The UK’s largest independently owned producer, manufacturer, and distributor of legal cannabis is reaching its 7th Anniversary of novel foods, new cannabis innovations and keeping things fresh in the CBD space.
While the CBD industry continues to face teething problems, BRITISH CANNABIS is doing all they know how to buck the trend of a CBD market seeming to reach its peak.
Its own brand and white label product applications now make up an eighth of the current novel foods list as it welcomed companies left stranded by previous manufacturers to its dossier.
The team speaks to Business of Cannabis about how it continues to come out on top – and what’s next for the CBD pioneers.
It has been a challenging time for the CBD and cannabis industry recently. How is BRITISH CANNABIS fairing during this time of uncertainty?
We had the novel foods list published less than a year ago and ever since, elsewhere there have been certain companies issuing winding down orders, going into administration, and posting multi-million pound losses. It’s been dramatic for everyone who came up in the CBD industry together these past several years, to say the least! There’s also a plethora of more recent companies that jumped on the sector’s growth in the last two to three years and the hype that they brought to investment markets and retail buyers alike has started to wane. We’re now, coupled with the relatively tough time being experienced in world events, starting to see some part of the market struggle.
We were delighted to make up nearly 12.5 per cent of the entire products published on the FSA public list in 2022. So, whilst we can’t make strict predictions on the CBD space this year, we’re pleased to report that life post novel foods has been positively business-as-usual.
Novel foods has received criticism from some in the space. What are your views?
We think the process needs to be respected. At BRITISH CANNABIS, we are very much aligned with regulatory fairness – if for nothing else than for consumer peace of mind. There’s nothing that displeases us more when we run some products, that are on the market at the moment, through our own labs and discover less than or absolutely none of the CBD promised. This is one area of consistency that novel foods, whilst not perfect, can help with.
Regardless of where people sit on the full spectrum debate, the only cannabinoid that really can appear in supplement products right now is CBD and therefore consumers do deserve to know if there is a legal or illegal amount of THC or any other cannabinoid in their product.
What impact has the process had on you as a company?
Although arguably a drawn out and so far inconclusive process as novel foods has been for many, we’re pleased to have been able to turn it to our advantage.
At least eight to ten reputable brands came on board with the BRITISH CANNABIS white labelling service since the novel foods list was published, with capacity enough at our Berkshire facilities to accommodate more. We made steps to include partner brands in our dossiers in order to ensure business continuity for them.
Whilst innovation in the form of new CBD food supplement products has been understandably slowed by the February 2020 pre-authorisation rule, there are other ways we have harnessed our expertise to bring new CBD innovation.
Can you take us through your latest innovations and brand products?
One exciting release comes with the launch of our non-novel CBD Supplements range this quarter. The oils, capsules and gummies in this range mirror the complex phytochemical profile of the cannabis plant, ensuring you a fuller range of cannabis-associated benefits than CBD alone. Plus, with the power of added plant terpenes, we can tweak our oils in a number of ways for flavour and bring in the associated benefits of certain terpene profiles.
However: and this is where the real current value lies – the traditional methods we use to extract our primary cannabis oil ingredients long pre-date 1997, therefore they are exempt from novel food regulations.
Despite being non-novel, via being extracted without contemporary selective technologies, these full-spectrum products are still legal for retail sale under the misuse of drugs regulations.
What does this non-novel range mean for our B2B customers? Essentially: White Label CBD Food Supplements are back! Aspiring new brands and existing market players alike can fill gaps in their innovation pipeline by creating products based on this range. From 250mg and 500mg full spectrum oils (enhanced and flavoured with beneficial terpenes) to sugar-free, vegan gummies and CBD capsules with an almost limitless combination of complimentary ingredients; the BRITISH CANNABIS non-novel range is now here for customers to talk to us about.
You brought Elixinol back to the UK market recently. Tell us about that.
We were delighted to have relaunched Elixinol to the UK market after about a 6 month hiatus, nearly a year since it was reported that they had to pull out of the UK due to novel foods. BRITISH CANNABIS has established an exclusive trademark and licensing agreement with this globally recognised brand, meaning we are being able to produce and distribute Elixinol under licence.
