The 2019 Ingredient of the Year: CBD Oil

Even while continuing to untangle the miles of red tape along its journey to full FDA approval, CBD was everywhere in 2019.

Known as cannabinoids, CBD (a far easier way to say it) is a part of the cannabis plant, although it is not psychoactive like its counterpart, THC, which is responsible for the “high” commonly associated with marijuana. Instead of altering a person’s state of mind, CBD appears to produce a natural, therapeutic effect on the body, and the perceived health benefits have made people (and brands) take notice.

CBD is seen as the natural alternative to over-the-counter drugs these days. CBD oil, which is simply a concentration of the CBD compound, is finding its way into a variety of remedies and medical studies.

Whether it’s to relieve chronic pain, mood-related pain, insomnia, stiffness or withdrawal, research is beginning to prove that CBD can prevent or reduce these symptoms. And that’s small potatoes when compared to the promising medical treatments it’s providing for people who suffer from more serious issues like epilepsy, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, opioid or cigarette addiction, sleep disorders and even glaucoma.

As the health benefits become more and more pronounced, CBD oil has turned into the go-to ingredient for upscale menus looking to cater to crowds who are quite eager to take the edge off. In fact, a National Restaurant Association survey uncovered that 3 out of 4 chefs in a national study consider CBD to be the hot trend of 2019.

For the most part, this trend has manifested itself in beverages. From CBD-infused coffees to CBD mocktails, the ingredient is on more and more menus as an alternative to caffeine or alcohol.

And brands have noticed that CBD is no longer restricted to the head shop. As the healthy food trends continue to rule the way and today’s foodie continues to pursue good mood food, brands have begun to shift their focus for good reason.

Growth is the sure bet as confirmed by the Brightfield Group’s recent forecast of a 147% compound annual growth rate for global CBD sales between 2018 and 2022. This would take sales from $591 million in 2018 to around $22 billion by 2022.

Drugstores like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid jumped at the chance to carry CBD topicals since it falls in line with their brand. Even Ulta Beauty decided to carry its first ever CBD skin-care brand.

But the big food and beverage brands are having to wait in the shadows while CBD gets legalized on the federal level before they can release their products. Top brands like Coca Cola, Ben & Jerry’s, MolsonCoors and Anheuser Busch are investing in cannabis and know it’s only a matter of time before they rush to be first to market.

Smaller brands like Recess have launched a sparkling water infused with hemp extract and CBD. Confection brands like Cannabinoid Creations is already producing CBD candy. Similarly, bakeries like Good Bites are enhancing their food with CBD oil and heading to market. The risk they face? Currently, just a warning from the FDA, if anything, as more brands launch online to avoid further regulations and scrutiny.

While those regulations continue to move at a snail’s pace, local restaurants, cafes and bars are jumping on the year’s number one ingredient. Baristas, brewmasters and chefs are whipping up tasty menu items at a healthy markup, and their patrons keep asking for more.

With health and wellness at the top of most consumer’s minds, we don’t see this powerful ingredient slowing down anytime soon!


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