Editor’s note: This story is part of a recurring series of commentaries from professionals connected to the hemp industry. Nathan Wogman is vice president for GenCanna, a CBD manufacturer in Kentucky.
The market for CBD-infused products is red hot and growing at a rapid rate.
According to Brightfield Group, the top categories for CBD products over the next five years are tinctures, gummies, topicals, capsules and drinks.
Each category is projected to reach over $1 billion in product sales by 2026.
Pet products are forecast to reach nearly $1 billion in annual? sales, and beauty and personal care offerings can reach a half-billion dollars a year, according to the Chicago-based forecasting firm.
These projections include not only off-the-shelf finished goods but also products that have customized formulations and ingredients.
Differentiate through custom formulations
Many products that enter the market — including those that are white-labeled — are more or less commodities that have little differentiation from competing brands.
The value proposition for these offerings is primarily economic. Delivering a white-label CBD product at price points lower than the competition has been essential to retailers and others in the sales channel.
And while supporting the economics remains important, many retailers are now taking note that consumers want products that are reliable, relevant and that effectively address their particular conditions.
For example, a golfer will likely want a CBD product to address his or her specific ailments, rather than just a generic topical rub. Meanwhile, a dermatology practice may be interested in providing a product to combat acne, but it may also want to add a key ingredient for preventing sun damage.
In situations like these, specific products are far more appealing than generic offerings.
Few would dispute this. But this industry is in its adolescence, and retailers and others in the sales channel may feel that creating customized products to address a specific market segment is too complex or expensive.
In reality, the opposite is true. With the influx of modern technology and advanced processing, experienced CBD manufacturers have the expertise and resources to manufacture and deliver bespoke products far more quickly and cost-effectively than previously expected.
By choosing a manufacturer who has the background and technology to cost-effectively create customized products, retailers can begin to build a customer base that is loyal, discerning and has a long lifecycle.
Choosing your manufacturer
There are several keys to success that brands should consider when choosing a manufacturer to help create a custom product.
Retailers should select a supplier that has its own processing plant with capabilities to add custom ingredients, as well as sufficient capacity to meet demand.
Suppliers who outsource manufacturing lose the ability to control end-to-end product formulation and ensure it meets the required specifications, quality and consistency.
It is important to keep the cost of goods in mind so the product can be priced right for the market. Although it may be easy to assemble a “dream formula” for a particular market, if the cost of ingredients becomes too high, it will likely fall short as a viable product.
Packaging selection should be carefully considered, and product labeling must meet regulatory compliance.
Additionally, tracking the chain of custody is vital.
A brand must be able to trace the ingredients and manufacturing process from when the cannabinoids are extracted from hemp all the way to the end product — with a batch code printed on the finished package. This is needed for a retailer to comply with a product recall, if necessary.
By working with a manufacturer that understands, and controls, the complete supply chain, retailers can be confident that their custom formula is of high quality, consistent and compliant.
CBD manufacturing and business processes have evolved to the point where it is both technically and economically feasible for retailers and wholesalers to offer customized products that capture lucrative market segments, delight customers and build brand loyalty. These products can be seen as complementary to selling white-label products, giving savvy retailers compelling options for generating revenue and building a strong customer base.
By partnering with a CBD manufacturer that understands the custom products market and has the capabilities and expertise to formulate products at reasonable costs, providers can confidently offer an effective, safe, compliant and profitable product that will differentiate them in highly competitive market.
Nathan Wogman can be reached at [email protected].