Cannabis Beverages Archives - Green Market Report

StaffJune 11, 2020
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8min41330

CBD & THC INFUSED DRINKS TO BENEFIT FROM “THE LIPSTICK EFFECT” AS CONSUMERS SEEK OUT SMALL LUXURIES DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN AND BEYOND

 

Prohibition Partners, has released a new report indicating that all segments of the beverage industry are now embracing cannabis-infused drinks, with  a clear potential for a growing consumer base as 16% of people who have not yet consumed cannabis-infused drinks say they will probably do so within the next 12 months. They estimate the global cannabis drinks market will be worth US$1.82 billion by the end of 2020 and that number will be infused by those looking for relief from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“When facing an economic crisis, consumers will be more willing to buy less costly luxury goods. The underlying assumption is that consumers will buy luxury goods even if there is a crisis, but that these goods will be more budget conscious luxury. Cannabis infused drinks are an ideal example of this and Prohibition Partners has found that cannabis products are expected to benefit from this period of self-isolation,“ said Stephen Murphy, Managing Director of Prohibition Partners.

Consumers are stockpiling cannabis products in a bid to ensure that their supplies are secured indefinitely. As part of the “home entertainment line-up” in regions where cannabis is legal, beverages can expect to benefit from this trend in hard times to watch more television and spend more on little extras for their in-home leisure. The current stressors of 2020 have already proven to be a boost to cannabis-based products. Despite the current inevitable economic downturn, cannabis is still set to record impressive growth as consumers look for products to help them relax and de-stress and as the most popular format, drinks will likely be the greatest beneficiary.

Consumer demand is strong; the report finds that one in four consumers or would-be consumers of other cannabinoid-based products would be willing to try cannabis-infused drinks, and 28% of people who have already tried infused beverage consumers say they intend to buy more infused consumer goods in the coming three months.

“We are on the cusp of a drinks revolution, for hundreds of years, legal socializing has either involved alcohol, or sobriety; outside of caffeine and nicotine, ultimately you either got drunk, or you didn’t. The emerging cannabis drinks market is one of the most exciting sectors within the beverage industry; cannabis infusion will truly disrupt the drinks market and become a highly lucrative source of revenue for those who embrace it,” said Murphy. 

The cannabis beverage industry has been further driven by COVID-19 shining a spotlight on respiratory illness and lung disease in an unprecedented way in how people choose to consume cannabis. People are avoiding smoking and vaping in favor of other formats such as edibles, including drinks. Furthermore, governments throughout the globe will be searching for ways to bolster flagging economies and cannabis-infused beverages have the potential to deliver. 

Prohibition Partners has also found that working parents have been particularly responsive to the beverages; 2020 has seen them take on the roles of worker, teacher and parent all at once – their wish to reduce stress is evidenced by the fact that almost 70% of people who reported that they are likely to buy more infused products in the coming three months, have children under the age of 18. This indicates that parents may need an outlet to provide a form of escapism or herbal self-medication during the crisis. This is likely to also be a key reason that more than half of those who intend to purchase more cannabis-infused drinks in the coming three months are ages 25–44.

Claire Birks, Prohibition Partners Senior Analyst says “The global drinks market may be large but overall industry growth is slow with some analysts forecasting annual growth at around just 3%. Our research has found that cannabis-drinks, however, are poised for much bigger growth and point towards an almost 45% compound annual growth rate for the cannabis-infused segment of the drinks industry.

Federal US Government Statistics from April show a rise in stress-drinking directly resulting from the global pandemic and this has been mirrored across much of the world. Furthermore, a leading professor of Health at the University of Boston has warned that a spike in alcohol use disorders is on its way owing to a shift in alcohol purchase and consumption habits during the crisis.

The emerging cannabis drinks segment, however, could lessen that impact. Consumer research conducted by Prohibition Partners has found that four in 10 consumers who have or intend to purchase cannabinoid-infused beverages do so as a replacement for other intoxicating substances. 

How Cannabis is Disrupting Drinks Globally, is set to be discussed at the online global event Prohibition Partners LIVE – set to run in place of the annual Cannabis Europa on June 22-23.

 


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So many things have been turned upside down with this pandemic, and saying we live in interesting times would be an understatement. Industries and businesses are being demolished and altered in ways unheard of just a month ago, and a rare few are actually booming. 

For the cannabis industry, one of the biggest changes leading to a boom is that as a whole cannabis is now being considered an “essential” part of life nationwide. The level of legitimacy this brings to the industry would have normally taken another decade. 

Delivery services and curb side pick-up have been implemented across the country also erasing years of necessary effort overnight. But overall, the complete change in cannabis consumer behavior has been one of the most interesting developments to witness for many of us.

As reported by Vice, politics and current events are major sources of anxiety for many in the United States and this leads to an increase of unhealthy behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating poorly to cope with what is termed as “headlines distress disorder”.

