Few product categories are growing quicker than CBD. The global cannabidiol market surpassed $7.1 billion in 2020 and is forecast to reach $10.8 billion by 2027, as more consumers embrace its suggested anti-inflammatory properties and calming effects.
But while CBD sales are booming, the sector isn’t easy to penetrate.
Legal cannabis is a complex market, with varied international legislation and strict compliance requirements regarding product composition, packaging and labelling. And these regulations are in constant flux.
Despite these challenges, many brands are embracing the massive local and online sales potential of CBD – using cannabidiol in innovative ways to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
Here are some of the fast-growing CBD brands that have caught our eye:
Strangeways is carving a space in the premium CBD market with its range of infused alcoholic spirits including gin, rum and vodka.
Its products have already received a gold award from Canex (the media platform for CBD and cannabis users, entrepreneurs and investors), and it has received retail interest from Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco.
Strangeways recently beat its £120,000 crowdfunding target to finance further product development and expand its retail distribution strategy.
For consumers who like their tipple a little less strong, Cannabrew has created a range of craft beers and ciders containing CBD.
There is a natural symbiosis between alcohol and cannabis – hops and hemp were originally the same plant several million years ago – and Cannabrew has brought them back together to create an IPA, lager and apple cider sold in colourfully designed cans.
Interest in this brand is strong; when Cannabrew launched its first crowdfunding campaign in May 2021, it raised over £200,000 in less than 24 hours.
Fitness fanatics Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran founded Beam after looking for transparently labelled natural products that would support their wellness.
Beam’s product range is designed around four pillars – balance, energy, recovery and sleep – and the company also has a range of hydration sachets. Many products contain nano hemp to encourage quick absorption, while others contain CBD oil sourced from hemp plants with no psychoactive ingredients.
The focus on product purity and transparency is helping Beam to gain traction in the sporting community, among athletes and fitness professionals who want the benefits of cannabidiol without the risk of THC traces.
Kaya is capitalising on two fast-growing market opportunities: CBD and adaptogens, a class of plants thought to reduce stress and balance hormones. UK-based, its sights are set on European expansion into Germany, Italy and Poland.
Kaya has developed an interesting range of products including CBD oil, gummies, chewing gum and supplements, designed to support differing consumer goals – from stress relief to reducing anxiety and also as a sleep aid.
Like Strangeways and Cannabrew, Kaya is another brand to secure significant financial backing; a sign of a thriving business and general market confidence that regulations will only become clearer and easier to manage. In August 2021, the company raised £1.7 million through a funding round that attracted investment from VCs including Senseii Ventures and Artemis Growth.
CBD is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in the personal care sector, with brands like Essench developing ranges of infused beauty and skincare products.
After starting with a flagship moisturising cream, Essench now also sells CBD bath bombs, exfoliating scrubs, hair care products and lip balms. The brand’s INTENSE Hair Serum placed top-five in the ‘World CBD Innovation’ category at the 2019 World CBD Awards.
A Sainsbury’s Future Brand, Trip was founded by husband-and-wife team Olivia Ferdi and Dan Khoury based on their own enjoyment of CBD. While they liked the concept, they hated the bitter taste of the CBD oils available on the market.
To give consumers a better experience, they developed a range of products using premium CBD derived from hemp, along with sugar-free ingredients including Ginseng and chamomile.
Today, Trip’s product range includes CBD drinks, oils and cold-brew coffee, along with branded merchandise. You can watch a review of their cold-brew coffee here:
Follow in the footsteps of these successful CBD brands
These six CBD brands to watch are examples of how product innovation and smart marketing can capitalise on industry growth. And product, packaging and labelling compliance is a critical part of their success.
Understanding CBD legislation is pivotal to developing a successful product. From potency and manufacturing processes to packaging and labelling, creating compliant legal cannabis products is a multi-step process – one which requires specialist industry knowledge.
Whether you’re a dedicated CBD brand or a CPG company looking to create CBD-infused items that extend your product range, enlisting the services of a compliance agency at the innovation stage will help you to incorporate local cannabis legislation into your international sales strategy.
As we discussed in our recent blog post on compliance points to consider when developing a new food or beverage product, seeking regulatory expertise early on will ensure your new products meet strict CBD legislation in all potential markets – avoiding expensive, time-consuming reworks at a later date.
Looking for support with CBD compliance? Get in touch with Hooley Brown. We offer regulatory guidance across every stage of the product lifecycle – from NPD and product launches to international marketing and packaging/labelling localisation.
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