While most cannabis-infused products that made their way to market first were edibles such as cookies, brownies, gummies and candy bars, the cannabis beverage industry is now surging in popularity.
But while popularity grows, many manufacturers are still struggling to use cannabis effectively in beverages. Below, we look at the factors behind this rapid surge in consumer appeal and the issues some of the world’s leading cannabis companies are struggling to overcome in terms of beverage production. Lastly, we discuss the benefits of utilizing industry-specific software to streamline operations and manage growth in the cannabis-infused products market.
The Cannabis Beverage Boom
Amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus, consumers have increasingly been looking for healthy alternatives in food and beverages to boost immunity, relieve stress and decrease the risk of becoming severely ill from the virus. The use of functional beverages has gained momentum in 2020 and more and more consumers are looking for products that make beneficial-to-health claims.
In the U.S. and Canada, where the functional beverage market is showcasing an exponential growth trajectory, some of the biggest players in the cannabis industry are investing billions of dollars in cannabis beverage production.
Other reasons for this popularity among consumers include the accessibility of infused-beverages, ease-of-use and the appeal of portion-controlled doses.
In terms of the legalization of cannabis beverages in North America, cannabis-infused drinks are part of Cannabis 2.0 in Canada and sales of the product became legal at the beginning of 2020. Since then, major companies like Molson Coors have announced the launch of cannabis-infused beverages for sale across the country.
In the U.S. the passing of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, which legalized the use of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, provided a major thrust to the cannabis industry nationwide. The most recent U.S. elections also led to green wave of legalization across five states, which legalized cannabis for either recreational or medicinal use, thus helping to create a boom in all things cannabis.
While legalization is making headway across the continent, the manufacturing side of things is holding back the infused-beverages industry. According to BeverageDaily, CBD-infused beverages have been slow to hit shelves in Canada for a number of reasons, the biggest being that startups are finding that they need lots of money to comply with Health Canada’s three-month stability test requirements. According to the regulation, food and beverages infused with CBD or THC need to prove that they can stay stable and deliver consistent potency levels for three months before the governing body will approve them for sale.
But cannabis-infused beverage manufacturers are dealing with challenges related to the packaging liners in aluminum cans, which saps the potency from drinks by up to 50%. Leading cannabis brands are spending millions of dollars in R&D to overcome this issue.
In addition to these regulatory challenges, manufacturers have also been working hard to come up with ways to speed up the onset time of infused-beverages and create uniform distribution of the active CBD ingredient to ensure consistency and maximum absorption. The introduction of nano-emulsion technology breaks down cannabis oil into microscopic particles and then mixes it with an emulsifier to help it dissolve in water and make the product more consistent. Because the technology is so new in commercial use however, it is yet to be perfected.
On top of these struggles, other common production challenges include short shelf life, expensive distribution channels and a lack of dispensary infrastructure.
Software and Cannabis Beverages
Cannabis businesses require specific software functionality to overcome manufacturing challenges, ensure safety and manage growth. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that is built specifically for the cannabis industry comes equipped with the functionality cannabis companies need to succeed.
Infused-products manufacturers require functionality from a software solution that merges food-specific requirements with cannabis-specific ones. Advanced lot traceability functionality, batch processing and compliance to demanding international, federal and state cannabis requirements are all critical components cannabis beverage manufacturers need to look for in their ERP software.
CannaBusiness ERP is designed by cannabis and technology experts and provides manufacturers with the tools they need to gain control and visibility throughout the production process and help them to ensure that they are producing quality products while remaining compliant.
With years of experience in both food and cannabis, our experts understand the complexities of both industries and how they merge in cannabis-infused manufacturing. To learn more about how CannaBusiness ERP can help your cannabis beverage company, register for our upcoming webinar, Best Practices: Edibles and Cannabis-Infused Product Manufacturing or reach out to us. We’d love to chat.