According to our second annual State of the Industry survey, our audience is pretty confident about the market and long-term projections. As you might expect, common concerns include regulations, quality issues, trade disputes, and mainstream media coverage that could damage industry credibility.
According to the comments we received through this survey, regulation is often considered an impediment to innovation. More specifically, it seems there are still too many issues and concerns with the New Dietary Ingredient Notification (NDIN) process for many companies to bring “new” raw materials to market through that avenue.
Speaking of which, survey respondents expressed a good deal of excitement, but also concern about CBD and its effect on the industry at large. When prompted to cite innovations companies are planning to incorporate into their business, one person wrote, “put CBD in everything.” Maybe that was tongue-in-check, but in a way, it also perfectly sums up the current CBD environment. Companies are definitely putting CBD in everything these days, regardless of the fact that FDA has stated unequivocally that CBD is not a legal dietary ingredient.
Some of our survey respondents noted frustration with irresponsible actors looking to profit off the CBD craze and not following safety and quality protocols, and/or making outlandish and illegal health claims. As I’ve noted before, the playing field isn’t level right now, as many responsible companies still sit on the sidelines. I understand the interest in CBD and other compounds derived from hemp/cannabis, and I applaud educational and self-regulatory efforts to ensure companies follow quality guidelines and protocols. It just seems unfortunate that an industry which has worked so hard to dispel the image of the snake-oil-selling Wild West, finds itself in this situation.
What will CBD become to the broader nutraceuticals industry? Will it eventually be legal at the federal level to sell CBD as a dietary supplement? Will it remain the fastest-growing product? What will the science show? What impact would a significant quality-related event have on other markets?
There are still more questions than answers in my mind. But that doesn’t seem to matter yet.