Major players in the cannabidiol (CBD) industry are going full speed ahead on innovation despite growing economic uncertainty for consumers. Innovation in dosage and ingredients are helping to keep CBD brands top-of-mind, attract holistic wellness seekers, and offer easier-to-understand products for a growing consumer base that is turning to CBD to manage stress and promote self-care in difficult times.
CBD consumers are increasingly interested in high-dosage products from tinctures (oil/drops) to roll-on topicals. According to Brightfield Group’s quarterly CBD consumer insights survey (June 2020), 47% of respondents indicated they are using a stronger dose of CBD in response to the coronavirus.
This trend of higher dosage is likely to continue as many consumers assume more is better when it comes to CBD and that higher doses will be more effective at producing a desired outcome — from joint pain relief to general relaxation and stress relief. Retailers can look to feature brands with high-dose products.
However, c-store operators also must continue to consider the price point their shoppers are looking for, which tends to be less than $30. With the prices of many CBD products coming down thanks to falling raw material prices and manufacturing efficiencies, offering higher-dose products at an accessible price point is an increasing reality.
CBN and CBG
New ingredients that boost functionality of CBD products are also an important source of innovation and opportunity for CBD brands and retailers. CBD formulas with natural functional ingredients or the addition of minor cannabinoids CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol) can help catch a consumer’s eye or help them to better understand how CBD fits into a total wellness routine.
As c-stores look for ways to offer new products to health-conscious shoppers, CBD brands are offering new ways to grab interest with ingredients like elderberry, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, L-theanine, vitamins D and C, and echinacea. Consumers still unsure about CBD and its uses may be drawn to these other functional ingredients that help to signal what the product can be used for.
With c-store shoppers having little time to browse or discuss options with a store clerk, these types of products can help consumers make quicker grab-and-go purchase decisions and drive incremental sales.
Many brands have launched or are developing products with other minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBG. These additions are most likely to appeal to heavy CBD users looking for new ways to boost their CBD regimen and capture all the benefits of the cannabis plant. Of current CBD consumers, only 11% are aware of CBN and CBG, but those who are aware express strong interest in purchasing products with those compounds.
New launches with the cannabinoids range from chewing gum to tinctures and gummies. While many of these products remain on the higher end of the price spectrum, smaller pack sizes or trial sizes can help make these products attractive to the c-store shopper.
Innovation in dosage will help existing CBD users and those most concerned about efficacy interested in CBD offerings. Emerging minor cannabinoids will also catch the attention of cannabis aficionados looking to up their wellness routine with the full plant experience without psychoactive effects.
New functional ingredients can be a helper in bringing new consumers to CBD, especially as natural ingredients complement the many uses of CBD and help consumers better understand how to incorporate these products into their daily or weekly wellness habits. Featuring these products that also offer accessible price points can help drive incremental CBD sales for convenience operators and encourage routine purchases.
Kay Tamillow, research director for Brightfield Group, leads Brightfield Group’s research team, providing in-depth analysis on the CBD and cannabis markets spanning across consumer research, new product developments, market sizes and brand shares.