Product innovation, brand stratification top trends to watch
Boulder, Colo. (Dec. 10, 2020)—As 2020 comes to a close, Wana Brands has identified the trends the company will be watching in 2021.
2020 was the year of cannabis edibles innovation. The industry saw rapid growth in innovations designed to improve cannabinoid bioavailability and onset/offset times, allowing consumers to tailor their experiences to the moment.
Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands, said, “At Wana, we launched our Quick Fast-Acting Gummies which incorporate Azuca’s patent-pending TiME™ Infusion encapsulation allowing cannabinoids to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The result is a Delta-9 high with similar onset and offset times as an inhalable product. We also introduced Wana Wellness tinctures integrating Quicksilver Delivery Systems nano-technology that significantly increases the bioavailability of cannabinoids.”
In 2021, we will see increasing stratification in cannabis-infused products. A few years ago, the biggest challenge for manufacturers was getting their product into stores. Consumers had few choices when it came to cannabis-infused products, so whatever was on the shelves sold. Now, consumers have multiple product options geared toward different lifestyles, tastes and budgets.
“Consumers are growing more discerning when it comes to cannabis,” Whiteman said. “As a manufacturer, if you are not listening to your customer’s needs and continually evolving, you will quickly be left behind, because those customers are now finding many other options on the shelves.”
The growing dominance of branding. With a rapidly increasing number of cannabis-infused products on retailers’ shelves, the industry will see separation of value brands from premium brands. Differentiation, innovation and consistency will determine which brands come out ahead, gaining a dedicated following.
“At this point in the game, brands must bring something new to the table in order to be successful—a product innovation or unique value proposition, for example,” Whiteman said. “And for those just entering the field, they will need to look beyond riding the coattails of other successful brands if they want to succeed.”
Innovation will focus on consistency and bioavailability. The industry will continue to innovate more effective cannabinoid delivery systems that maximize bioavailability and allow consumers to tailor their dose, onset and offset times to the moment.
“At Wana, innovation is in our DNA,” Whiteman said. “We are committed to remaining an industry leader in product development that incorporates cutting-edge technology allowing consumers to dial in their experience. Also, with the introduction of our Quick Fast-Acting Gummies, we are seeing consumers who are new to the edibles market, now that the market offers a product that meets their needs.”
Terpenes and minor cannabinoids will enter the main stage. Cannabis terpenes are gaining more attention as consumers become more aware of their role in producing varied flavors and effects. In addition, while two major cannabinoids, THC and CBD, have dominated the conversation, many other minor cannabinoids like CBN, CBG and CBC are entering the conversation.
“As brands seek to differentiate themselves and produce unique products with targeted effects, there will see more focus on terpenes and minor cannabinoids,” said Mike Hennesy, Vice President of Innovation at Wana Brands. “Terpenes are a critical part of Wana’s innovation strategy in 2021, as we look for ways to optimize the power of these plant compounds and deliver an experience that cannot be found elsewhere.”
Consumer education will drive new product adoption. Product innovation will only take hold if consumers understand how new products work and what benefits they provide. The pandemic adds another layer of complexity, as well. In the past, manufacturers depended on budtenders to educate consumers. Now, that education has moved online.
“While the industry is moving at light speed, we must be careful not to leave consumers behind,” Whiteman said. “If consumers don’t understand how to use a sublingual product, or what differentiates a conventional gummie from a fast-acting gummie, then they may leave with a negative experience, which none of us want. For brands like Wana, it is important to educate consumers on how our products are different, sharing the science to back up our claims.”
Bottom-line profitability will be at the front of investors’ minds. 2020 showed that the cannabis industry is not only resilient but also essential. However, many operators in the maturing industry have struggled to deliver value to investors, despite record-breaking top-line revenue.
“Profit will be king in 2021,” Whiteman said. “Cannabis operators like Wana that have figured out how to be profitable in the current regulatory environment will come out ahead in 2021. For these companies, the path to profitability does not hinge on the whims of incoming legislators. While we anticipate federal reform around banking and 280E, it would be risky to build an entire business plan around the assumption that reform will occur in 2021.”
Social equity and fighting the good fight. “The industry sits at a pivotal moment, with an opportunity to address the wrongs from the racist War on Drugs. The 2020 death of George Floyd and many other Black Americans at the hands of police provided a stark reminder of how much work is left to be done before we achieve racial justice. Self-reflection can be painful as we acknowledge and address bias within the industry, but it is work that we know we must do,” Whiteman said. “Businesses will continue to learn and improve across all areas of operations, creating a more just, equitable industry. States will also make progress on this front. State-level social equity licensing programs are imperfect but improving as we learn what does and does not work. We also will see an increased focus on the expungement of low-level cannabis offenses that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with Whiteman, please contact Shawna Seldon McGregor at 917-971-7852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wana Brands: Enhance Your Life.
Included in the 2020 Inc. 5000 list at #2,074 and boasting a three-year growth rate of 203%, Wana Brands is the No. 1 edibles brand in the United States, with more dollars sold than any other brand, according to BDS Analytics 2019 Brand Share Report. Wana leads the industry in quality, consistency and potency, providing a range of different options that enable customers to create the specific cannabis experience they want. Wana products offer diverse product forms including edibles, vapes, and extended-release capsules, four different CBD/THC ratios as well as a variety of different dosages, onset times and duration of effects. The portfolio is designed so products can be used singly or in combination to address specific health, wellness, and recreational needs. Wana products are available in Colorado, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Oregon and Oklahoma dispensaries, with Maryland, Missouri and Florida (as regulations allow) among the states imminently coming online. Wana Brands will also launch in Canada in 2020. For more information or to subscribe to Wana’s e-newsletter, visit www.wanabrands.com. Follow Wana on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.
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