Got the munchies? Mondelez (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is betting you might.
The maker of Oreos and owner of Nabisco is looking into adding CBD-infused snacks to its product line up, which currently includes familiar names like Chips Ahoy cookies, Cadbury, Nilla Wafers, and Nutter Butter cookies.
“Yes, we’re getting ready, but we obviously want to stay within what is legal and play it the right way,” CEO Dirk Van de Put said on CNBC on Wednesday.
But if you’re already salivating over the possibility of CBD-infused Oreos, Van de Put has some bad news for you. He said that the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis might not be a good fit for the company’s family brands like Oreos, though Mondelez is considering adding the ingredient to other products or create new product lines featuring CBD.
“Our current range of brands are family oriented and we don’t currently intend to bring any cannabis or CBD products under these brands,” a spokesperson for Mondelez said in a statement. So, the company is likely to introduce new brands with products laced with the non-psychoactive ingredient.
In December, the door was swung open for CBD in the U.S. when Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which declared that CBD would no longer be treated as an illegal substance.
The FDA is currently examining CBD as a food additive, and the possibility of the ingredient being classified as GRAS—or Generally Recognized As Safe—would spark a wave of new CBD-infused foods and drinks to market.
With all this positive news for CBD, startups have been pushing out new CBD products and more established companies have started to partner with marijuana growers to develop cannabis-infused products of their own.
Large companies like Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) and Molson Coors Brewing (NYSE: TAP) have already partnered with Canadian marijuana growers—Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) and HEXO (OTC: HEXO), respectively—to develop cannabis-infused beverages. Cannabis-infused food was even declared 2019’s hottest trend by chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association and the American Culinary Federation.
The buzz around CBD has been growing as consumers learn of the health benefits, such as easing pain, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety. As yet, little scientific research has been done to support this, though Van de Put said Mondelez is looking into these claims.
Its no wonder why the company would want to get in on the CBD trend. Cannabis industry analysts the Brightfield Group say the hemp-CBD market alone could hit $22 billion in the U.S. by 2022. And Van de Put predicts the ingredient will hit the mainstream food market in the “not-so-far future,” putting these products front-and-center for consumers.
However, Van de Put is still cautious.
“The space is not clear,” he said. “It’s a bit clearer in non-food products. In food products, I’m hoping the FDA will bring some clarity in the coming months.”
While CBD is currently approved for products like lotions and creams, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits adding the compound to food or beverage. After pressure from Congress the FDA set its first date for public hearings on the CBD matter for next month.
If CBD is approved as an ingredient in food items, expect big players like Mondelez to enter the field with a range of new infused food products. And if those new CBD products turn out to be as craveable as Oreos, Mondelez could eat up a chunk of that $22 billion CBD pie.