Disruptive innovation is underway as food, beverage and alcohol companies look to cannabis to fuel future growth.
While some are sitting on the sidelines anticipating changes to U.S. federal regulations, others are strategically investing or launching their own brands in newly regulated recreational markets to capture growth in evolving consumption preferences. One thing that is clear is most CPG companies are strategizing about how and when to integrate cannabis and cannabis derivatives into their consumer-facing products.
While beer and spirits makers look to the buzz-inducing properties of psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to fuel new growth, the main trend that CPG companies are looking to capture is around functional wellness, or the stress, pain and anxiety-reducing properties of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol). Both CBD and THC are naturally occurring cannabinoid constituents of cannabis.
This year’s most recent industry developments include:
- Coca-Cola is monitoring the growth of CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages.
- Constellation Brands invests $4 Billion USD in Canopy Growth, Canada’s cannabis industry leader, which bolsters Canopy Growth’s plans to expand their portfolio in Canada, the United States and emerging cannabis markets globally.
- Molson Coors’ Canadian business unit is exploring a partnership with HEXO Corp. under the joint venture Truss to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalization.
- Heineken’s Lagunitas Brewing Company launched Hi-Fi Hops in California, an IPA-inspired sparkling water infused with THC or CBD, surfing on the wave of zero-calorie and low-calorie consumer trend.
- Pernod Ricard’s CEO announced in August they are monitoring cannabis legalization to see whether it impacts the consumption of premium spirits.