Keeping up to date in one of the fastest-growing sectors is important for cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs to capitalise on consumer demands. A recent study by Green Entrepreneur demonstrates what the fastest growing cannabis products currently are.
“Back in 2014, whole flower was by far the most popular product and, naturally, the technologies of choice for consumption were pipes, bongs, and rolling papers. Just a few years later, the most popular cannabis products are different than they were when weed legalisation started. Today, other methods of consumption are experiencing rapid growth and CBD has emerged as a distinct product,” it says.
The study continues to showcase multiple types of edibles that are currently a hit with consumers. However, it also reveals the challenges in measuring sales of cannabis-based goods as cash – which is relatively untraceable – remains the most common method of payment due to the illegality of cannabis on a federal level in the United States.
Chocolate and gummies appear to be consumers’ first choice of CBD snacks, with edibles sales reaching more than $1 billion during 2018 alone. This is expected to continue to grow exponentially to become a $4.1 billion part of the ever-widening industry by 2022.
Large companies have begun entering the desirable edibles market starting with Ionic Brands Corp moving to recently acquire Zoots, a Washington-based premium cannabis-infused edible supplier, to add to its portfolio of consumer-oriented cannabis concentrates.
Large corporations entering the space is always good for the overall market. However, they often tend to dominate the market, which takes away vital space for smaller, niche brands to flourish. Hopefully, as pending regulations become solidified, they will continue to innovate, with the smaller brands gaining newfound confidence in the sector.
The Google annual search report in 2018 showed that CBD gummies was the third most searched-for term under the food category, just behind unicorn cake and romaine lettuce – proving the popularity of CBD in this form.
The healthier way to ingest CBD
On board with the ever-increasing interest in healthier living, consumers appear to be moving away from smokable forms of CBD such as vapes and towards cleaner and more convenient methods. The flower in edible form is much easier to ingest and comes without the stigma of smoking and leaving huge billowing smoke clouds trailing behind the user.
The appealing fact of CBD possessing less stigma could prove positive for investment firms and companies, as shareholders are less likely to lose interest in CBD as it sheds its association of being a product for weed smokers.
Not only is it preferable to be seen with a bar of chocolate, CBD edibles undoubtedly taste better than taking oil directly from a bottle or in pill form. The ingredients either work in harmony with CBD or mask its often bitter taste to become just as delicious as other popular confectionery brands.
Edibles enable CBD products to shed the pungent smell of cannabis smoke and allow consumers discretion in consumption.
CBD edibles are also often touted as a superfood, as in many cases the compound is infused into products such as honey, salads, baked goods, and healthy snacks along with a variety of beverages.
As such, it appears that CBD edibles have gone mainstream, with celebrities including Martha Stewart jumping on board with a Canopy Growth Corporation partnership. The partnership plans to produce CBD lifestyle products including a “sensible product for pets”. This developing partnership doesn’t fall far from Martha’s VH1 talk show with well-known cannabis aficionado Snoop Dogg, aptly named Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.
From a marketing and branding perspective, there is a much wider scope for attractive packaging to be made for edibles to become more appealing to the consumer. The scale of the target market for consuming CBD spans across all genders and ages, with different groups of consumers expecting various degrees of branding to resonate correctly with them.
What is currently out there?
Moving away from questionable brownies in hazy Amsterdam coffee shops, the new ballooning health trend has already begun to inspire a multitude of impressive selections.
Nearly 77% of chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association ranked cannabis and CBD-infused drinks as the top trend for 2019. This was closely followed by cannabis and CBD-infused food highlighted by 76% of respondents, both of which were ahead of the hugely popular zero-waste cooking in third.
From brownies and luxury chocolates to lollipops and gumdrops, there’s a Willy Wonka-esque variety to choose from. It is predominantly American brands that are leading in the edibles market so far. A few examples include fancy Lord Jones Old Fashioned High CBD gumdrops in citrus and berry flavours boasting 20mg of CBD per pack, while the sour-sounding Chronic Candy Lemon OG lollipops, which use a blend of terpenes and contain 10mg of 99.9% CBD isolate, provide a salivating alternative.
Keeping in line with the health buzz, CBD-infused honey has burst onto the wellness market with offerings such as Potli Hemp Infused Raw Honey, which utilises home-harvested raw honey from California infused with dreamy full-spectrum CBD for the more health-conscious consumer.
The future of CBD edibles
With the projected growth stats firmly behind them, and despite the legal edibles market still being in its infancy, gummies and other edibles are clearly driving the trends within the market sector, and most new market entrants will be smartly hopping on the delicious bandwagon to capitalise on the under-served growing customer demand.
However, several current market contenders have shown signs of concern with regulators seemingly clamping down on companies mislabelling products with “unsubstantial claims” or using the incorrect dosage within the legal guidelines.
But this shouldn’t be seen as a negative – it is in fact a good sign that will lead to a shake-out of improper companies and products. It will eventually pave the way for a regulated product selection that will safeguard consumers, which is among one of the main marketplace concerns within the sector.
With further products from newcomers and existing brands undoubtedly being created to enhance product line-ups once prohibition is eventually lifted, the future looks to be filled with an assortment of edible delights to satisfy the highest of cravings.