CBD shows growth opportunity beyond relaxation

Source: fooddive.com

Dive Brief:

  • CBD is the most talked-about ingredient in the wellness space, appearing in 19% of conversations on social media in January, according to research from Brightfield Group’s Evergi platform. This places it ahead of ingredients such as garlic (15% of mentions) and ginger (9%). 
  • Sleep support is the main reason consumers are looking for the cannabidiol as an ingredient in the products they buy, with almost half seeking this benefit from CBD. In the last quarter of 2020, the most consumers said they were using CBD for sleep — the first time it beat relaxation and physical relief, according to Evergi’s consumer research platform and social listening. 
  • CBD trailed ingredients such as vitamins C and D, probiotics and ginger when consumers were seeking options for immune support, according to Evergi. Overall, this study shows there is plenty of room for growth for CBD in the coming years, beyond its traditional applications. 

Dive Insight:

With CBD gaining popularity as an ingredient, CPGs have plenty of room to get in the space while it’s still developing and make their mark. A 2019 survey conducted by High Yield Highlights show 40% of consumers are willing to try CBDThat number increases if the consumer is able to learn more information about CBD, according to a report from FMCG Gurus cited by Natural Products Insider.

Meanwhile, with more states legalizing cannabis in the last election cycle, and the new Biden administration combining with a Democratic-controlled Congress, the regulatory headwinds could also lighten. 

For now, manufacturers have been using CBD as an ingredient mainly for its calming effect. In January, Truss CBD USA, a joint venture majority owned by Molson Coors Beverage Company and operated with Canadian cannabis producer Hexo, announced the U.S. launch of Veryvell, a line of sparkling, nonalcoholic CBD drinks that offer consumers an opportunity “to chill.” This past June, Ocean Spray’s Lighthouse Innovation incubator launched the CarryOn line of sparkling CBD water, which has varieties to both sharpen focus and provide relaxation.

This week, Constellation Brands-owned Canopy Growth released Quatreau, a CBD sparkling water available for purchase online in states where CBD is legal. The brand is aimed at helping people manage stress, find moments of calm and prioritize wellness, according to the manufacturer.

As the Evergi report shows, CBD has opportunities beyond relaxation. Food and beverage manufacturers are already trying to address immunity concerns by using ingredients like ginger and vitamins C and D. Even less common ingredients like elderberry have seen demand soar in the past year as consumers look to keep their immune systems strong. 

Even though CBD has made inroads as a sleep-supporting ingredient, it has room to grow — and competition from other options. This past September, PepsiCo released Driftwell, a beverage specially crafted for consumers to get a better night’s rest. The drink contains 200 grams of L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea and some herbal mushrooms, as well as 10% of the daily value of magnesium, which are all meant to help consumers relax and de-stress. 

But the biggest problem for CBD as an ingredient is the lack of complete regulation over its use in food and beverage options. While several big CPG companies have said they would be interested in using it — including Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s brand and snacking company Mondelez — absence of federal regulation has kept them from introducing products. But since consumers already value CBD for its functional properties, it may be worth the effort for CPG companies to look into product development while they wait for clear regulations.