• Jeffrey Friedland

Oreo Maker Mondelez Looking at CBD-Infused Snacks

Mondelez’s Announcement is a Wake-Up Call to Other Snack Food Companies

May 4, 2019 - In what is a shot across the bow of other CBG snack food companies, the Oreo manufacturer Mondelez indicates that it’s looking at adding CBD-infused snacks to its product line.

Mondelez is best-known for Oreos, but the company’s other well-known products include Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter Cookies, Cadbury chocolates, and Chips Ahoy cookies.

Mondelez’s CEO, Dirk Van de Put, confirming the company’s strategy, said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, “Yes, we’re getting ready, but we obviously want to stay within what is legal and play it the right way.” Van de Put also predicted that CBD would become a mainstream food additive in the “not-so-far future.”

While Van de Put backed away from committing to add CBD to Oreos, because he thought it might not be appropriate for a “family brand,” he stated that it might be a fit for Mondelez’s other products, or that perhaps the company would create one or more new product lines.

The stage was set for CBD-infused food products when the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in December. The Farm Bill removed industrial hemp and its derivative products, including CBD, from its Schedule 1 status under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the Farm Bill delegated regulations regarding CBD to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently CBD is not “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS), but, as Van de Put also stated, “The space is not clear. It’s a bit clearer in non-food products. I’m hoping that the FDA will bring some clarity in the coming months.”

This news from Mondelez follows the announcement that a survey of 650 professional chefs conducted by the American Culinary Federation and the National Restaurant Association found that 75% of chefs believed that CBD and cannabis-infused food would be a top culinary trend in 2019.

The survey of chefs and this latest Mondelez news is a confirmation that all Consumer Packaged Good snack food companies should take a serious look at CBD-infused products, so that when CBD’s status as a food additive is clarified, they’ll be ready to quickly launch CBD-infused products.

It’s also clear to us that many major snack food brands will at least initially seek to launch CBD-infused products as a product line extension or as a new brand, rather than adding CBD to existing products.

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