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.
Mettrum 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.
As 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.
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.