5280 Bars: Exponential Growth in the CBD Market
Starting a successful business, no matter what industry you are in, often hinges on accurately predicting market tendencies and establishing a foothold in a niche market before it becomes flooded with competitors. This can seem close to impossible in an economy and society which seems to change direction and focus on an almost daily basis. With seemingly unfettered access to information and data via the internet, accurately foreseeing consumer trends and inclinations is certainly not easy.
Author, journalist, and speaker David Mattin, however, believes that spotting consumer trends in the marketplace requires careful observation. According to Mattin:
“We’re living at a moment of rapid change. But amid all that change, we’re still the same old humans with the same old human needs. To spot or predict new consumer trends, stop fixating over the next flashy technology, and start obsessing with what won’t ever change: human nature. Human beings are motivated by a set of basic needs and wants that are extremely stable over time: convenience, value, security, status, fun, and so on. How does that core truth help us? Powerful new trends emerge when some change in the world – a new technology, a new economic moment, a new mindset, or something else – unlocks a different way of serving one of these age-old basic needs.”
Lauren Shrensky, the founder and CEO of Certified Paleo and Grain-Free 5280 Bars, offers a prime example of how a small, health food brand was able to correctly foresee and capitalize on the exploding CBD market in the United States.
The Exponential Growth of the CBD Market
In case you´ve been hibernating for the past two years, CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis and is also derived directly from the hemp plant. In December of 2018, President Trump signed into law the newest farm bill, which legalized hemp and CBD across the nation. In just under two years, the CBD market has gone from $0 (in legal markets) to an expected $22 billion by the end of 2020.
The exponential growth of the CBD market stems from several factors. The gradual legalization of cannabis and hemp, coupled with a growing interest in the well-documented health-enhancing properties of CBD has led to massive consumer acceptance of numerous CBD-infused products. While CBD was originally hailed for its ability to effectively treat the symptoms of chronic epilepsy, further studies have found that CBD also has shown anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory properties to help treat pain, anxiety, and some chronic conditions.
A recent study from the European Journal of Pain found that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis while other studies have shown the ability of CBD to inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
These health benefits, alongside the national legalization of hemp and CBD, have led to an explosion in the market, with CBD being marketed in products ranging from skin cream, pet products, to health food snacks and supplements.
How 5280 Bars Capitalized on the CBD Craze
Lauren Shrensky, an athlete, baker, and certified health and wellness consultant, founded her company BravoBars in 2015. Dissatisfied with the snack bars found on grocery store shelves, Lauren wanted to create a product line that would change consumer perspective on nutrition. The protein-packed created by Shrenksy are made with all-natural, non-GMO vegetarian ingredients, and ultra-clean protein. The proprietary ingredient blends support muscle recovery (whey), provide healthy fiber (chia and flax seeds), reduces inflammation (cherries and pumpkin seeds), and gives your body the additional calcium, iron, and healthy fats (nuts and chia seeds) it needs. They are also completely free of processed sugar, gluten, wheat, soy, and trans-fats and are certified Paleo Friendly.
BravoBars is based out of Colorado, which was one of the first states to legalize cannabis and CBD products. Sensing the opportunity that the opening of the CBD market would entail, Shrensky was one of the first entrepreneurs to find innovative strategies to include CBD into an existing product line.
“Someone came to me and asked if I could put them [hemp] in the bar,” said Shrensky in an interview with her local chamber of commerce. “I started to research and found there were no healthy edible alternatives. Most edibles are chocolate-based cookies and brownies or gummies. I saw a gap in the market and went for it.”
Each 5280 bar adds 25 milligrams of industrial hemp to Shrensky’s popular Bravo Bar recipe. Shrensky says that “the 25 milligrams of industrial hemp does change the game a bit for 5280 Bars. It is a true nutritional supplement bar in the sense that it has some medicinal benefits to it that Bravo bars by itself don’t have.”
As industrial hemp and CBD hit the legalized market, Shrensky had to make sure that the CBD she used in her products contained less than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, as prescribed by national law. Once she got the formulation right, the 25 mg of hemp oil 5280 Bars allowed the company to market an ideal energy bar whose anti-inflammatory properties also helped reduce inflammation post-workout.
Adding Value to a High-Demand Product
Instead of simply finding the cheapest supplier of hemp or CBD oil, Shrensky was determined to maintain the quality standards that were well established in the BravoBars that she was already successfully marketing across the country.
The 5280 Bars website states that “standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our full spectrum hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a full plant extraction with many components not typically found in the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.”
As with the BravoBar, the 5280 Bar is made with all-natural and non-GMO vegetarian ingredients and is sweetened with natural coconut nectar. The ultra-clean protein and 60 percent full-spectrum hemp oil are further selling points that allow the company to sell its products for a premium price. A box of twelve, 48 gram 5280 bars currently sells for $60 on their website.
As more and more food brands begin adding hemp oil and CBD oil to their products, selecting the best raw material whose nutrients are extracted via full-plant extraction should allow 5280 Bars to continue to stand apart from their competition. Patrick McCarthy, CEO and co-founder a leading company providing market intelligence and research for the hemp-derived product industry, states that:
“Today’s consumer cares about where the products they put in, and on, their bodies come from. From big breweries to boutique ice creams, mainstream brands showcase their farmers in their advertising and market organic, cruelty-free and hyper-local manufacturing practices on their packaging to assure consumers their products are natural, safe and worth a premium price. This trend will hit the hemp industry next, as consumers demand information on plant origin, farming practices, product composition and sustainability.”
Shrensky has already anticipated this coming trend in the CBD market. Instead of simply providing a hemp oil supplement in pill form, the brand has provided a wholesome, delicious energy bar that offers the energy boost of clean protein (from their original BravoBar formulation) along with the anti-inflammatory recovery properties that hemp oil brings to the table.
McCarthy also believes that “as consumer sophistication increases in 2020, they will demand easy and reliable ways to measure amounts when consuming or applying CBD and other cannabinoids. Brands should be prepared to provide clarity on consumable units of products like tinctures, edibles, and topicals.”
5280 Bars makes it easy for consumers to know exactly what they will be getting in each bar they purchase. “Not only will you get 25mg of full-spectrum hemp, but you will get up to 10g of protein in our certified paleo-friendly, gluten-free, GMO-free, and soy-free bar,” they say. Besides boasting Paleo certification, the 5280 bars have also been tested and certified for their CBD quality, allowing consumers to rest assured that they are receiving a full 25 mg of full-spectrum hemp.
Being one of the first health food companies to cash in on the exploding CBD market is certainly a recipe for success. However, besides being the first CBD protein bar on the market, 5280 Bars has also set itself up for long-term success through a determined focus and dedication to the highest quality ingredients and transparent information on the amount of hemp oil in each bar they sell.