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LISTEN - Snacks with attitude: Should producers jump onto the CBD craze?

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mintel, Cbd, Mondelez, Conagra, Hemp

The rush to the so-called ‘shining new kid on the block’ – as Marcia Mogelonsky, director of Insight at Mintel Food and Drink terms it – has ignited like a wildfire and everyone is talking about it. But will it make vogue status?

“CBD is jumping on the image that it’s going to solve all our problems: It’s the new miracle wonder drug,”​ Mogelonsky told BakeryandSnacks.

“The anecdotal evidence is that it calms you down it relaxes you it relieves pain, but there’s not enough scientific evidence to prove those claims.”

Cannabis – which is the mother plant of CBD (hemp) and THC (marijuana – until recently was classified as a class 1 restricted drug in the US.

“That’s changing now, now we’re trying to catch up.”

Tripping the light fantastic

She said Mintel has conducted limited research in US states where recreational marijuana is legal and report to have found a lot of interest.

Clearing the confusion

Cannabis is the mother plan of marijuana and hemp.

Follow the marijuana strand and that is where you find THC – which contains the psychoactive traits (the high) associated with imbibing cannabis – and other dangerous compounds.

Hemp is the compound that contains CBD, which is now being considered a miracle ‘answer’ for relieving anxiety and pain.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in 11 states plus the District of Columbia, Canada and several European markets.

“It’s like the shiny new kid on the block,”​ said Mogelonsky.

“But we don’t have a ton of evidence as yet, as it’s still too new as a non-medical product.

“We have to approach this first by realizing that this is an ingredient that has no dosage information as yet. We don’t know how much CBD you have to take to have the effect that you want to get,”​ she added.

As an example, she noted a product on the US market that claims to give consumers rest and relaxation has a dosage of 5ml of hemp oil per bite.

“They recommend you take two bites to start with to see how you feel and you judge for yourself, so basically you’re going to self-medicate.”

Growing like a weed

“Everyone is going to want to try and get in on it because there is so much going on right now. Even the big companies like Mondelez are thinking about trying it,”​ said Mogelonsky.

Conagra Brands, too, has jumped in on the act with the release of Andy Capps’ Fully Baked Hot Munchies,​ which the company’s co-chief operating officer and executive VP Thomas M. McGough reports is “growing like a weed.”

There is a cautionary note from Mogelonsky, though.

“Your problem is, how do you keep the kids away from it? That’s a huge problem because if a brand is a kid-friendly brand, it can’t go anywhere near cannabis. You just can’t do it.”

She said that, while many companies are weighing their options, some have stated they will not touch it.

“There is divided opinion about how snacks and bakery companies want to approach it.”

Skyward or sad demise?

Mogelonsky forecasts the craze will flow or ebb depending on research.

“If, in five years, we find that CBD is more harmful than good, that will be the end of the CBD craze.”

Conversely, if found to hold some benefits, she believes CBD will follow the path of gluten-free, which has enticed more than consumers than just celiac sufferers.

“What has caused that is a new syndrome called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which has no proof or scientific backing either – it’s a question of what makes consumers feel good,” ​she said.

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