Brightfield Group’s new report, “Healthy Cannabis: America’s Love Affair with Cannabis (and a Few Unwanted Side Effects)”, found that American adults are now spending 10 percent of their food dollars on cannabis-infused foods, more than any other form of dietary supplement. The report found that “cannabis-infused food products are one of the fastest growing segments of the health and wellness industry”, with an estimated $2.4 billion in sales in 2017.
The plant-based meat market is booming – and a new report shows that Americans are consuming more cannabis than plant-based meat.
The evidence for the cannabis industry was 2020 revenues, but Brightfield’s latest report shows that consumer behavior is exactly what the cannabis industry already knew: People used more cannabis during the pandemic than before.
Generation Z represents a significant proportion of new consumers
Stress and anxiety are an obvious factor, and the Brightfield report confirms this. New recreational cannabis users will make up 6% of all consumers in 2020, with 22% coming from Generation Z. If you thought Generation Z wasn’t old enough to use cannabis, we thought so too (just kidding), but many of them are over 21, which means they have legal access to cannabis if they live where it’s legal.
Users seeking relaxation, sleep, and emotional relief with cannabis
Use was highest among new recreational users, particularly in the fourth quarter. quarter of 2020, with 22% of new users reporting multiple daily use. As of the first quarter of 2021, this number has declined slightly, but new cannabis users are still joining at a faster rate than before the pandemic. The three main desired effects of cannabis use are relaxation, sleep and emotional relief. More than half, 54%, of new users of recreational drugs say they use cannabis to relieve anxiety, and 74% of users seek cannabis for relaxation.
Women are again using marijuana in large numbers
Furthermore, 59% of new users are women, making the cannabis market even more diverse. In the first quarter of 2021, 51% of cannabis users were women. By 2020, the number of female consumers has continued to increase. They tend to be younger and heavier than men, and 21% of female users report daily use. The Brightfield report shows that women and men view cannabis use differently, with women focusing more on the effects of cannabis and how it affects their mental and physical health. Women use more types of products than men, especially chewing gum (48% of female consumers use gum compared to 34% of men), but women choose specific times to consume it. The report indicates that 80 percent of women use cannabis right before going to bed, 59 percent use it before cleaning and 50 percent put off cannabis use until the night of their date. The ratio of men to women varies from state to state. In Michigan, 59% of cannabis users are women. In California, the percentage drops to 43%.
How brands can benefit from new demographics
All of this means good news for cannabis companies. The important thing is to do it right. The data suggests that the year 2020 has brought many new and heavy users to the cannabis market, with the majority of these new users being women. The report also shows that women prefer products such as gum, topicals (17% of female consumers), vape cartridges (40% of female consumers) and flowers (57% of female consumers). Cannabis companies can take advantage of these new consumers and develop a brand strategy that appeals to them.
More Americans use cannabis than plant-based meat
More Americans report using cannabis in the past three months than hard seltzer, soy milk and plant-based meats. According to the Brightfield report, 10 percent of Americans have used cannabis in the past three months. 13 percent of total users are millennials, the generation that most often uses cannabis. Highly ground beef, soy milk, and plant-based meats were consumed by 7%, 6%, and 8% of Americans, respectively. Yet by 2020, Americans will still consume more candy bars and sports drinks than cannabis. According to the report, 13 percent of Americans have eaten granola bars in the past three months and 15 percent have consumed sports drinks.
Based on this report and others like it, it seems that Americans are ready for cannabis legalization, especially after the stress of 2020. The cannabis market is made up of a wide variety of people, both entrepreneurs and consumers. Therefore, as cannabis policy in the US (and the rest of the world) reforms, brands that identify and seek to understand their target audience will eventually thrive. Many consumers think that now that Joe Biden is president, the 20th Amendment is the right thing to do. April 2021 will be the last illegal 4/20. There is currently no bill circulating to legalize cannabis at the federal level, but many are pushing for it and hoping for it under the new blue government.