NATIONAL REPORT — Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to rule on the regulation of CBD, or cannabidiol, used in food and beverage products, there is already a growing segment of the U.S. population using CBD products, and others who are just starting to hear about them and showing interest.
“After the FDA rules, I think the landscape of consumers using CBD will change because it’s not readily available right now,” Jessica Lukas, vice president of consumer insights at BDS Analytics, told Convenience Store News. “They are not seeing it while shopping at Target or the grocery store. But as product availability increases, you will see a lot more people trying and accepting these products.”
In the past six months, 15 percent of adults aged 21 and older have consumed CBD products, according to BDS Analytics. Of those, 40 percent have a college degree or higher. And in following the trend of consumers looking for healthier and local products — which the convenience store industry has been responding to recently — the CBD consumer also falls into this category, Lukas said.
“CBD consumers are trying to live a natural and healthy lifestyle so it’s not surprising that hemp-derived products would appeal to them,” she noted. “Also, more than others, they are interested in buying products local, natural and organic.”
Most research shows both men and women utilize CBD products, with females slightly more than men — although this does vary by product. For example, topicals are used more by women, especially since CBD is being featured in beauty products already on the market today.
“Right now, it’s slightly more women than men as CBD consumers, but we see this as being such a huge growth industry and used by people across the spectrum,” said Jamie Schau, CBD research manager at Brightfield Group, based in Chicago.
Brightfield Group conducted a CBD consumer insights poll, collecting thousands of surveys from those who use CBD, as well as utilizing artificial intelligence technology to scan social media profiles. The results included 5,000 responses that the company turned into one million data points.
The two biggest consumer segments that stood out from the survey are “stressed out millennials,” ranging in age from 21 to 35, who are using CBD products for anxiety, depression and insomnia; and baby boomers, aged 56 and older, who are looking to address chronic conditions for pain management and inflammation, Schau shared.
Management Science Associates Inc., an analytics company based in Pittsburgh, Pa., also did a survey called Consumer Research Around Cannabis, which included 70,000 legal adults in 69 different markets. The goal was to uncover who is most likely to purchase CBD and/or cannabis products. The research discovered that those interested in cannabis are also “highly interested” in CBD, according to Don Burke, senior vice president of the company.
“We found males ages 18 to 39 and females from 18 to 34 as the consumers most interested, and their incomes tend to be higher,” Burke noted. “We also found it far more likely for the tobacco consumer to also have an interest in CBD amongst the general population.”
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