In Session
When looking at the budding business of hemp, industry leaders Brad Gruno, Unna Goods; Jim Hamilton, Neptune Wellness Solutions; Jason Mitchell, Hemp Fusion; and Todd Runestad, New Hope Network discuss what goes into the thinking around innovation and product differentiation.

Consumer need drives CBD innovation

When looking at the budding hemp business, industry leaders Brad Gruno, Unna Goods; Jim Hamilton, Neptune Wellness Solutions; Jason Mitchell, Hemp Fusion; and Todd Runestad, New Hope Network discuss what goes into the thinking around innovation and product differentiation.

“One of the things that is really important as a community trying to have this budding business, pun intended, I believe we have to look and understand what the consumers are wanting.” 

—Jason Mitchell, N.D., Hemp Fusion

Part 1: The business of hemp

Highlights:

  • The business development of hemp should be measured by categories and size.  
  • The growth of the hemp business is a phenomenon that is rarely seen.
  • How important is legalizing marijuana to the business of CBD? 
  • For people in nutrition products to be successful, it’s about engaging with the consumers and the value-added proposition. 

 

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Part 2: Hemp as an ingredient 

Highlights:

  • Look at hemp as a whole food, utilizing the whole plant, the seed, the stalk and the oil.
  • There is value in creating a product that combines hemp with other ingredients to maximize effectiveness. 
  • In this fledgling industry, scaling and consistency are considerable issues. 
  • Companies can build trust and relationships by having a consistent source of ingredients. Don’t prioritize price, prioritize quality. 
  • Transparency is about education on every aspect, from growing to processing.

 

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Part 3: Regulations

Highlights:

  • The rise of the CBD industry allows the opportunity to refresh regulations across all channels in the food and nutrition industry.
  • Canada is a good test market because it does not have the same constricting regulations as the U.S., especially with banks. 
  • Research is valuable for start-up brands. “Where science leads, markets follow.”
  • The challenge will be to work with companies that are delivering a consistent quality and supporting the science. It’s a symbiotic relationship.  

 

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Part 4: Brand differentiation 

Highlights:

  • Consumer needs should drive innovation. 
  • Address common health issues, and embrace the whole food category, using products that are backed by science.
  • Stress, sleep and pain are the main reason people try CBD products initially. 

 

This session—Merry Hempsters & Ganjapreneurs: Innovation at the Brand Level—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018.

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