CBD industry revving up again in 2021

2020 was a tough year for the CBD industry, with Covid causing disruptions to supply chains as well as lower footfall in bricks & mortar retailers, and these setbacks were reflected in greater hesitancy from CBD marketers in terms of NPD activity – according to our CHC New Products Tracker service – with launch activity in 2020 much lower compared to 2019. However, recent regulatory developments in Australia and Mexico, and the uptick in M&A activity in the CBD industry over recent weeks, suggest 2021 will see a revival in NPD activity and sales.

For example, Curaleaf, a leading US provider of consumer cannabis products, last week signed a definitive agreement to acquire EMMAC, the largest vertically-integrated independent cannabis company in Europe, for around US$286mn. Curaleaf Executive Chairman, Boris Jordan, commented: “[This acquisition] provides an advanced base to reach scale within the nascent European cannabis market and transform Curaleaf into a truly international cannabis consumer packaged goods company. The consumer and political liberalisation trends around cannabis that are sweeping USA are also increasingly taking hold in Europe … The European cannabis market has the potential to exceed the US cannabis market over the long-term and will help fuel our growth for years to come.”

In addition, a wholly-owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco last week subscribed for around 58.3mn common shares – a 19.9% equity interest – of Organigram, a leading licensed cannabis producer, for C$221mn (US$176mn). The companies have also entered into a Product Development Collaboration Agreement, under which a Centre of Excellence will be established to focus on developing the next generation of cannabis products, with an initial focus on CBD. “The cannabis industry is still in the nascent stages of product development. We believe that product innovation backed by core fundamental R&D is necessary to establish a long-term competitive advantage in the cannabis industry,” said Organigram Chief Strategic Officer Paolo De Luca.

Another M&A CBD development from last week was MediPharm, a research-driven global leader in cannabis extraction, entering into a GMP white-label supply and contract manufacturing agreement with Cannim. The company has also commenced registrations for the launch of next-generation OTC products in Australia in 2021. Under the 3-year agreement, with options to extend, MediPharm will supply a full range of specially-formulated CBD and THC cannabis oil products, sold initially under Cannim’s Lumir brand. MediPharm will also provide Cannim with contract manufacturing options.

Finally, a bill that would legalise the recreational use of cannabis was approved in Mexico’s lower house of Congress last week and will move to the Senate for final approval. The legislation would enable users aged 18+ years with a permit to carry up to 28g of cannabis and grow up to eight plants at home for personal use. President Andres Manuel Lopez has argued that the bill could help to curb Mexico’s violent and powerful drug cartels. John Walsh, Director of Drug Policy for the Washington Office on Latin America, a US advocacy group, said: “Mexico, given its size and its worldwide reputation for being damaged by the drug war, to take this step is enormously significant. North America is heading towards legalisation.” Canada and Uruguay are the only countries in the world to have legalised cannabis for recreational use. With its liberal switch environment, Mexico could be an early adopter of OTC cannabis, possibly the second or third market after Australia.

Discover who the main CBD players are, and how big the market could get in our recent report, CBD 2020: The 20 Most Important Questions about CBD in the Future of CHC. To find out more, or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Striving for Success in Latin America

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Though it still only accounts for a small share (just under 6%) of the global OTC market, Latin America remains by far the most dynamic region, with growth of 12% in the MAT Q2 2017 period. As the second-largest market in the region after Brazil, Mexico has seen its OTC growth accelerate in recent quarters thanks to rising consumer confidence throughout 2017, and its vibrant capital – Mexico City – was the venue for our 3rd Latin American Conference held last week.

Focusing on the theme, “Striving for Success in Latin America”, the conference was opened by Nicholas Hall and his annual keynote speech, highlighting key trends across the region – such as an increasing consumer preference for prevention, the widespread use of social media and a lack of regulatory improvement – and the impact these will have on the future of the industry.

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Summarising his speech in 9 key points, Nicholas Hall said: “We must manage our brands in a more effective way if we are to sustain the current rate of growth, bearing in mind that Latina will probably be a late adopter of many features of the New Paradigm, including digital marketing for CHC products:

  1. With the flood of new products each year, it is essential that our brands stand out in a sea of mediocrity, by clear positioning that demonstrates both new functional benefits and emotional benefits
  2. Most successful brands in Latina and globally are old brands — the CHC market is unique in rejecting new brands in favour of those that are tried and tested; we should search for hidden gems that can be dusted off and given a new lease of life
  3. There is a constant reference from all quarters to the need for more innovation and I agree!! The best strategy is to bolt on a new ingredient, with an improved positioning, to a famous and trusted brand name
  4. There are many opportunities in LatAm: we have conducted Gap Analyses in many countries, including Brazil and Mexico. We found lots of open gaps with unmet or only partially met demand, many in adjacent categories, as most launches are in the mainstream categories rather than emerging niches — please contact my colleague Ekaterina Panteleeva (ekaterina.panteleeva@NicholasHall.com) for more information on the way we conduct Gap Analysis
  5. TV is still the main medium, but not without problems of loss of viewers, so we should test-market more for optimum spend
  6. The retail sector is consolidating fast, yet we don’t engage with the big chains through modern Key Account Management programmes, and the concept of Category Captaincy is hardly known; not least we must work with the big chains to manage the inevitable growth of private label
  7. There has been much talk of liberalisation, but the regulations are still quite drastic and are preventing more Rx-to-OTC switches, especially in Brazil
  8. Overall, the region is growing well at 10% (constant currency) in the past 5 years and is forecast to grow by 8% in the next 5 years
  9. So let’s work hard to maintain double-digit growth. To misquote President Trump, “Let’s make CHC great again!”

Monica Feldman also provided an insightful regional overview, reminding us of the major differences between certain markets (such as mass market vs pharmacy sales) and the growing prevalence of digital health. Hector Bolanos and Juan Knobloch both emphasised the importance of lobbying government for an improved regulatory framework in Mexico, while Henry Adler discussed diversification strategies as a means of avoiding regulatory delays in Brazil.

Rodrigo Arcila drew attention to Colombia’s dynamic Rx-to-OTC switch environment and rapidly-advancing national health system, while the day’s final speaker, Anne Engerant, focused on how OTC companies can help combat wider public health issues, such as antibiotic resistance, and promote responsible self-medication. Day 1 closed with a panel discussion moderated by Monica Feldman: Roy Bateman and Maria Barros y Muradas debated the mid-term future of the industry, including digitalisation and the evolution of POS, before the floor was opened to questions.

This week, Nicholas is back in India for the 2017 Annual Conference in association with CubeX. As consumers exist in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous marketplace, we can say that today’s self-care landscape is a VUCA world, which is why this year’s theme is Consumer Healthcare in VUCA World. With seats still available, you can secure your place now by emailing conference@cubex.co.in

Big Growth for the New Year – Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Latin America

Cath INSIGHT Header 2014We have just published the January / February issue of OTC INSIGHT Latin America. Our Market Report focuses on Gastrointestinals and it has been a good year for the industry with each Big 4 country and all sub-categories posting growth. Lots of activity has been seen in antacids & antiflatulents where a flurry of innovative launches and line extensions have increased competition. Marketers are expanding their consumer base by extending brands into niche segments, such as Bayer’s Alka-Seltzer Boost in Mexico, positioned to relieve hangovers, while on-the-go line extensions from GSK and Hypermarcas in Brazil offer consumers convenience.

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