Water infused with CBD is a hot item right now, with more and more brands on the market developing their own nanotechnology to manufacture CBD drinks and get them onto shelves. But price points are well-above average: CBD Living Water, for example, retails for $10.00 for a 16.9 oz bottle of water with 25 mg of "nano-CBD", while the same brand’s 25-mg gel capsules cost around $4.00 each (the same dosage for 40% of the price). CBD water manufacturers contend that the bioavailability of CBD tied to water molecules is significantly higher than that of capsule or edible products, meaning that lower dosage is required to achieve the same levels of analgesic or relaxing effects. But as debate remains over how effective high-bioavailability CBD actually is, these pricey, low-dosage beverages may be seen as a short-term fad rather than a long-term, sustainable product category.
But is CBD water just a trend? Unlikely. The demand for CBD-infused water products certainly exists –and we expect it to grow rapidly when mainstream capital enters the market. The mainstream infused water space is already increasing in popularity, with a growing following among consumers looking for sugar-free alternatives to sodas. To recoup soda’s declining revenues, beverage giants are looking to add CBD line extensions to their current portfolios – which will give them an easy avenue to remain on-brand while leveraging their existing followers to compete with beverages already successful in the space today (e.g. CBD Living Water). For companies like Coca-Cola, the addition of a CBD-infused water line to their successful Glaceau smartwater brand is a natural fit. As a result of this looming interest and capital influx, Brightfield Group expects water to drive a solid portion of the growth in the CBD drinks segment, forecasted to sell over one billion dollars in product in 2022.
So which market is this water made for and where will it thrive?
Is it simply for anyone's hydration needs? Major manufacturers claim their water is designed to deliver daily CBD doses, but at twice the cost of a pricey daily coffee it seems unlikely until price points are adjusted, especially when there are so many other products on the market for daily CBD intake.
Is it for high-performance athletes, to shorten recovery time? Nanocraft CBD certainly thinks so. They are currently engineering three waters specifically for athletes to drink before a workout, (with caffeine for energy) during a workout, (pure CBD water) and after a workout (with electrolytes and potassium for recovery).
Is it for fans of the sparkling water craze, á la LaCroix? CBDNaturals' Hemp Rain is betting on it, with a line of CBD-infused flavored sparkling waters that sells one can for the same cost as eight traditional sparkling waters.
The answer is likely yes, all of the above and more, but at lower price points if they are ultimately going to compete with other wellness products on store aisles. Though CBD water has had marked early success as the concept and science surrounding it emerged, those looking to maintain and expand their sales in this competitive space must effectively target the various consumer groups interested in CBD water’s unique properties, innovating and adjusting sales strategies to tap into what we expect will be a lucrative corner of the market over the longer term.