NATIONAL REPORT — Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to rule on food and beverage products with cannabidiol (CBD), items are flying off the shelves in the states where the sale of these products is currently legal.
While millennials and baby boomers are the demographic segments most interested in CBD, many experts believe the use of these products will increase across the board once the FDA makes a ruling on guidelines, and consumers become more familiar with the ingredient.
“The more familiar consumers become, the more mainstream it will be,” Sarah Marion, director of syndicated research at The Hartman Group, based in Bellevue, Wash. told Convenience Store News. “When we speak to people who don’t live in states where it’s legal, they think the products will make them high, but once enough people know that isn’t the case, the market will really open up.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound derived from hemp and marijuana that doesn’t cause a high. CBD is said to have many potential health benefits.
High Yield Insights, a market research firm reporting on the cannabis industry, recently launched a study of both potential and current CBD users. The research revealed that baked goods are the preference for both groups in terms of CBD products. Baked goods include such items as cookies and brownies.
Among current CBD users, gummies came in second, and in third place was a mixture of candy, vaping and beauty/topical products, as well as tinctures, according to Mike Luce, co-owner of High Yield Insights.
“For potential users, baked goods were the clear winner in terms of preference, and second was either chocolate or capsules, and third was gummies and candy,” he said.
Looking at the beverages segment, 17 percent of current CBD users identify beverages as their go-to product, and 30 percent of potential users express interest.
While many major manufacturers are waiting for more clarity from the FDA before jumping into the market, there are many smaller companies emerging in all CBD product categories, including beverages, which are ideal for the convenience channel. From single dose shots to CBD-infused ready-to-drink coffee, water, tea and juices, this is a segment with the potential for future growth.
In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 Culinary Forecast, 77 percent of the chefs surveyed ranked CBD-infused beverages as the top trend, and 76 percent ranked CBD-infused foods as the No. 2 trend.
Retailers need to check the current laws in their particular state before introducing CBD items into their stores but, for c-stores in particular, stocking items like CBD-infused beverages, baked goods, gummies and candy are aligned with what many people already go to a c-store for and expect to find.
“In Washington, we see [CBD products] in drugstores and some grocery stores, and you can find them in the wellness section of the store, but also next to the checkout counter as an impulse purchase with functional shots, mints and other edibles,” Marion said.
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