In times of great stress, the sale of alcoholic beverages has proven to surge without fail. With legal cannabis now implemented around the country, the same is now proving to be true. According to Headset, during this current Coronavirus crisis, US adult use cannabis markets show average daily sales at large increase by 10%.

Sue Bachorski, formerly with Constellation Brands for 30 years and currently with the House of Saka, explained that “historically, alcohol sales frequently rise during times of economic downturn, regional disasters, etc. There is no reason to believe that cannabis sales would be any different and there will likely be a prolonged upswing for the foreseeable future.”

The Numbers Say It All

As of April 2, 2020, Headset released data that shows how the landscape of preferred cannabis products and consumption methods has proven to alter completely.  In the analysis, Headset compares the average daily sales of each product category before the COVID-19 sales bump began (January 1st through March 6th) to the COVID-19 crisis time period (March 7th through March 31st).

Cannabis infused beverage sales have increased by 14% while edibles accounted for a 28% increase. With infused beverages previously only accounting for 1% of the market, this is a big jump for the category. The reasoning for this change in consumer sales makes sense considering the virus attacks your respiratory system, so people would rather eat or drink their cannabis instead of smoking or vaping it. Pre-rolls and topicals have actually fallen by 13%.

I reached out to some key players in these categories to find out why they feel these increases have occurred. Warren Bobrow, co-founder of cannabis infused beverage brand Klaus Apothicaire and a Vices writer for Forbes, told Green Market Report that he felt that “while being quarantined in our homes, it makes perfect sense to further expand our inner space with high quality cannabis beverages and edibles. Smokable products could prove tricky with this particular virus.”

Ben Larson, CEO of Vertosa, said that “in these uncertain and challenging times, it’s an encouraging silver lining to see cannabis consumers increasingly seeking out infused beverages. There are likely several factors affecting the recent rise in sales, but an important takeaway is that infused beverages are typically designed for individual consumption and can be consumed discreetly, which is ideal during social distancing. They are also an approachable, familiar way to consume cannabis for less experienced users and those looking to avoid smoking during this time.”

The Women Stepped Up Their Spending

Beyond the types of products surging, the Headset data showed that even gender sales show a change in behavior during this crisis. While both genders saw significant increases in cannabis spending, females had more than double the sales growth of males. As Headset previously reported, males make up roughly two thirds of cannabis spending on any given day. Therefore, it could be speculated that females were less likely to have cannabis products on hand and more likely to feel a sense of urgency to stock up.

Tracey Mason, CEO of House of Saka, explains that she believes females could be a major driver in these increased category surges because “there is a triangulation of needs that beverages and edibles meet specifically for the female consumer: They offer precise dosing which provides a safe and controlled means by which to experiment, they offer a subtle means of consumption which removes the stigma associated with smoking and vaping and they are multi-use which drives sociability and expands usage occasions. Safe, Subtle and Social, those are the benefits of infused beverages in a nutshell.”

It remains to be seen as to whether these changes will become market altering over the long term, or if it was truly just a panic surge with no real impact. But as far as the change in gender sales, if this pattern continues, brands will need to evolve their marketing campaigns to appeal more to women.  

“Women are often seeking a healthier alternative to alcohol, but want an elevated social experience. To do this with cannabis is ideal. In addition, women want a product that has relatable packaging, tastes amazing, and feels safe. This tends to be achieved with an edible or an infused beverage, so I am not surprised that when their sales surged during the panic buys, they gravitated toward these products. The cannabis consumable sector has come a long way. The existing products have nailed the experience for the female consumer, so this demographic will continue to grow in the coming years,” says founder & president of Viv & Oak, Alana Burstein.
Will It Last?
If the patterns remain the same for edibles and beverages for the duration of the pandemic’s hold on our behavior, which could affect our lives for up to 18 months, it is safe to say that habits may have altered indefinitely with far reaching consequences for the foreseeable future. 

Understandably, edible and beverage brands are predicting continued growth. “We’ve seen exponential growth in our edibles sales at Garden Society and expect that as these shelter in place orders remain in place, we will continue to see growth. We believe this will have an impact on the overall market and consumer trends over the next year,” said Karli Warner, co-founder of The Garden Society

Geoff Doran, founder and CEO of Van Doran Brands, stated that “right now we are watching this trend very closely as edible and infused beverage companies. We aren’t too surprised that there is a current spike with these categories. We think the current spike has a lot to do with the “newbies” that are bored at home and giving cannabis a shot because of easy access they have through delivery, and quite frankly because they have nothing else to do with their days. A lot of the new cannabis buyers tend to gravitate toward a method of consumption that is familiar to them, which is obviously through eating and drinking. We’re excited about this spike because we know people will realize that edibles and cannabis beverages are a great cannabis experience!”


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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