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Hemp CBD now a drag on the herbs and botanicals market

Nutrition Business Journal’s 2023 Herbs and Botanicals Report examines how the once-wunderkind ingredient is holding back the category. See the data.

Rick Polito, Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

December 8, 2023

2 Min Read
spoons with powders and pills

Well before hemp CBD looked to be taking over the world, or at least 2019’s Natural Products Expos, the herbs and botanicals market was on a strong growth trajectory. In 2017, a year before the 2018 Farm Bill that opened the floodgates and let loose the hype wave for hemp, the herbs and botanicals market grew at 8.4%.

Hemp CBD helped accelerate growth for herbs and botanicals in 2018, though not remarkably, notching the category’s gain to 9.4%, according to Nutrition Business Journal estimates, but four years later, the once-wunderkind ingredient is holding back the category. In 2022, hemp CBD supplement sales cratered by 22.7%, the third-straight year of declines. For 2023, NBJ projects another 13.6% dive, followed by an 8% decline in 2024.

At this point, the biggest single ingredient in the category is the biggest drag on sales. Overall, herbs and botanicals saw a rare sales decline in 2022. Some of that was driven by inflation-weary consumers still working through the surplus of their pandemic overbuying, but hemp CBD was responsible for a remarkable part of that decline. The herbs and botanicals category dropped by 1.9% in 2022. Take hemp CBD out of the picture, and the decline was just 0.94%. In dollars, hemp CBD was responsible for half of the decline in the herbs and botanicals market.


Those are remarkable numbers, and, as stated above, the picture doesn’t improve going forward for hemp CBD. There was a point during those heady days of 2019, when NBJ and others conjectured that hemp CBD was going to bring new consumers into the market who might go on to believe in and buy other herbs. Now, we have to wonder whether the disappointing experience so many consumers had when the ingredient didn’t live up to the hype will color their perception of the entire category.

The herbs and botanicals market is one marked by surges and spikes in trending ingredients, but rarely does any wave evaporate so quickly. We don’t know whether consumers learned a lesson from their disappointment in this particular trendy new thing, but we can hope the industry did.


To learn more about the herbs and botanicals supplements market, click here to preview and purchase Nutrition Business Journal’s 2023 Herbs and Botanicals Report.

About the Author(s)

Rick Polito

Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

As Nutrition Business Journal's editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people.

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