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  • Post Time Posted February 28, 2019
Starbucks could be the first food chain to introduce cannabis-infused drinks, according to analysts at Cowan.

Cowan released a 100+ page analysis on the CBD market earlier this week. The firm’s consumer, health care, industrials and regulatory teams estimate non-psychoactive cannabidiol products will conservatively generate at least $16 billion (US) in retail sales by 2025.

Vivien Azer, Cowan’s senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors, cites a surge in Google search trends and a four-fold increase in the number of hemp products for sale on Amazon over the past six years as evidence of growing interest and use.

“In our monthly proprietary consumer survey, we were surprised to see that nearly seven percent of respondents in January 2019 reported using CBD as a supplement,” Azer reported. “The strong consumer interest is validated by the growing number of brands and form factors that are now available through increasingly diverse retail channels, including Amazon, Sephora and Neiman Marcus.”

Putting CBD in drinks has become popular at independent coffee shops but this has prompted regulators in the United States to ban CBD as an additive in some states. Earlier this month, New York City’s health department ordered bars and restaurants to stop selling food and drink containing CBD. However, U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in December that his agency is looking for “pathways” to legalize the sale of CBD in food, beverages and supplements.

“Should the regulation of CBD oil as an additive to food/beverage change or craft/independent coffee shops find a way to comply with the existing regulations, we would envision Starbucks ultimately piloting the ingredient,” stated Cowan analyst Andrew Charles.

Charles says Starbucks is “the most forward-thinking” on beverage innovation compared to competitors like Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., Tim Hortons and McDonald’s. One example being the company’s bold 2017 pilot expansion into beer and wine sales to boost evening store traffic.

Source: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/starbucks-first-big-chain-launch-cannabis-drinks-185319599.html

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