Using CBD in wellness foods
A new range of food categories are including CBDs
As the Canadian cannabis market nears its third year of legalization in October 2021, consumer awareness of cannabis is evolving. We can now access a broader range of products, including edibles and beverages that do not contain high T.H.C. content. Alternatively, CBD (cannabidiol) is now better understood as a wellness, dietary and functional ingredient, and companies creatively integrate it into a range of C.P.G. products.
According to U.S.-based Charlotte’s Web, a leader in full-spectrum hemp extraction with CBD, cannabinoids help our bodies to stay balanced and in good overall health, even when external factors and lifestyle choices diminish well-being. From a 2017 study by the Brightfield Group, the top conditions treated by CBD include depression, insomnia, anxiety, and joint pain. More than 40 percent of CBD users have stopped using traditional medications, while 80 percent of CBD users found these products to be an effective treatment.
In an April 2021 Food Technology article, CBD ingredients are well-positioned for the mainstream food and beverage market because they tap into consumers’ ongoing interest in functional foods and natural approaches to health care. From a 2020 Natural Marketing Institute study, consumers purchased CBD products for pain management (43 percent), reduced anxiety (39 percent), relaxation (33 percent), and reduced inflammation (27 percent).
U.S.-based Caliper Foods specializes in processing, manufacturing, and distributing soluble CBD. Their head of R&D sees the most significant trend is combining CBD with specific amounts of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other functional health-focused ingredients, catering to particular ailments that CBD is already positively associated with, to help new entrants stand out in the crowded marketplace. CBD doses per serving have also increased from 5 to15 mg to the 20- to 40-mg range, which is partially fuelled by the cost of CBD dropping as supply has grown over the last few years.
A part of the innovation in CBD ingredients is the development of nanoemulsion systems. While CBD nanoparticles are not water-soluble, the particles are small enough to remain suspended in high-viscosity beverages. People are seeking fast-acting cannabinoid-infused products that are more easily absorbed for quicker onset, predictable experiences. Albeit, there is a known lack of consistency in CBD ingredients and finished products, and due to CBD’s popularity, many inexperienced players are attempting to provide supply (Brewster, I.F.T., April 2021).
CBD is found in many new wellness foods and beverages
CBD finds its way into new foods like gummies or candies, famous for its consistency, compact form, and compatibility with other ingredient formulations. In beverages, CarryOn was developed by Ocean Spray Cranberries’ Lighthouse Incubator. The incubator focuses on accelerating wellness-oriented product innovations. In August 2020, Pepsi began distributing Kalo, a hemp-infused seltzer, to major grocers and natural food markets in the New York area. Martha Stewart has launched a line of CBD products for both humans and pets. These are available through Canada’s Canopy Growth. According to the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet. In the U.S., Recess has become one of the most popular CBD-beverage brands that focus on user occasion and as an alternative to alcoholic drinks.
CBD, T.H.C., and cannabinoids
CBD is garnering attention as the non-intoxicating, non-psychoactive cousin to T.H.C. It is considered to have an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic counterweight to T.H.C. Consumers increasingly understand the benefits of CBD and are looking for unique consumption formats. Research is also beginning to understand better other minor cannabinoids such as C.B.G., C.B.C., CBN, and CBGa, including a series of terpenes found in cannabis and hemp extracts. For example, CBN has been shown to induce sleep and increase sleep time (Brewster, I.F.T., April 2021).
CBD ingredient production
Amidst the growing demand for CBD products, the distinction between cannabis and hemp markets in North America is worth mentioning. With the passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, hemp and its derivatives, including CBD, were no longer classified as controlled substances. This has significantly impacted the production of CBD in the U.S.A. from hemp plants. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to issue warning letters about advertising CBD with therapeutic claims, consumer brand advocates keep pushing for a durable national regulatory framework for producing and using CBD and hemp derivatives in food and beverages. According to FoodDive, in January 2021, the U.S. is expected to be the largest market globally for CBD. Several Canadian companies are now entering that market through acquisitions and product launches.
In research by the Brightfield Group with data from New Frontier Data, B.D.S. Analytics and Arcview Market Research, the global CBD market is expected to reach $22 billion by 2022, while the U.S. CBD industry is expected to triple in market size in the same year. In April 2021, I.F.T.’s Food Technology magazine added that 20 percent of U.S. adults have reported purchasing a CBD product at least once, and CBD edible sales (e.g., food, candy, and beverages) in mainstream retail outlets are expected to hit $5.7 billion in 2024.
All of this is fuelled, in part, by a series of high-profile mergers and acquisitions. In January 2021, Truss CBD USA was created from a joint venture between Canadian cannabis company HEXO and Molson Coors Beverage Co. It launched Veryvell, a line of non-alcoholic sparkling CBD beverages as a self-care brand, with claimed adaptogen health formulations. Further, in 2019, Canadian cannabis company Tilray bought Manitoba Harvest, a long-time hemp food producer. The acquisition is now producing a line of CBD-infused food and wellness products for the North American market. In late 2020, Canadian cannabis company Aphria merged with Tilray, partnered with beer giant A.B. InBev, and expanded into the U.S., creating further cross-over between beer and cannabis industries.
In conclusion, the CBD food and beverage sector remains highly dynamic and is expected to meet market demand for alternatives to alcoholic drinks with health and wellness products.