PepsiCo have admitted they have an interest in the CBD beverage market expected to grow to $2.5 Billion by 2023, but analysts note they stay tight lipped to avoid conflict with American regulating authorities.
“I think we’ll look at it critically, but I’m not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street in October 2018.
He told the analysts: “I think the difficulties in investing in that category [CBD], particularly in the US where federally these things are still not legal, are quite a considerable challenge.” Speculations simmered for a time until industry insiders began to speak out the following year.
In 2019 FDA stated that all USA companies jumping on the trend of adding CBD to food and drinks were breaking the law, after numerous reports of poor quality control and contamination scares in the agricultural cannabis industry. Wall Street Journal reported that PepsiCo, Monster Beverage Corp. and Red Bull had all engaged food technologists in discussion of CBD drink formulations, yet all declined to comment, distancing themselves from agricultural cannabis in wake of the FDA published opinion.
Impurities of THC, mold, pesticides and heavy metals were found to occur in many agricultural CBD products, leading medicinal chemists to investigate methods of producing CBD in pharmaceutical laboratories without requiring any hemp plants to produce a product free of contamination.
Pharmaceutically produced CBD would protect risk averse beverage giants from contamination scares and is thought to be their way forward.
However, if the intel from food technology R & D departments of Pepsi, Red Bull and Monster is anything to go by, it is full steam ahead in product development, whether for the USA domestic market, or the global arena as we trend toward acceptance of clean CBD as a safe food additive.