Saturday, August 14, 2021

Vending Machines Advancing Technology and Cannabis


At the intersection of food technology, consumer trends, retail sales of cannabis, and vending machine technology; one company has what just might become a bit hit on their hands according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Regualr readers of this blog know that automated "salad robots popped up at retail across the country in the last year, a new plant-based contactless vending machine has just come to market. Now, Cultiva Wellness of Miami has launched its new Wellness Pantry, which dispenses a variety of CBD and hemp products.

Cultiva Wellness call it, "the most technologically advanced automated dispensing unit on the market today," Cultiva Wellness said the Wellness Pantry is not your typical chips and soda vending machine.

Are you ready, the Wellness Pantry features remote monitoring and operation, touchless payments and the use of blockchain technology to verify customers’ age.  With the automated machines, Cultiva Wellness seeks to make hemp-derived/CBD products accessible and available to a mainstream market. If they can do all of that, it is quite something, and pretty cool.

Why cannabis, why now?  In a new report from Brightfield Group details most popular CBD sweet edibles as well as consumers’ need to either take the edge off or charge through their day. Brightfield’s  U.S. Cannabis Distribution Report: Cannabis Candy report revealed that, while cannabis candies are not to be consumed like candy, the industries share some similarities. Flavor innovation is thriving in both as well as the desire for both to either take a break or recharge with something sweet.

So, of Brightfield’s list of top eight cannabis candies by share of shelf feature, three edibles are made by Smokiez in the flavor’s blackberry, sour blue raspberry and sour watermelon. Wana Wellness’ assorted hybrid sour gummies make the list, as are Kiva Confections wild berry Camino gummies, Kushy Punch hybrid raspberry gummies and Kanha blue raspberry gummies. Wyld CBD’s pomegranate 1:1 THC:CBD gummies also made the list.

Ok, Brightfield narrows cannabis candy positioning down to two types. Products that help folks unwind, according to Brightfield, are the most common – helping consumers with relaxation, sleep and stress relief, and claiming 68% of retail display space.

Of these, relaxation rules the roost, controlling nearly half of all cannabis candy space with a whopping 40% shelf share. Sleep is next at 19%.

Another 22% of the cannabis candy real estate is taken by products geared to activate energy, focus, exercise or creativity. The researchers allot the final 10% to a hodgepodge simply labeled “other.”

In its “Cannabis Candy” report, Brightfield noted the top growing cannabis candy flavors from March through May. Those flavors are Yuzu (176%), Lychee (110%), Elderberry (48%), Cinnamon (21%) and Grape (20%).

So, if all the innovation seems familiar, it may be because the same creativity is driving ahead in the mainstream confection space. The industry is meeting this week in Indianapolis after the pandemic scuttled last year’s National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Cultiva Wellness was founded in 2019 by cannabis attorney Daniel Torres.  Cultiva Wellness claims its mission is to make hemp, CBD and wellness products easily available to as many people as possible using technology-driven solutions and they seem to be on the right track.

Torres, stated, "We want to do our part to help people and grow the industry," “With the launch of the Wellness Pantry, we're giving whole communities access to quality products in a fun, interactive, safe and simple experience."

So, the first Wellness Pantry was recently installed in the Miami suburb of Doral in partnership with NFC Amenity Management. While Torres said Cultiva Wellness wanted the first Wellness Pantry to launch in its hometown of Miami, the company plans to roll out the concept nationwide.

Torres continued, "We love working with developers, property and amenity managers who are looking to innovate and give their residents and communities world-class experiences.”

The Cultiva team also recently released a new version of the Cultiva app, which features a newly designed shopping experience, among other updates.

Cultiva Wellness positions itself as a technology-driven solutions company. In addition to the Cultiva app and the Wellness Pantry concept, Cultiva has a footprint in hemp wholesale/distribution, retail and e-commerce, as well as product placement in local stores and exclusive points of sale. Its curated portfolio of proprietary and third-party brands includes the recently introduced Caribbean Buds hemp line.

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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