CHICAGO – Snacks and candies made with cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive component of cannabis or hemp, are set for a retail boom. In 2018, sales of chocolate candy with a high percentage of CBD hit $11.5 million in Colorado—the first state to legalize recreational cannabis—according to BDS Analytics, Boulder, Colo., a cannabis research firm. And in January 2018, edibles containing CBD garnered 17% of total edible sales in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon.
For convenience-store retailers, the timing may be right for CBD-infused snacks and candy. But evolving legal regulations—some states and cities have ordered retailers to remove edible products containing CBD from their shelves—has many operators still figuring out where to shelf these products in their stores. Should they go behind the counter or in traditional snack and candy aisles?
Here are three arguments for where to place CBD snacks and candy …
Some operators believe CBD snacks and candies should be merchandised like tobacco products—at the register or behind the counter—because they are at higher risk for theft due to their high price point, said Anthony Perrine, owner of Lou Perrine’s Gas & Grocery, Kenosha, Wis.
“We’re still being cautious where we place CBD snacks,” he said. “There’s a local supplement store nearby that sells CBD oils, and they recently got broken into. We don’t want that happening to us.”
Lou Perrine’s offers CBD gummies in regular and sour varieties, manufactured by Hempzilla, a wholesale CBD manufacturer based in Woodland Park, N.J. The store also offers CBD vape pods and is exploring adding CBD cigarettes in the future, Perrine said.
Merchandising CBD snacks and candy behind the counter is pivotal for educational purposes as well, said Matt Oscamou, co-founder of Weller, Boulder, Colo., a manufacturer of CBD-infused coconut bites. Placing CBD products by the counter will put them in front of consumers and give employees the chance to answer questions. “Put it all in one location so consumers can find what they’re looking for and ask about it,” he said.
Oscamou also believes that placing CBD products alongside traditional snacks and candy could confuse consumers because they are typically priced at a premium.
“If you place a $5 candy bar next to a $12 CBD candy, it’s a losing situation for retailers and suppliers because consumers won’t understand what they’re looking at,” he said.
Side by side
Others think retailers should place CBD snacks and candies at both the register and in their respective aisles. It doesn’t matter which area of the store these products are in as long as they have the proper SKU count and educational resources, said Ian Gilley, CEO of Candy Head, Boca Raton, Fla., a producer of CBD hard candy.
“[CBD candy] can be sold at both the register and in candy aisles,” he said. “Just make sure education is a big part of how you merchandise it.”
Candy Head offers its CBD candy in a six-piece stand-up pouch, which retailers can place in the candy aisle, or as individual pieces that can be merchandised at the register. Both packages are accompanied by brochures and pamphlets with information on the product’s CBD content, the type of cannabis strain it is derived from, the manufacturing process and general CBD facts.