Brits are waking up to CBD infused drinks

Nearly 1-in-5 UK adults have tried a CBD infused drink (19.4%) according to new research we’ve done in partnership with High & Dry. A further 28% say they haven’t tried them but would be interested in trying them in the future, leading to the prediction that Brits will become increasingly ‘psychotropic-curious’ when it comes to socialising. Of those who take CBD, 1-in-3 take it on a weekly basis.

The research – The Future of Socialising: What’s next for the dry economy? – investigates UK adults’ evolving relationship with cannabis (THC and CBD), alcohol and other mood-altering substances and looks at how this might impact the food, drink and hospitality industry.

Feedback from 975 adults (+18) defined as ‘psychotropic-curious’ identified that the reason people use psychotropics (eg CBD and THC) actually closely mirror the patterns traditionally associated with alcohol. ‘Helping me to relax’ (70%), relief from anxiety (60%), socialising with friends (58%) and to ‘unwind after a busy day’ (57%) are the main drivers consumers gave for using these mood-altering substances. These substances are currently most likely to be consumed at home (77%), although 64% say people are likely to use them at events (such as gigs, festivals, comedy nights) and 31% in pubs and bars.

Unsurprisingly Generation Z are much more like to have tried CBD infused drinks, with 38% having tried them and 10% consuming regularly, compared with 4% of the national average.

Blake Gladman, Strategy & Insights Director, KAM

“The way that Brits are socialising, including their relationship with alcohol, is changing. We know from recent research in partnership with Lucky Saint that UK adults are drinking less alcohol, less frequently and that although there are financial drivers, 47% of people say that ‘mental wellness’ is a significant driver for moderating their alcohol in-take. So, with global alcohol consumption in decline, this research looks at what the future alternatives are likely to be and how they’ll impact the food, drink and hospitality industry and will help businesses navigate this transformative era.”

The report points out that ten of the biggest alcohol companies in the world already have cannabis investments. For example, Constellation Brands invested in Canopy Growth, a Canadian cannabis producer; Molson Coors Brewing Company partnered with Hydropothecary, a Canadian cannabis producer, to explore opportunities in the non-alcoholic cannabis beverage market; Heineken launched Hi-Fi Hops, a THC-infused beverage available at select medical marijuana dispensaries in California through its American brand Lagunitas.

Daniel Rowntree, Founder, High & Dry

In the US, thirty-seven states have legalised medicinal cannabis, two states have embraced therapeutic psilocybin, and more substances are on the horizon. Switzerland opens its first dispensaries in 2024; Germany opened up its legal cannabis market in April this year; and trials continue in Holland. This report is a beginners guide to help educate and empower UK businesses by assessing consumer demand, predicting evolution, and understanding the industry. Change is coming.”

Despite a small number of brands being available in both the off-trade and on-trade, such as TRIP which is now listed in the likes of Sainsbury’s and Stonegate venues, the majority of consumers are purchasing online either from an online marketplace (28%), direct from the brand (26%) or from an online pharmacist (26%.) The report highlights that many psychotropic-infused brands have been built online ‘direct to consumer’, including Space Goods, Impossibrew, PerfectTed and Collider.

40% of respondents said their alcohol intake reduces when they take these other mood-altering substances leading the report to predict that people will increasing turn away from alcohol and find different ways to relax while socialising.

The full report can be downloaded here.

If you’re interested to access more of our hospitality research in general then take a look at our Knowledge Hub (lots of free insight!)