If there’s one thing Canadians can count on to radically transform food and drink in the new year, it’s the advent of licit edibles
From Taiwanese cheese tea (tea topped with cheesy foam), which is apparently poised to become “the new bubble tea,” to a rise in “peganism” (a paleo/vegan diet mashup), forecasters have already predicted several new trends for 2019. But if there’s one thing Canadians can count on to radically transform food and drink in the new year, it’s the introduction of newly licit edibles.
In a second wave of recreational legalization, cannabis-infused food and drink will be lawful in Canada no later than Oct. 17, 2019, and sales are projected to boom. Although the real change on the consumer side will come closer to the end of the year, 2019 promises to be packed with new products, including the world’s first beer brewed from marijuana (Province Brands’ imperial pilsner).
According to a report by marijuana market research company The Arcview Group, edibles are expected to quadruple in Canada and the U.S. by 2022, reaching a value of more than $4.1 billion. Meanwhile, global sales are anticipated to surge from $9.5 billion in 2017 to $32 billion. The report further states that “the edibles market is up for grabs. We’re already seeing mainstream beverage companies scrambling to take advantage of part of this significant opportunity.”
Megabrand Anheuser-Busch InBev, brewer of Budweiser, recently partnered with Nanaimo, B.C.-headquartered cannabis company Tilray. The companies will reportedly spend $50 million on a study, which Labatt Brewing Company (a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev) will conduct “to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD.”
The beer giant isn’t alone in its pursuit of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused drinks. Constellation Brands — the company behind Corona and Svedka vodka — has a 38 per cent stake in Smiths Falls, Ont.-based cannabis company Canopy Growth, and Molson Coors has partnered with Gatineau, Que.-based Hexo. According to Bloomberg, even Coca-Cola is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.”