The CBD Market in 2021

29th April 2021

Lifestyle Packaging explores the developing landscape of CBD supplements in the UK in 2021.

Meta description: Discover how the UK CBD market is evolving in 2021. 

The UK CBD market is changing rapidly, thanks to the hemp-derived compounds powerful effects on wellbeing. It expanded by more than 50 per cent over the last twelve months and is now worth more than £450 million, according to the latest estimates. More than eight million people in the country bought cannabidiol in 2020 – around 12 per cent of the population. And CBD usage appears higher among women than men, with around 13 per cent of females using the substance, compared to 9 per cent of men in the last year. 

How The CBD Market Changed Between 2020 And 2021

The growth of the CBD market accelerated much faster than experts predicted during the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, Brightfield predicted that the CBD market in the UK would reach around £100 million in 2020, while the real figure was three to four times that amount. Other estimates suggested that the CBD market would grow at a compound rate of around 11 per cent, whereas that figure now appears to be closer to 30 per cent. 

Usage is highest among younger age groups, with consumers between 25 and 29 years old being the highest consumers. The latest data indicate that around 15 per cent use CBD in this range over the last twelve months, compared to 7 per cent of those aged 55 to 64 and 8 per cent of those 65 and over. 

When it comes to buying CBD, the production method is the most important consideration for customers. According to a YouGov survey in 2019, 26 per cent said that product labelling and how CBD was made is critical. A further 15 per cent said that proper directions for how to use the product also highly influenced purchase decisions. 

Users also appear to want to go local. According to a YouGov poll, 11 per cent of consumers said that locally-produced CBD was a critical part of their purchasing decision – more important than the price and the brand name. 

Online purchases continued to be the most popular ways of buying CBD products. While CBD is available in pharmacies and some supermarkets, consumers overwhelmingly prefer the eCommerce route.

CBD Vendor Regulations

In the UK, there are many regulations regarding the sale of CBD. Currently, there are no specific restrictions on importing CBD in the country, provided this does not include THC at the border. 

There are currently certain regulations when selling CBD to customers. These depend on the types of products being sold. Vape products are required to comply with the non-nicotine e-liquid regulations outlined in the General Products Safety Directive. Cosmetics need to be compliant with a Cosmetic Product Safety Report. 

The rules around selling CBD as a food substance are changing. Vendors selling edibles containing cannabidiol before 13th February 2020 require a Novel Food application – a new set of rules that apply to novel substances in the diet, such as CBD. To continue selling existing products, vendors had to make a validated submission by 31st March 2021. After this date, vendors may only sell products that were on sale before the Food Standards Agency (FSA) made its novel foods CBD announcement (13th February 2020).

Packaging Regulations

CBD vendors must also ensure that they meet various packaging requirements. 

Here are some of the details you must include on any CBD product that would be classed as a food supplement: 

  • Product name: Here vendors must include the name of their CBD products and any branding they want to include. They must not make any medical claims, such as “anti-anxiety tincture” or “weight loss formulation.”
  • Product identity: Vendors must also tell consumers what type of product they are buying. For instance, if you are selling oils or capsules, you are selling a food supplement. If you sell CBD gummies, you are selling a novel food.
  • Dosage: The FSA also instructs UK CBD vendors to state maximum doses on their packaging of 70 mg per day for “non-vulnerable groups.” Many brands include this upper limit as well as providing practical instructions, such as “take two capsules per day” or “put two drops under the tongue.”
  • Health warnings: Packaging should state “do not exceed recommended dosage.”
  • CBD purity: You should also state the CBD content and purity in your product.
  • Ingredients: List all of the ingredients in the product, including any carrier oils or materials used to create capsules. 
  • Best before date: State when the consumer should finish using the product.
  • Storage conditions: State that consumers should keep the product out of reach of children and keep the product in a cool, dry place. Packaging should offer child-resistance.
  • Tamper evidence: Supplement packaging should have anti-tamper seals. 

Consumable CBD products must also fulfil Food Labelling Regulations

CBD Trends For The Coming Year

Here are some predictions for the CBD market over the coming year: 

  1. Sales of CBD products are expected to continue growing rapidly. The UK market may be worth £1 billion by 2025.
  2. Some CBD vendors will see their stock market value grow considerably.
  3. Research on CBD will continue to point to positive wellbeing effects of the compound. Regulators may allow vendors to make labelling health claims. 
  4. Vendors will continue to experiment with CBD products, increasing the diversity of options available on the market. 
  5. Synthetic CBD production may begin, allowing for the creation of pure CBD, bypassing hemp processing. 
  6. We may see an increase in the organic CBD market and consumers learn about the problems associated with traditional production. 

Emerging CBD Brands

The following are some emerging brands in the CBD supplements and skin care markets: 

  • Hempura: This brand is appealing to consumers because of the sheer variety of products it offers and its transparent approach to product information. 
  • Bud and Tender: A relative newcomer on the scene, this brand uses an advanced form of the ethanol extraction process, allowing it to retain the properties of CBD but without the price tag of products from vendors using more advanced methods. 

Holistic Hemp: This Scottish company processes hemp plants grown across Europe on small farms without pesticides or chemicals. It’s popular among consumers looking for organic products.

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