Licensed Producers move into natural foods market

Why you may soon be seeing your medical cannabis producer in grocery stores

Hemp, quinoa, coconut and various oils have all had a comfortable place on Canadian retailers shelves for decades and consumers can now expect to find several new products to try in the massive battlefield of healthy food from some local cannabis farmers.

Enter the MMPR cannabis parent companies Mettrum Health Corp. and The Peace Naturals Project. Each company holds license to produce and sell medical cannabis under the MMPR in Canada via the mail to registered patients.

A few weeks back, both companies found themselves in the trenches of the Toronto convention centre and joined their healthy food peers at the well attended, organized and executed CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) exhibition in downtown Toronto.

The goal was the launch of their new retail products with ingredient inputs that they are already well familiar with and a food market in which they have had a strong association for twenty years. A comfortable place to start in a consumer facing market more cut-throat competitive then medical cannabis and congested with over 100 varieties of a cereal bars and pancake mixes.

However, both companies are appealing to a consumer who could be a revenue double tap to the bottom line with long term (6 months plus) purchases of their cannabis products. Generating operating revenue while very effectively advertising brand awareness in a less regulated forum in the hunt for patient acquisition and operating revenue. A $1.99 cereal bar at Whole Foods could lead to a brand recognition that can translate to their MMPR enterprises. 

mettrumbarsMettrum Originals™ is a subsidiary of Mettrum Health and has been working in the hemp industry since 1995. The food business line is operated by Greg Herriott who holds 2mm shares ($3mm CAD) in licensed producer Mettrum ($MT.v) as a result of a friendly takeover in his Ontario based Hempola brand. Hempola has been producing hemp products in Canada for nearly two decades.

The Peace Naturals Project is run by Mark Gobuty who has a twenty year career in producing and distributing healthy “super foods”. Gobuty is also the operating executive for the Ontario based MMPR cannabis producer which is sold under the same brand. The Peace products have a specific marketing hook in “Super Food” allergen-free, anti-inflammatory, low glycemic and gluten free ingredients that are also kosher, vegan and certified organic.

pnAs part of the CHFA programme, Peace Naturals’ Mark Gobuty gave a sponsored talk to this years attendees that outlined the companies goals in marketing their brand and distributing products to not just registered cannabis purchasing patients at their website, but to retail shoppers at national distributers counting Whole Foods & Rexall amongst them. The strong experience that these two initial entrants to consumer products had on display last week is clearly recognizable; down to their pricing and margin strategies and to product placement targets and web traffic.

One immediately recognizes the Peace Naturals and Mettrum branding derived from their cannabis sister companies when viewing the companies resalable bagged products and the food quality was fantastic.

The crowds were very open-minded to medical (and recreational) cannabis and the other vendors polled had zero issues with the cross over from cannabis to food. The vendors surrounding Mettrum and Peace provided a very good view of the massive universe of health food, hemp bars, mixes and balms available to Canadian consumers.

Foot traffic was very good with hungry hands grabbing any food or promotional item not bolted down and the company teams clearly recognizable in well-branded clothing were pulling double duty and a good job of explaining food product information and answering questions on medical cannabis.

mettrumOGMettrum had one of the best laid-out and practical environment’s at the show, if a retail pop up location doesn’t materialize that matches I’ll be surprised.

In listening to several conversations the questions from the adult consumers invariably drifted to cannabis by question 3 or 4. It’s a very well educated crowd to the health benefits of cannabis and hemp related products and interest ran high around participating in MMPR.

While the cost of the launch and promotion cannot go unconsidered to investors, the message was clearly conveyed and both companies have executed on quality of food and taste. As cannabis goes mainstream, and hemp products become even more prevalent, look for more of your Licensed Producer to be branching out into the non-medical-cannabis world.

Images via twitter.com/AgriConsult

Scott Walters is an active consultant to operating medical cannabis companies across Canada as well as patient care providers involved in research. Scott also provides due diligence for issuers as well as institutional clients investing in the cannabis sectors though an advisory role with JSI Inc. Scott has over 20 years of international experience and extensive domain knowledge in capital markets, start ups, risk management and financial institutions.

In this article


Join the Conversation

2 comments

  1. Dr. C. Runch Reply

    If theys wants to get into the Hole Foods Shilldustry, they really need to comportmentalize their branding precisely so that being it doesn't haved blead over into their recreational production market that's masquerading as medical. LP's work for Harper.

    They shouldn't be polluting other markets like hemp from Chinas, as for make shift marketing, indirectly or otherwise. Instead they should actually wrok to improve the MMPR restrictions and impede their fundamental utility instead of profiteering. That would allow them to conduct otherwise legitimately so beings that we don't have to spectate while they fumble our medical rights away to the lowest bidder with one reckless scheme after the next just like the black market CONCASHIN clubs while they swap tactics back and forth like a pornographic snowjob and burn us all like the profiteers resembling the black market which is better anyway like they are!

    What should be feeding into their medical marijuanas instead is recognition for the mouldy buds they put forth, or the lack thereof. They should be "lifted" (get it??) by what forced institutionalized patients are made to depend on them for, but nothing else. LP profiteers! We really don't need magical Licensed Producers trading on public stocks while being their products can barely reach 15% THC at all, let alone on a regular basis. Stock markets are evil! Money is evil! Medicine should be free! This is Canada, not the USA! It's only that kind of nonsense that's required to make the black market seem legititimate, while they're played against one another as everyone has their rights sold out from under them.

    They're sure creative in offloading the cost of their marketing on to their captive consumers though. If cannabis were provided free by the government as under the MMAR, this problem wouldn't exist. But as with everything, Harper is destroying Canada.

  2. Sum Guy Reply

    I think it looks great. Really smart for them to use their strengths to boost their brand in other ways than cannabis. Not many ways to advertise their brand with MMPR restrictions. The other comment from Dr. C. Runch seems to think they are a charity. I love the whole recipe/food thing Peach Naturals is doing, and it positions them well in case edibles really takes off here as legislation shifts.