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Behind the story

Behind the story: How I became a hemp expert — just for you

Getting a crash course in the fast-growing market for CBD products

NRN editors take you beyond the headlines and offer perspectives on the issues and events shaping the industry. Get more inside takes from Behind the Story >>

I recently went on my first assignment for NRN’s sister publication, Supermarket News. I work Southern California, so I was dispatched to The Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., a huge convention that sports hundreds of good-for-you foods and beverages and natural supplements. 

I was excited. Would I be covering the plant-based movement or would I be scouting for startup products? None of the above. I was asked to cover the rapidly growing CBD market. Gulp. This is a subject I know nothing about.

CBD_Products_08.pngBut, that’s the fun part of the job. Journalists can instantly become a subject matter expert with the right sources. My research took me to a daylong summit that focused on educating retailers about the CBD space, which is projected to reach $16 billion by 2025.  Last year’s legalization of hemp opened the floodgates for hundreds of suppliers looking to grab share in a hot market. The show floor exploded with hemp-derived CBD products ranging from gummy bears to lotions. 

The industry is trying to self-regulate with groups like the U.S. Hemp Authority, formed to certify products. But in a Wild West situation, this group can’t weed out every supplier trying to sell fool’s gold.

So do your research. And if you’re unsure, don’t fret. Our teams at NRN and SN have your back.

Read Nancy’s recent coverage of the growing CBD market:

Natural Products Expo educates retailers on CBD products

Industry leaders answer questions about CBD

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @FastFoodMaven

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