The list continues to grow with at least 12 states considering legalizing cannabis this year — the impact of edibles on the food and beverage industry will be substantial. It wont be long before consumers are able to shop for cannabis-infused chips and cookies, or pick up a pack of their favorite THC-based beverage.
The U.S. edibles market has exploded in the past few years, with California consumers spending more than $180 million on cannabis-infused foods and beverages in 2016, according to Arcview Market Research data reported by Forbes. That was 10% of the state’s total sales of cannabis that year. And, in Colorado, BDS Analytics reported that edible sales jumped 67% between February 2016 and February 2017.
For Medium-sized and smaller companies producing edibles it is getting hard to stay around as state regulatory regimes clamp down on their ability to afford licensing and taxes, and they aren’t able to finance the commercial space to scale up.
This state move gives big food and beverage companies a open lane for growth. However, regulatory obstacles remain as states work to prevent health and safety problems — such as children mistaking edibles for regular candy and accidentally getting high — and they enhance efforts to standardize doses and make sure the raw product is free from pesticides or other chemicals.
One thing we know about edibles is, it’s less conspicuous and easier to consume, which is another factor playing into their popularity.
Premium edibles appeal to millennial consumers and others who want to partake with friends at a party or in their own homes. One example is Oregon’s Leif Goods, which produces five gourmet chocolate bars using organic, fair-trade chocolate, are vegan-certified and contain sun-grown, full-extract cannabis oil. The amount of oil varies per bar and is meant to deliver an “overall foodie experience as opposed to just getting high,” according to the company.
Keith Villa, the former head brewmaster of Blue Moon, also plans to launch a line of cannabis-infused, nonalcoholic craft beverages. While other brands like Lagunitas use marijuana to flavor their beer, Villa’s CERIA Beverages will actually formulate its light, regular and full-bodied beers with THC, the psychoactive chemical in the marijuana plant that creates the high.
Overall the industry is making a shift in what the consumer is asking for and at this pace it you soon will be walking down the edible isle.