- Executives from major retailers including Target, Walmart, Kroger and Safeway have been "quietly" meeting with manufacturers of CBD products and requesting samples and pricing, according to the New York Post.
- Vita Coco chief executive Michael Kirban said retailers aren’t buying CBD products yet but are designing shelves and possible layouts for them, and a brand manager from CBD-infused product maker CBDfx told the New York Post that the company has been visiting "the big guys" at their headquarters.
- Both Target and Walmart said they have no plans to sell CBD products right now, though Target told the New York Post it is following the conversation.
As the buzz over CBD builds, about 40% of U.S. adults 21 and over have said they would try CBD products, according to market research firm High Yields Insights. The CBD industry is expected to more than double to $2.1 billion by next year, the New York Post reported, as consumer demand continues to rise.
Once regulatory hurdles are cleared, grocery store shelves could be the next frontier for CBD products. While a few grocery retailers have dabbled in CBD products for health and wellness — usually natural food stores or smaller natural grocers like Fresh Thyme Farmers Market — so far most food retailers have stayed away from the CBD craze given concerns over its legality.
Non-food retailers like Walgreens and CVS, however, have both gotten into the CBD game recently. In March, CVS said it would begin carrying CBD topicals in eight states. Shortly after, Walgreens announced that it would sell creams, sprays and patches containing CBD in nearly 1,500 stores.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed last December, the federal government no longer classifies hemp and its derivatives as controlled substances, and states are now in control of CBD regulation. This has helped ease some retailers’ minds about offering CBD products, but the major remaining hurdle for the grocery and food industries is the Food and Drug Administration, which still hasn’t approved the use of CBD in food and beverages.
Food manufacturers are exploring CBD product lines and laying the groundwork to make a fast move once permitted. Snack maker Mondelez, for example, which makes Triscuits and Oreos, told CNBC earlier this month that CBD could be part of future snack innovations.
Eventually, those products will make their way into grocery stores and food retailers need to be ready. Competition is fierce, and grocers will need to know not only how they’ll introduce CBD, but what types of CBD products customers want and which food manufacturers have the most innovative product offerings ready to go to market. At this point, no major grocer has indicated concrete plans to bring CBD into stores or introduce any related products on a wide scale.