“Skinny CBD latte with oatmeal milk, please”, could be what average Joe will be ordering in the not so distant future in one of the big coffee chains, globally! Starbucks are potentially the first big chain to launch a line of cannabis-infused drinks.
The global coffee giant Starbucks uses big data and artificial intelligence to drive marketing, sales and business decisions. They don’t make big decisions lightly. Cowan analytics just released a 100 page document to them detailing how CBD could impact the market. The groups findings were that CBD will reach $16 billion in retail sales by 2025 and that cannabis, more specifically CBD will make its way into coffee.
Impressive numbers, but positive enough to see Starbucks piloting the ingredient? It’s certainly a possibility according to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. In an interview last month with a CNBC reporter he spoke about CBD, saying “we’re going to keep watching this.” It looks like CBD is definitely on their radar, however various roadblocks may be the reason we won’t be seeing CBD on the menu at this current time.
Starbucks has made a name for itself by offering a consistent menu and drink selection at all of its stores. CBD for commercial use is still in its infancy. The hospitality sector is still trying to understand how to appropriately regulate its use. In New York city for example CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a food additive. Given the ‘newness’ of CBD in the market a nationwide roll out would not be a smooth process – just yet.
The giant coffee chain could potentially look at geographically segmenting the menu to avoid geographic FDA restrictions or consider using tinctures to add a little CBD into your favourite Americano. According to Cowan’s report – tinctures claim 44% of the market and is the most popular way to get your hit of CBD-infused coffee.
Another route is a Starbucks line of CBD-infused coffee. Well if Willie Nelson can do it, Starbucks can too. There are always options. My Chai Cream CBD-infused frappuccino is for sure on the realms of a distinct possibility!
Speculation is rife that one of the most popular carbonated soft drinks companies, Coca Cola, is embracing CBD too. A recent emailed statement from Coca Cola spokesman Kent Landers to Bloomberg news stated, “We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”
We’ve all heard the phrase “Guinness is good for you”, but is it about to get even better? Diageo are in serious discussions about producing cannabis-infused drinks.
A pint of the black stuff with a hint of green goodness anyone? According to a recent Forbes article, Diageo who make Guinness have held “serious talks” with several major cannabis producers about a possible collaboration. Diageo have said they are “monitoring this space closely.” Other beer makers such as Heineken and Molson Coors Brewing Company are also planning to enter the space, with plans to produce cannabis-infused beverages.
The fact that a consumer-cannabis product has captured the attention of so many people – from customers on the street to executives in the boardroom – reveals something far more lasting than whatever may come from any beverage product, even if it never launches. CBD has arrived, the very idea that iconic brands are considering a collaboration paves the way for critical credibility to CBD-derived products.