“We pride ourselves on providing our customers with a wide product selection and in-store employees who can help educate them on the benefits of CBD,” Lawrence added.
Fresh Thyme introduced CBD products at stores in November 2016. The Downers Grove, Ill.-based chain said that it has since rapidly expanded its CBD assortment in response to shopper demand and input, as the initial two-shelf CBD space grew into an eight-foot display.
Fresh Thyme said it consults with industry experts to ensure all CBD products meet state and Food and Drug Administration rules and regulations. To that end, the retailer emphasized that it engages in a “thorough and rigorous” review of each CBD vendor and item put on shelves.
“As we continue our commitment to promoting healthy living, we are excited to announce the expansion of our CBD items in the health and beauty, supplement and pet product categories,” Jonathan Lawrence, senior director of grocery and natural living at Fresh Thyme, said in a statement.
Specialty grocer Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is ramping up its CBD product selection with nearly 100 new items.
The new CBD offerings — which will expand the number of CBD products at stores by 65% — include 52 topical health and beauty items, 31 supplements and 16 pet products, carried at Fresh Thyme locations in Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Through educational efforts ranging from offsite training hosted by CBD vendors to in-store events, Fresh Thyme noted that it “goes above and beyond” to make sure its store associates are well-trained, knowledgeable and able to help customers select CBD products that are right for them.
“From a basket building standpoint, has CBD been good for us? Absolutely, average retail on a supplement product was roughly $12 four years ago and today it’s closer to $15 and that has a direct correlation with the price point and the kind of CBD products we’re selling.”
He added: “We’re not seeing the huge rapid growth that we’ve seen in the past because we were early pioneers. It’s going to become an everyday product like turmeric or fish oil.
Shoppers are becoming more educated about CBD, although some key questions keep coming up, said Lawrence, who launched Fresh Thyme’s CBD set with eight products from CV Sciences, and has since expanded the set to 8-feet.
The top questions are: Will it get me high? Will I fail a drug test? How much should I take?
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after adding 99 new items (52 health & beauty/topical products, 31 dietary supplements, 16 petcare SKUs) to its existing line of 152 CBD products, Jonathan Lawrence, senior director of grocery & natural living at Fresh Thyme, said “CBD is a hot product, but it’s normalizing.”
“It’s brought us some new customers into our stores because we’re a trusted store to try new things and we’ve also seen some shifts in buying from our existing customers, so turmeric and sleep products and a few others are slightly down as people will say try CBD instead for say joint pain, but I think things will balance out and we’re already starting to see that.
“The top questions we still get asked are, Will it get me high? Will I fail a drug test if there are minute amounts of THC in my CBD products? And how much should I take? The problem is, there’s no clear answer on dosages, it’s not a like a multivitamin where you take two-a-day. Everyone is different and you have to listen to your body to see what works for you.”
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