CHICAGO — While the convenience-store supply chain remains sturdy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in-store sales of cannabidiol (CBD) products have fallen, forcing manufacturers to rely on e-commerce operations to keep their businesses afloat.
“When it comes to retail, people are obviously concerned with going out in public and going into convenience stores,” Case Mandel, CEO and co-founder of Cannadips USA, Arcata, Calif., a provider of CBD-infused chewable pouches sold in c-store chains such as Kwik Trip and Yesway, told CSP Daily News. “We're lucky that we provide direct to consumers online.”
In-store sales have dropped for Tauriga Sciences, a producer of CBD-infused chewing gum sold in various Circle K, QuickChek and Flory’s convenience stores, Seth Shaw, CEO of Tauriga Sciences, New York, told CSP Daily News. “We’ve lost momentum on in-person retail sales,” he said.
Despite this hurdle, online sales are not only keeping Tauriga Sciences afloat during the pandemic but are also bringing its operations to a new level. “Our e-commerce business has been surging,” Shaw said. “Our online sales broke $20,000 in March compared to about $5,000 or $6,000 in February.”
Although Tauriga Sciences does not make any medical claims for its CBD-infused gum, consumer demand for products that may ease anxiety could have caused the sudden spike in sales, Shaw said. The company’s supply chain is also doing well because its products are sent through the U.S. Postal Service—which is still functioning—while many suppliers rely on truck routes and direct-to-store delivery, Shaw said.
Operators and consumers are also concerned that the pandemic will stall the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s progress and regulatory action for CBD products, Mandel said. The agency has not released any news or action regarding CBD and cannabis since the first week of March.
“The government has a highly pertinent task at hand—more so than the CBD space right now—so I think there will definitely be some type of slowdown,” he said.
The best Mandel and other suppliers can do, however, is wait patiently and act accordingly. “We're taking it one day at a time,” he said. “It’s up to everyone to come together and support each other across the industries to move forward.”