How to Handle the CBD Trend




As someone new to the pet industry, SuperZoo was full of new and exciting products and companies I’ve never seen or heard of before. As a pet owner, it was easy to get distracted by new products I haven’t come across on store shelves. 


In the midst of checking out newer companies and interesting products, I discovered (as I anticipated) that the greatest SuperZoo trend dominating the floor was CBD, where I got to see firsthand how encompassing this product movement has become. 


Company after company has been releasing CBD products for both pets and humans since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp—and the marketplace has been flooded with information ever since. 


Almost every meeting, almost every event I attended at SuperZoo touched on the CBD trend in one way or the other. Between the tinctures, balms, gummies, treats, chews and more, the wave of CBD products dominated the show floor. 


Through conversations on the show floor, meetings and events, I gathered the following takeaways about the CBD trend: 


Know Your Hemp  

What spoke the most to me were the companies that had a veterinary and science-based approach to CBD. Having an individual with a strong background in science or veterinary science on board helped when explaining what the product is and what it does. It made someone like me, who is hesitant to use CBD, interested in giving it a try. 


Labeling is Everything 

Pet parents need to know what’s going into any product, but especially with hemp. Label claims also need to avoid using medical terms, or making statements such as “this product can cure cancer.” To my knowledge, no company had that outrageous of a claim, but in general, providing easy-to-understand labeling will help pet parents feel more secure when giving it to their pets. 


Dosing for Size

Hand in hand with labeling, clearly providing instructions on how to properly dose a CBD product to a pet based on size and weight will reassure customers they’re not giving their pet too much, or too little. A tincture bottle with a label on the dropper was an innovative way for customers to clearly see how much they should give to their pets. 


Sourcing Matters

Where are you getting your hemp from? Another popular question. Whether companies were personally growing their own hemp or sourcing from a third party, I appreciate that it was a topic almost everyone I spoke with addressed. Consumers continue to be interested in the entire production process, and providing them with this information is a sound way of helping pet parents see where the hemp’s come from. Some companies have even started using QR codes on the back of their products so customers can get information about the hemp supplier. 


See the Vet 

Customers will likely appreciate companies that recommend seeing a vet prior to trying a CBD product. At the end of the day, a pet’s vet knows him or her best, and pet parents will have another opinion on whether a product is right for their pets. 


Some companies also shared that they opted to avoid releasing CBD products, given that there has been little to no regulation set in stone. Hemp is legal in all states, but at the same time if a hemp plant has over 0.3 THC, it is considered a marijuana plant, according to the Washington Post. There is also little legislation when it comes to including CBD in food or beverages. 


There is so much more room for growth in this space. With the CBD industry expected to rise (the BrightGroup estimates it will grow to become a $22B industry by 2022) there’s still time and still interest in this growing category. I can only anticipate how much CBD we’ll see at SuperZoo 2020. 


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