In 2016, cannabis research and analytics firm Brightfield Group surveyed more than 2,000 marijuana consumers from around the West Coast, inquiring about what they would most like to see in new cannabis products entering the market. The respondents’ top three answers, detailed below, serve to guide growers and retailers looking to better address the demands of an ever-increasing cannabis consumer base.
1. Better-Tasting Products
The greatest consumer request for new products is better taste – 37 percent of respondents listed this as their top priority. Among Californians, this figure was higher: 44 percent noted that better taste was their primary concern regarding new products. Conversely, in Oregon, 30 percent indicated that taste is a top priority.
The preference for better-tasting products largely pertains to edibles. These must be appetizing to appeal to consumers, but in particular, longer-term, loyal users who may have developed more sophisticated tastes are seeking greater variety in tasty edibles. For example, many of those surveyed indicated an interest in more savory options: complete to-go meals, pasta sauces and the like, rather than the typical, limited sweet options available.
The taste and smell of flower buds are also highly significant to the taste of any edible product, as well as to the flower experience itself. Cannabis manufacturers and vendors looking to connect with more customers could do so by prioritizing the use of flavorful cultivars and ingredients in their products, diversifying menus and offering more strains that will combine well with savory dishes.
2. More Affordable Products
For others (32 percent of respondents), the top priority for new cannabis products was affordability. This factor was more relevant to users in Oregon and Colorado (38 percent and 37 percent, respectively), and less important to users in California (24 percent).
Cannabis producers and vendors can appeal to a wider consumer market by making their prices as competitive as possible. Growers might consider including in their offerings cultivars that cost less to produce. Producers and vendors might consider packaging individual units rather than larger, multiple-item packages, or selling lower-dosage units so that those on a budget can afford to purchase only exactly what they need.
3. Consistency and Reliability in Dosage and Organic Products
Tying for third place, but of far less importance to respondents, were the issues of dosage consistency/reliability, and the availability of organic products. Six percent of consumers noted those as their primary concerns.
Consistency and dosage reliability are especially relevant when trying to attain and retain long-term clients, as these factors increase brand trust and loyalty. Producers and processors especially should be attentive to ensuring consistency and quality in all buds and edibles. Ideally, quality should be “guaranteed”; although this could potentially lead to losses on bad product, it may also prevent the loss of regular, profitable customers.
For marijuana producers and vendors, improvements to taste, affordability and, less so, dosage consistency and availability of organics could help them break into a wider cannabis consumer market.