Cannabis Soft Drinks May Set the Industry Ablaze

Cannabis Soft Drinks May Set the Industry Ablaze

From candy to lotion, CBD (cannabidiol) has found its way into many ordinary household products. Yet, CBD-infused soft drinks are few and far between. Is that set to change?

Sparking Interest in Cannabis

Manufacturers are adding CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis with purported health benefits, to an ever growing number of products – including soft drinks. For example, Sprig produces its Sprig CBD Soda, which contains 20 milligrams of CBD per serving. Even Coca-Cola weighed the possibility of producing a CBD-based drink, but has since put that idea on hold.

Drink Up, Locally

Recent legal activity at the federal level has impacted cannabis markets nationwide. For instance, in January 2018, the Trump DOJ rescinded the 2013 Cole Memorandum issued under the Obama administration stating that federal authorities would not enforce cannabis prohibition in states that have legalized it. In a move benefitting the potential for CBD beverages, the 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp – the primary source of CBD and defined as cannabis or cannabis derivatives containing 0.3% or less of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of cannabis) – from the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) schedule.

However, food and beverage products and nutraceuticals containing cannabis products require FDA approval to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for consumption if they are to be traded in interstate commerce. So far, no such products have been certified GRAS. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, marketing for any food and beverage products containing CBD may not indicate its health benefits or use as a dietary supplement, because the FDA considers cannabis a drug.

The issue is still primarily up to the state or local government. As such, any sales of soft drinks containing CBD will be limited to the state in which they are produced. If sufficient testing occurs to award GRAS status to CBD, the impact of CBD soft drinks to the overall US market may be highly disruptive. For the time being, these products are a long way from the ubiquity of other enhanced beverages. Until federal regulations are relaxed, don’t expect to see many options on local grocery store shelves.

Want to Learn More About Soft Drinks?

Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Soft Drinks: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2023 US soft drink demand in gallons. Total demand is segmented by product in terms of:

  • carbonated soft drinks
  • fruit beverages
  • ready-to-drink tea
  • sports drinks
  • enhanced water
  • other ready-to-drink beverages such as energy drinks and iced coffee

To illustrate historical trends, total demand, and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.

The scope of this report encompasses beverages consumed from single-serving containers as well as various types of dispensing systems utilizing bulk packages (such as fountain drinks, beer taps, and water coolers). Beverage syrups and concentrates are included in report totals in gallons of equivalent finished beverage products. Products not premade and sold ready-to-drink, such as coffee beans and grounds, dry teas, and powdered drink mixes, are excluded from this analysis.

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About the Author

Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.