We at CBB have often scoffed at the idea that legal weed would cut into craft beer. Or rather, we’ve coughed, after taking too big of a hit before our next sip of beer. But a new survey of 2,000 consumers in North America reveals, oddly, that not all people are exactly like us.
The research by A.T. Kearney into American and Canadian consumer attitudes toward legalized cannabis revealed that more than three-quarters (76 percent) would try medicinal cannabis products and about half would try cannabis-enhanced consumer products such as snack foods (55 percent), nutritional supplements (50 percent) and cosmetics (43 percent).
The survey indicates that health and wellness, beauty and personal care companies introducing products with cannabis ingredients would see an improvement in public perception — overall, over 85 percent of respondents said they would have an improved or neutral perception of their favorite brand if it were to launch a product containing cannabis.
“The survey clearly demonstrates the viability of the market for cannabis across multiple consumer segments — CPGs and retailers focused on health and wellness, snacking, functional food and beverage and beverage alcohol need to have a perspective on how they will approach the cannabis opportunity,” stated Randy Burt, a partner in A.T. Kearney’s consumer and retail practice.
All of that makes sense, but here are the findings we didn’t expect:
Consumers were asked if they would use recreational cannabis instead of consuming alcohol. Forty-five percent of respondents said they “would not try.” So, you’re safe there. But of the remaining respondents, they were asked which alcohol they would replace with cannabis and 27 percent chose beer. Yikes.
Now, while that percentage may be troubling, maybe it could also read as an opportunity for diversification in the future? When asked, “How would you perceive your favorite brand if they launched a product containing cannabis?” 86 percent of American and 84 percent of Canadian respondents indicated their perceptions would be improved or would not change. Drilling down on those sentiments revealed almost half of all respondents (49 percent) said they would buy more frequently from brands offering cannabis products; 46 percent would feel more loyal to those brands; 36 percent felt that the brands would better represent their values; and 42 percent would see brands bringing cannabis products to market as “innovative or trendy.”
Also, brand power was found to be important. Consumers surveyed indicated they want to be able to trust the companies bringing them to market. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. and Canadian respondents 73 and 71 percent, respectively, indicated that brand was very or somewhat important in assessing the quality and safety of products derived from, or infused with, cannabis.
The survey findings translate into a huge potential consumer market for cannabis-infused products, especially given that the use of medical and recreational marijuana will be legalized throughout Canada this month. As of this release — the use of medical marijuana is legal in 30 U.S. states and recreational marijuana is legal in nine. Reform of marijuana laws will be on the ballot this November in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah.
We are just the messengers. The full report is here for you to look at and consider or dismiss.