Choosing Quality Brands Will Be Key to C-Store Industry Success With CBD Products

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This article first appeared in the June 24, 2020, edition of NACS Daily.

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government legalized hemp. Since then, the consumer demand for hemp-derived CBD products has skyrocketed.

Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still working to come up with a framework for regulating CBD products, it is not currently monitoring the manufacturing of hemp-derived CBD. This means brands are not under strict scrutiny when it comes to how they create, label or sell their CBD products. This has led to many fly-by-night companies looking to turn a quick profit by taking advantage of the CBD trend. Some companies are being outright misleading by claiming there is CBD in their products when there isn’t, while some simply don’t know what they are doing when it comes to formulating. As a result of the lack of oversight, there is no consistency in the potency of CBD in these companies’ products.

In this murky landscape, it’s important for c-store retailers to look for quality brands that are committed to quality control and going the extra mile to regulate themselves and establish trust with consumers while the government catches up. Otherwise, retailers run the risk of carrying inferior CBD products and earning a bad reputation in consumers’ minds when it comes to where they purchase CBD.

There are a few key things retailers can look for to ensure they are selling products that are safe and legitimate:

Look for brands that are transparent about the origin of their hemp. When hemp is planted, it absorbs everything in the soil around it, which can be a safety concern if that soil is contaminated.Quality CBD brands use hemp grown using responsible farming practices in soil that is pretested for toxins. Quality brands also test throughout the growth cycle for purity and to ensure that the naturally occurring amounts of THC remain within the legal limit of 0.3%.

Check for third-party verification. Both retailers and consumers should look for CBD products that have third-party lab results easily accessible for every batch. Look for a batch code on the packaging and make sure there is an independent Certificate of Analysis (COA) for that exactbatch through a QR code or on the brand’s website. The COA will show that the product contains the level of CBD that is listed on the label and ensures it is within the legal THC limit of no more than 0.3%. Reputable companies have nothing to hide and know that this level of transparency helps establish trust with consumers.

Avoid brands that make claims about therapeutic or medical use. This is one area the FDA is actively monitoring. The good CBD brands know this, and they follow the rules. Therapeutic and medical usage haven’t yet been regulated or studied enough, so brands can’t make these types of claims.

Customer service. Another thing to confirm is that representatives from the CBD brands are available to talk if retailers or customers have questions. Consumers have questions about CBD, and the quality brands have a team dedicated to getting them answered. If retailers can’t get someone to answer a call or reply to a message quickly, that is a red flag.

By placing value on carrying quality CBD in their stores, retailers will benefit from repeat sales from this high-margin category and help establish c-stores as a safe and logical place to purchase CBD while on the go.  

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This post is sponsored by Heritage CBD

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