The cannabis edibles segment has slowly been gaining popularity over the years, eventually generating $1.28 billion in sales in 2021. Cannabis companies have done this by incorporating cannabinoids such as THC and CBD into a wide variety of foodstuffs. However, one segment marijuana companies have had trouble breaking into is sugar-free foods.
As people become more aware of the long-term effects of heavy sugar consumption, a growing percentage of the population is being drawn towards low-sugar alternatives. But with cannabis slowly shedding the “stoner” image and becoming more of a wellness product, TribeTokes CEO Degelis Tufts Pilla says cannabis companies can take advantage of this growing segment.
Evaluating forms and inputs should be the first step. This will essentially involve identifying all the problems you need to solve to successfully create a sugar-free alternative. It is impossible to simply replace high-fructose corn syrup or sugar with a sugar-free sweetener, for instance. Hard candies will require a sugar-free alternative that can also crystallize while giving the substance the right texture. Furthermore, cannabis companies will also have to find a way to cover up the notoriously bitter taste of THC and CBD.
Find natural solutions. It makes sense to use natural options if you’re making sugar-free alternatives. Powders and concentrates made from naturally sweet vegetables and fruits such as berries and sweet potatoes can be quite useful, for instance. A zero-calorie sweetener dubbed “monk fruit” is 100 times sweeter than regular table sugar while date paste, which is regularly used in the Middle East, is gaining popularity in the West.
Costs and supply. Manufacturing sugar-free alternatives can cost significantly more. Furthermore, the supply chain has yet to recover from the disruption caused by covid, leading to higher prices along the supply chain. Dean Hathaway, a senior scientist in R&D at Ripple Brands, says the demand for ingredients is super high as they are typically used in traditional foods. Figuring out a way to keep your costs low without compromising supply will ensure profitability.
Market Your Product. Getting word out about your sugar-free, cannabis-infused products is crucial. Talk about the sugar-free aspect and the health benefits that come with it. According to David Catanzano, head of cannabis operations at Tilt Holdings, consider store promotions and other types of advertising. With the cannabis industry filled with plenty of sellers looking to make a killing, marketing is “everything,” Catanzano says.
As the product offerings of entities such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) continue evolving, there is likely to be no limit to the applications to which marijuana and its different compounds will be put.
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