The launch happened in last summer and we’re now able to continue Elixinol’s 25-year heritage in hemp wellness by bringing back some of their consumers’ favourite Elixinol products.
Elixinol CBD tinctures are back in both Natural and Cinnamint flavour, in two different CBD strengths – 500mg and 1000mg. These long-standing brands are novel foods registered now under BRITISH CANNABIS’ dossiers.
In terms of Elixinol’s capsules, we have brought back both the Natural CBD capsule range, along with vitamin and mineral added variants. Examples include ‘Allure’ to aid healthy skin, hair and nails with the added benefit of Selenium; we have CBD plus Calcium in ‘Digest’ capsules, CBD and Vitamin C in our ‘Immune’ capsules and CBD plus Zinc for improved mental performance in ‘Serene’ capsules. Not to mention ‘Dreams’ to help promote a peaceful night’s sleep with added Chamomile and Lavender.
Most excitingly perhaps, we have been redeveloping Elixinol’s range of cosmetics and will soon be reviving the popular ElixinolSkin range, which includes beautiful, natural beauty products such as face creams for all parts of the daily routine, a Miracle Oil for skin and hair and a soothing Bath Oil. These will launch in multiple international Elixinol markets this spring, proudly Powered by BRITISH CANNABIS.
Tell us about your recent TV campaign
2022 saw our first TV campaign for our flagship range, CBD by BRITISH CANNABIS. The brand formerly known as Canabidol, which built the foundations of our company for the last 7 years, received its most mainstream exposure to date in the form of two advertising bursts in March and September, across the Sky, Channel 5 and UKTV networks, both on digital TV and video on demand.
The campaign was designed to ingratiate the reported 30 per cent of people who’ve already tried a CBD product of some nature. Has it changed the hearts and minds of people who have been sitting on the fence about the category? We hope so, as we tried to present the brands in a reasonably mainstream way just like you would any other health and beauty product.
We’ve been pleased with the amount of new people who have been flocking to the brands as a consequence of TV advertising.
Are there any other successes you would like to share?
We debuted our flagship product range, CBD by BRITISH CANNABIS, in Selfridges in July and we are starting to have a lot of negotiations with national pharmacies and high-street retailers so we’re looking for increased distribution there.
Our eBay store has also gone well. For the majority of the past year, we’ve held between 15 and 20 percent share of the whole category. We are frequently in the top three selling brands and the number one rated brand. We’ve had over 1200 positive reviews on eBay in only a year.
We will also finally be debuting our award-winning brand equities onto Amazon UK shortly, following a year of successful trading on the eBay UK CBD platform. The regular 15-20% market share success we have experienced on eBay should stand us in good stead on our Amazon launch.
It’s all coming together and we’re really trying to buck the trend in these challenging times.
So, what’s next for BRITISH CANNABIS?
We hope to start seeing CBD and cannabis products become embedded in society as health and wellness solutions that should be recognised and accepted not only by the minority anymore but by the vast majority.
I think there are other great things to come in terms of the second wave of cannabinoids. CBG is only in the cosmetics field at the moment, but we believe this will be introduced into some form of novel foods approval process of its own in the next two to three years.
I think it will be very interesting to see how things play out with the mushroom trend that’s growing now. Don’t get us wrong, we’re called BRITISH CANNABIS for a reason. We do specialise, and we will continue to specialise in the plant because it’s still got years left to go, but we are interested in expanding into nootropics when the time comes.
Most significantly though, is the medicinal cannabis space. Whilst we’ve operated in food supplements to date, our work also now turns to breaking down barriers to accessing cannabis medicines. These, in the right cases, have been legal to prescribe since 2018, yet have been thus far under-prescribed, not well known about, and can be confusing for patients, clinics and pharmacies alike. A major new BRITISH CANNABIS business division coming in 2023-24 will continue to break down these barriers and join the dots between patient needs, product availability and practitioner accessibility. That is probably the most exciting development of all, as it will further our mission to improve the lives of thousands via the power of the cannabis plant.