid is made of polypropylene plastic. Polypropylene cans are used for portion-packed snus, which is more sensitive to drying out than loose snus. The use of plastic cans for portion-packed snus is primarily motivated by durability considerations.
All ready-packaged snus is stored in cold storage rooms for a number of days before being distributed to retailers. Cold storage is important for allowing the snus to mature and acquire its characteristic aroma and flavor.