October 17, 2019 marks the legalization of edible products, although those products will not be available to consumers until December 17 (mandatory Health Canada new product review period).
The edible launch is coming at a time when the safety of vaping has been making the news. The recent vaping deaths in the United States and vaping illnesses in Canada have caused Canadian cannabis users to rethink their consumption habits. New Ipsos research uncovered 63 percent of cannabis users are somewhat or very concerned about the safety of vaping. This apprehension may unexpectedly provide a bump to the debut of the edible market. Recent Ipsos data found 73 per cent of cannabis users say they are definitely or likely to use a cannabis edible or beverage instead of vaping cannabis. Overall, Ipsos data suggests that there is a significant amount of pent-up demand for cannabis edibles among existing cannabis users, with 90 per cent of current users indicating that they will try a cannabis edible or beverage, once it is legally available.
Though currently illegal, most Canadian cannabis users (70 per cent) admit they have already sampled a cannabis edible or drink. And, the feedback is promising for the edible industry. Eighty-two per cent told Ipsos their most recent consumption experience of a cannabis edible or drink was a positive one. This runs contrary to a big worry of many industry observers, that negative experiences with cannabis edibles or beverages could steer consumers away from this new product format.
Ipsos’ Michael Rodenburgh, Executive VP and Lead for Ipsos’ Cannabis Consulting Team, says edible products are hitting the market with the enviable position of having the wind at its back.
“The serious vaping health concerns in the U.S. have occurred at the perfect time when looking at it from the cannabis edible launch perspective. Those concerns have created greater interest the edibles market likely would not have seen otherwise as users look to try new formats that have fewer health consequences and are more accessible for use in social environments. Edibles are poised to capitalize on these issues as Canada’s cannabis industry matures. Consumers of cannabis are telling us that edibles offer benefits that combustion can’t offer by eliminating the second-hand smoke and the smell that can negatively affect others.”
Consumers can expect to see a limited line of products as the industry keenly observes market demand and potential trends. You will see chocolates, cookies, gummies along with dealcoholized wine and beer-inspired drinks in stores. Because of processing and packaging, the cost is expected to be higher than traditional cannabis, but that should not be a big deterrent for users.
There is no doubt a demand will be there when edibles finally make it to market before the holiday season. But the new year will show whether “If they build it, they will come”, will permanently change the Canadian cannabis market.
Ipsos is a leader in the Canadian cannabis industry and regularly tracks the opinions and behaviours of both citizens as well as cannabis users for all industry stakeholders. This Ipsos research was conducted between Sept 20 and Sept 30, 2019, and incorporated the opinions of 942 randomly selected recreational and medical cannabis consumers in Canada. The results of this research have a Bayesian credibility interval of +/- 3.3%.
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