As a retailer, you might know the regulatory landscape of the CBD and hemp industries, the labeling requirements and the safety issues. What you might not know, however, is which specific brands are appropriate for your store shelves. Annie Rouse, co-founder of Anavii Market, revealed her crucial checklist for selecting top quality brands and product formats at the Natural Products Expo EAST in Baltimore, MD.
During Rouse’s session, “Curating Your Hemp Product Set,” she presented different tips and important details to note when finalizing which products are best for your store display.
“When you look at over 1,500 brands in the market, how do you know what is good and what is bad?” she asked the audience. “It’s extremely important to make sure that whatever companies you’re working with are a good match for you.”
After finding this “perfect match” is when you will begin the journey to a quality product, she said.
Rouse continued the discussion around the limited market of USDA-certified products and other certification companies. Although it is tough for companies to receive certain certifications, Rouse believes that the industry is on an upward curve with its investment in science.
“The more a company is invested in science, the more that the science will benefit the industry as a whole,” she noted.
In addition to being certified, it is also essential to look for products that provide a unique story. When you select a brand that has an amazing backstory, it gives the consumers a sense of purpose if they decide to purchase it, according to Rouse.
The supply source that the manufacturer is using is something Rouse feels all retailers should consider.
“Look back into the supply chain and ask the manufacturers where are they getting their raw material, where are they getting their extractive material? Are they getting it themselves or are they finding it on the internet?” she said. “These things are important to the quality of each product.”
When it comes to requesting a lab, it is important to investigate what is happening there to ensure the quality of the product. Contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and mycotoxins, along with cannabinoids and terpenes, are examples of what should be assessed before the production of a product.
With this multi-step process, Rouse stressed the value of being patient as a manufacturer in the business.
“Go to the facility and look at it,” she said. “Look back at the supply chain so that you can really understand what’s in your bottle.”
Following her discussion of the many popular myths in the hemp oil and CBD spectrum, Rouse gave advice that many retailers tend to overlook regarding bioavailability.
“When you do see these bioavailability studies, make sure to ask for the research,” Rouse said. “Don’t just ask for the research, but actually read it, or get somebody knowledgeable on the subject to read it.”
If the research given is proven to be fabricated or plagiarized, this can cause major issues for the authenticity of the retail establishment, she said.
Being able to educate your consumers in a simple way is the final task for any retailer’s hemp product checklist.
“Find ways to educate your customer,” Rouse said. “Everyone’s customer is different. Your customers may be extremely educated, so you can create unique ways to educate them. Some of them may be extremely uneducated. They don’t know the difference between hemp extract and oil, and CBD and a cannabinoid…it’s complete confusion.”
Making a clear point of what you are promoting on your shelves for consumers is the key to staying ahead in the natural products industry.
Rouse A. Curating Your Hemp Product Set; September 11, 2019. Presented at the 2019 Natural Products Expo EAST in Baltimore, MD. Accessed September 16, 2019.