Updated: May 9, 2022
Over the last two decades, the cannabis industry has grown at a dizzying pace thanks to legalization and decriminalization initiatives that have made significant progress in the world. This massification of cannabis use has generated remarkable cultural changes in society. It is now common to find television programs dedicated to cooking with the plant and numerous edible products containing CBD.
The normalization of cannabis as an ingredient in edible products has led to a niche market where everyone wants to be: Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Martha Stewart have them as another product line within their brands.
Although adding or infusing cannabis into food may seem new, it is not. Since the origins of the plant in Asia, its primary use was not to smoke it but to drink special preparations, such as Bhang, which is still available today in India. Another use was mixing the resin derived from the plant with butter to add to sweet preparations. It was not until the plant reached the African continent that smoking began.
Today, the edibles segment is growing strongly. Many people using the plant are looking for alternative consumption methods to replace vaping or smoking it.
Since 2016, the market share of edibles in the United States has been gradually growing and reached an all-time high of 11.9% in December 2019. Still, this niche suffered a setback early in the COVID-19 pandemic, during the spring and summer of 2020.
Over the past two years, this category has rebounded. Although edibles represent the fourth most popular cannabis category in the U.S. and Canada, they have shown positive growth. Edibles could easily reach a quarter of a billion in sales in Canada and nearly 3 billion in sales in the U.S. by 2022. It is a category with an older consumer demographic profile and, within each age group, women have a greater affinity for grocery products than men.
The prediction is that, in the United States, edible sales could reach almost 3 billion in 2022, which is an increase of 28% compared to 2021. While, in Canada, sales will grow by 39% from 2021 to 2022.
One of the trends in the grocery world that are generating a lot of expectation is the beverage category, with a particular interest in replacing alcoholic beverages with plant-derived products. In this case, the regulatory environment will have to catch up with the interest of consumers demanding healthier alternatives to alcohol.
It is a key moment for those wishing to enter this industry, especially the edibles category. There is more than enough room for new entrants, and players should be encouraging partnerships and licensing business models allowing them a profitable entry into the market.