The legal cannabis market is exploding, but it's not just traditional bud attracting enthusiastic consumers. According to marijuana industry analysts The Arcview Group, sales of cannabis-infused edibles will reach $4.1 billion in the United States and Canada by 2022.
Americans gobbled up over $1 billion worth of edibles in 2017 alone. The news comes amid large investments in the cannabis market from mainstream beverage and consumer packaged goods makers looking to cash in on the so-called “green rush.”
“The edibles market is up for grabs. We’re already seeing mainstream beverage companies scrambling to take advantage of part of this significant opportunity,” the report, titled The Tasty Future of Cannabis Edibles, stated. “And, when you consider that the investments made so far by these beverage companies, touches primarily the beverages subcategory, then you start to get a sense of the magnitude of the overall edibles market.”
As consumers shy away from smoking cannabis due to potentially negative health impacts and Clean Air laws, more and more cannabinoid-delivery methods have become available offering a more discreet and precise way to dose. And it's not just pot brownies on the menu – everything from ice cream to olive oil to microwaveable popcorn are available in some of the states where marijuana has been legalized.
Edibles will not reach the Canadian recreational market until 2019. Despite the delay, analysts from Arcview believe that demand will be huge once they are available.
“Consumers in front-running adult-use markets within the United States have (already) significantly shifted their spending over recent years to other categories of cannabis consumables, especially into concentrates and edibles,” said Arcview editor-in-chief Tom Adams, in an interview with The Fresh Toast. “The edibles markets’ growth provides an early opportunity for investment in a cannabis sub-sector that is quickly growing, brand-focused, and full of opportunity for new and innovative products.”
A recent poll conducted by consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that of the respondents who would try adult-use cannabis if it were legal, 41% said they would want to consume it in food (meaning candy, chocolate snacks, or packaged goods) and 28% said they would want edibles (soft gels, dissolvable powders, or soft gels). Only 39% said they would want to smoke marijuana their first time trying it.
“It has become clear that the legal cannabis market is about much more than inhaling the smoke of smoldering cannabis flower,” the Arcview report says. It stipulates that “the trending shift toward consumables will continue over the next five years, with flower’s share of total spending dropping from 50% in 2017 to just 36% in 2022. Edibles are forecasted to grow from 12% to 14% in that time frame.”