Sep 09, 2020
As cannabis has experienced medical and/or recreational legalization at the state level throughout much of the U.S., the non- or minimally-psychoactive cannabis-derived compound CBD has had a related boom in popularity, with enthusiasts touting its benefits as a supplement.
One regional grocer in Missouri decided not just to bring CBD to its shelves but to dedicate a whole store-within-a-store to the products, an arrangement it says is the first of its kind in a multi-store grocery chain.
Ball’s Price Chopper, a sub-banner of Ball’s Food Stores, opened the 500-square-foot store-within-a-store in August in its Kansas City location, according to Supermarket News. The store-within-a-store is operated by partner company American Shaman. The section features wood paneling décor to communicate a natural feel and provides two small stools in front of a counter where customers can sit to sample CBD products and discuss them with staff.
While fans and brands recommend CBD anecdotally as beneficial for a variety of conditions, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved the compound — in a prescription form — for the treatment of two medical conditions, both severe forms of epilepsy. Furthermore, while topical products containing CBD are legal, it remains illegal to market the product as a dietary supplement or food additive.
This has not stopped a huge number of products, from ingestible drops to flavored sodas containing CBD, from hitting grocery store shelves in numerous U.S. states.
Amid this confusing regulatory atmosphere, trade groups such as the National Grocers Association (NGA) have called for CBD to be regulated as a dietary supplement to provide clarification.
As CBD faces these challenges, its reliably intoxicating source — the cannabis plant — continues to pursue its own distinct path to legality and mainstream retail.
Some states have changed laws pertaining to legal cannabis use to allow for recreational use, and formerly medical-only dispensaries have retrofitted for non-medical customers. The bigger legal dispensaries have been vying to achieve national market dominance through creative differentiation.
For instance, Curealeaf, a dispensary chain now operating in 23 U.S. states, told RetailWire that it envisions itself creating a branded line of cannabis products comparable to traditional CPG products like Coca-Cola.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does giving the CBD category its own section make good business sense at this point in time for grocers and other retailers? Do you see this tactic as a pathway to bringing other cannabis-derived products into traditional retail store environments?
“If McDonald’s and Starbucks store-within-a-store locations have trouble with grocery shoppers, how much chance has CBD got?”