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4 Bold Predictions for the Hemp Industry in 2021

The CBD industry is well-poised for growth and change.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This coming year will bring major consumer-driven shifts to the hemp industry. Experts estimate that the CBD market is set to reach $18 billion by 2025 and include CBD for all uses, including topical, pet products, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. 

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Here are some industry trend predictions I have for 2021: 

Related: Pot Industry Predictions for 2021

There will be more clean and health-conscious products. 

Generally, we've seen a shift in consumer trends this past year towards natural, clean, and organic products. A Bloomberg report released earlier in 2020 revealed that COVID-19 had accelerated organic food sales in the US due to increased demand for health-conscious foods and drinks. For example, organic food and beverage sales surged 25 percent during the 17-week period ending June 27. 

Looking forward to 2021, I believe the demand for plant-based ingredients will be high this year across the natural products industry. In terms of ingredient trends, "botanical ingredients including hemp CBD, sea buckthorn, shea, bakuchiol, and radish extract are on the rise in the natural personal care space." 

In the topicals and cosmetics market, consumers know that shorter ingredient lists mean fewer possibilities for adverse reactions and less room for irritating fragrances and fillers. Studies have shown that shoppers will be looking for products with fewer ingredients as this translates to increased sustainability and reduced environmental impacts. 

Organic and natural labeling will be popular. 

In 2021, I believe people will continue to seek out products that are beneficial to their health and further refine the goods they use and consume daily. We're seeing that consumers are becoming more selective about the products they use and differentiate brands through label reading. Credibility will be strengthened through consumers recognizing specific certifications from third-party accreditation agencies. 

One such certification is USDA organic certification, which advances the clean label movement by requiring processes and ingredients to be verified by an independent regulator. This certification also allows consumers to feel more confident about the products they're purchasing. According to researchers, "… often health-minded individuals are more likely to purchase organic food. Health reasons for buying organics often include a general 'It's healthier than conventional' statement from consumers, and 34% of individuals in one poll said they want to avoid toxins in their food that they perceive as unhealthy." 

Boutique formulas will be on the rise. 

This past year we've seen a call for "extra strength" dosages and additional benefits within the products people use and consume daily. Today, CBD has become a top wellness supplement. Although there have been incredible breakthroughs in formulations, brands have yet to realize the far-reaching implications of specialty or boutique ingredients. 

Minor cannabinoids will enter the mix.

CBD may be our primary focus, but other promising cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, and CBN are ones to look for in the new year. It's an exhilarating time to be developing hemp ingredients as new possibilities and applications for THC-free ingredients seem to be limitless. 

As research into the overall science and health benefits of minor cannabinoids advances across the industry, consumers will have their pick of new products customized for their unique needs. We've seen consumer education, awareness, and acceptance of CBD grow within this past year, and we're excited about the possibilities and trends ahead in 2021.