For the third year in a row, CBD will be front and center at Natural Products Expo West next month as its use continues to trend in food & beverage, supplements, and beauty. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the industrial farming of hemp, and startups and small businesses quickly brought products to market. At last month’s FMI Midwinter Conference, food industry leaders shared some predictions for the next five years which include, the “projected U.S. total cannabinoid market of around $45 billion in 2024” and, with that, a projected shift toward the sales of CBD and hemp products via general retail channels. Early on, cannabinoids were primarily sold through dispensaries and online; and are increasingly finding spaces on shelves in big-box retailers which include Kroger and Walmart.
Consumers are driving sales of cannabinoid products to address a range of issues and call out relief from pain, mobility, sleeplessness, and dislike of medication as pain points they seek to address with CBD and hemp solutions. Spend even 3 minutes on social media and you are able to see these consumer pain points brought to life, as we did:
Tuned into consumer pain paints and Jobs To Be Done such as Give me a way to relieve pain daily without taking drugs, BigCos are beginning to integrate CBD/hemp products in their lineups.
Unilever brand Schmidt’s recently launched two deodorant sticks enriched with hemp seed soil – without CBD or THC – touting the rich vitamins the oil delivers to the skin. Anheuser-Busch InBev partnered with Canadian cannabis producer Tilray Inc. to create Fluent Beverages, which just launched its first non-alcohol CBD-infused tea drink Everie – which is available in Canada. And Sparkling CBD – bubbly soda beverages infused with broad-spectrum hemp extract – is being distributed by (Molson Coors) and is offered in five flavors.
Another Unilever brand, Ben & Jerry’s, is keen to launch a CBD ice cream and has even teased consumers with packaging images. They have stated publicly that they will bring this vision to market once the FDA approves the addition of CBD to foods and beverages. This FDA approval is indeed one of the challenges facing BigCos. In November, the FDA issued warnings about the use of CBD and many still unknown benefits and risks they believe require further exploration. Along with that, the majority of adult consumers in the U.S. still have questions about what cannabinoids really are. For now, consumers are showing an appetite for trying CBD and hemp-based products to address their individual needs and pain points.
Is your brand exploring the inclusion of cannabinoids in your innovation journey? What impact does FDA regulation have on your innovation?