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Cannabis product innovation is more important than ever in 2022 as the industry gets more competitive, new consumers enter the market, consumers get more educated about cannabis products, and they develop both product and brand preferences.
It’s not surprising that we’re seeing cannabis companies hire experienced consumer packaged goods (CPG) executives away from brands like PepsiCo, The Clorox Company, Nestle, and more. With this leadership in place, you can bet cannabis product innovation will be a top priority for many companies this year. Let’s take a look at some of the ways product innovation will affect the industry in the near future.
Forward-thinking cannabis manufacturers are already researching ways to give consumers more control of the effects they get from cannabis products. One of the biggest opportunities to improve consumer control is through low-dose edible products.
For consumers who want to get medical benefits from cannabis without the psychoactive effects, low-dose edibles are increasing in popularity. These products also give consumers peace-of-mind that they won’t overconsume.
In addition, low-dose edibles are a perfect product line to bring new consumers into the cannabis market since micro-dosing allows them to have control of their personal experiences. In other words, they can try a cannabis product without worrying that they’ll become non-functional for hours.
Today, the majority of cannabis consumers and non-cannabis users don’t understand that cannabis consumption doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all experience. They have no idea that cannabis experiences can be highly customized to their individual wants and needs.
To that end, manufacturers are developing products that combine cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in innovative ways to provide customized experiences to consumers. You can expect to see these products — along with expanded consumer education about how different combinations affect experiences — in the near future.
Speaking of cannabinoids, let’s not forget the rising interest in psychoactive compounds in cannabis aside from Delta-9 THC. The rising popularity of Delta-8 THC has shown that consumers are looking for additional psychoactive experiences. This creates opportunities to create new legal products, such as products with reduced psychoactive effects and enhanced therapeutic benefits.
Another way manufacturers are allowing more customized experiences is through time-released infused products. For example, Wana Brands added extended-release cannabis-infused capsules to its product line that offer indica-specific or sativa-specific options, so consumers can customize the effects and experiences they have.
Two of the most popular cannabis-infused product forms have been edibles and beverages, and you can expect more options to debut in both forms throughout 2022. Not only are consumers looking for healthier edible options, but they’re also looking for more drink options, such as sports drinks to consume after a workout and social drinks to consume in place of alcohol.
Edibles and beverages have been successful in attracting new consumers to the cannabis market, and we’re still at the infancy innovation when it comes to infused products. The coming year will be an exciting time in this category as more companies invest time and money into research and development.
Similarly, we can expect to see more product form options introduced to meet the needs of older adults. Research shows that adults age 50 and older are using legal cannabis products in greater numbers, and product preferences for this age group are different from the preferences of younger consumers. For example, older adults are more likely to choose to consume cannabis in a pill form, so manufacturers should be looking at ways to keep up with this growing trend.
One of the biggest challenges of the fragmented and highly regulated cannabis industry is guaranteeing product consistency. While federal legalization and inter-state transportation of cannabis materials and products could significantly alleviate the problem – and pave the way for national cannabis brands – we’re not there yet. As a result, new technology and innovations are helping to remove some obstacles.
Consumers are becoming more educated on the safety of cannabis products, and they’re starting to understand that not all cannabis products are equal. Stories about mislabeled products are in the news often, but until a process is in place to fully track ingredients and quality, things won’t be perfect.
In a recent Cannacurio Podcast, Ryan Kiley of ePAC Flexible Packaging shared some of the innovations his company is working on to more effectively trace product quality using certificate of analysis (COA) reports and QR codes as well as how this technology could evolve in the future to track product consistency from seed to sale to package recycling and beyond in a circular economy. It’s just one example of how technology will bring product consistency to the cannabis industry. Artificial intelligence is another.
This year should be filled with cannabis product innovation announcements as companies look for ways to gain a foothold in new and existing markets in preparation for future expansion. In addition, companies that want to position themselves as acquisition targets will be investing in research and innovation in 2022 to build their portfolios of valuable tangible and intangible property.
Did you know that you can keep track of new and changing cannabis and hemp license data in the Cannabiz Media License Database, and you can gather information about mergers, acquisitions, and more with Cannabiz Intelligence™? Schedule a demo and see how you can reach your 2022 goals when you have access to timely, reliable data.