The CBD trend does not appear to be waning any time soon, even though itsexistence continues to sit in murky legal waters.

C annabidiol (CBD) and hemp are significantly growing trends in the petspace; consumers spent US$426 million on pet CBD in 2020 and the segment isexpected to reach US$629 million in sales by the end of 2021, according to aBrightfield Group report, “Pet CBD Pupdate: Consumer & Channel Opportunitiesin 2021.” The most common uses for these ingredients are functional, withcalming, stress/anxiety and hip/joint relief at the top of the list.

The ingredients are usually found in soft chews or bites, though oil isanother popular vehicle (a direct carryover from the human side, where oil isthe top method of delivery for CBD).

CBD and hemp pet products are found just about everywhere: pet specialtystores, grocery stores in the pet products aisle, — these days it’sjust as common to find them as any other functional treat. So why does it bearrepeated discussion? Well, because legally, the whole segment is something ofa mess.


The continued gray area of CBD and hemp in pet products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to legalize eitheringredient in animal food or feed. In fact, in the agency’s extensive “ FDARegulation of Cannabis and Cannabis- Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol(CBD) ” section, the blunt answer to the question, “Is it legal, in interstatecommerce, to sell a food (including animal food or feed) to which THC or CBDhas been added?” is “No.”

“Under section 301(ll) of the FD &C Act [21 U.S.C. § 331(ll)], it isprohibited to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerceany food (including any animal food or feed) to which has been added asubstance which is an active ingredient in a drug product that has beenapproved under section 505 of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. § 355 ] … FDA hastherefore concluded that it is a prohibited act to introduce or deliver forintroduction into interstate commerce any food (including any animal food orfeed) to which THC or CBD has been added.”

A later question asks, “Can hemp be added to animal food?”

“All ingredients in animal food must be the subject of an approved foodadditive petition or generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for their intendeduse in the intended species. If an animal food contains an ingredient that isnot the subject of an approved food additive petition or GRAS for its intendeduse in the intended species, that animal food would be adulterated undersection 402(a)(2)(C)(i) of the FD &C Act [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(2)(C)(i)]. Incoordination with state feed control officials, CVM also recognizesingredients listed in the Official Publication (OP) of the Association ofAmerican Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as being acceptable for use in animalfood. At this time, there are no approved food additive petitions oringredient definitions listed in the AAFCO OP for any substances derived fromhemp, and we are unaware of any GRAS conclusions regarding the use of anysubstances derived from hemp in animal food.”

But while the FDA has sent out cease and desist letters to some companies innoncompliance, they clearly have not been able to keep up, because the CBDmarket is booming in pet and it’s difficult to imagine the industry walkingback an entire growth segment. (So far in 2021, the FDA has sent out fourwarning letters to “firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedlycontain CBD,” and while these aren’t pet-specific products, it’s safe to saythat more than four new CBD-related drug products have hit the market thisyear so far.)


CBD opportunities expanding as accessibility increases

CBD was big in the human space in 2020 for obvious reasons: Marketed to peopleas a stress reliever during a time when global stress was at an all-time high,it’s no wonder more humans turned to holistic products such as CBD in anattempt to make it through the day.

And once they’d tried it on themselves, why not their pets, as well?

According to Brightfield Group’s Q1 2021 Pet CBD Consumer Survey, 28% of CBDconsumers who have pets reported administering CBD to their pets, as well. Butoverall, what does the pet CBD consumer look like in 2021? According toBrightfield survey data:

  • 73% of pet CBD consumers typically use CBD themselves (up from 58% in 2020).
  • Millennials are the over-whelming majority age demographic purchasing CBD for their pets, with 53% of the market share (see Figure 1).
  • 55% of purchasers are female.
  • 46% of purchasers live in the city; 30% live in the suburbs.

Further, both dogs and cats represent opportunities for pet companies lookingto get into CBD products; while dogs represent the majority of pet CBD users,cat growth was significant from 2020 to 2021 (see Figure 2).

So, what do pet owners really want when it comes to CBD products for theirpets? They want safety and reliability, something that may become increasinglycomplex as more independent studies come out testing the claims of CBD amountson product labels. For example, Leafreport , a “comprehensive online resourcededicated to CBD” with a mission dedicated to bringing “transparency to theCBD industry,” released a “ CBD Pet Products Market Report ” in May 2021 thattested 55 different pet products for their cannabinoid content. According tothe results, which came from independent Las Vegas, Nevada-based laboratoryCanalysis Laboratories, 24 of the 55 products tested contained the advertisedamount of CBD. The rest were off by anywhere from 10.2% to 98.5% from thelabel, according to the results.

Pet owners also want to know who they’re buying from, which is getting easieras more recognizable names enter the field. Treatibles and Pet Releaf arealready known brands continuing to expand their lines; Martha Stewart hasreleased a CBD Wellness line of soft baked chews.

Overall, pet owners want acceptability, which is happening whether the FDA andother regulating agencies want it to or not. Veterinarians may not be able tomention CBD products first, but pet owners still want to discuss them. And in2020, Product of the Year , America’s largest consumer-voted award for productinnovation (organized by global consumer research leader Kantar), introduced aCBD category which includes a CBD pet option, showing that consumers areconsidering this segment of consumer goods as one they want in their carts.

Source: LINDSAY BEATON Petfood Industry

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