On Thursday, the CBD market welcomed a new player.
Canadian company Neptune Wellness Solutions launched its first brand under its new CEO, Michael Cammarata, who previously co-founded and led Schmidt’s Naturals. Called Forest Remedies, the brand will sell 14 products at launch, including hemp body care, hemp ingestibles and aromatherapy oils. It will expand to 40-plus products by the end of February. Forest Remedies will also debut in 100 doors nationally this month through a yet-to-be-announced retailer.
Neptune Wellness has historically been a business-to-business enterprise that manufactured krill, hemp and CBD products. Through Cammarata’s leadership, the company is developing a business-to-consumer side, with a focus on CPG projects. On Feb. 27, Neptune will also introduce krill oil brand Ocean Remedies. Cammarata declined to disclose revenue expectations for either brand but said he expects 1 million online and in-store customers by the end of 2020.
“There’s a huge opportunity in the household products category to transfer consumers to plant-based ingredients,” said Cammarata, who grew Schmidt’s Natural from a deodorant brand to a lifestyle company under Unilever that sold toothpaste, cleaning products, body care and children’s products.
Both Forest Remedies and Ocean Remedies embed a one-product-bought, one-product-donated corporate social responsibility model into their businesses. Forest Remedies focuses on reforestation, and Ocean Remedies will highlight childhood malnutrition.
According to Cammarata, as CBD becomes more popular and when ingestible CBD becomes legal, it will evolve into an everyday good like caffeine. And with every brand offering CBD, the company will need to shift its focus to product solutions and not just ingredients.
“The ingredient will be a commodity; that is why I think you see brands like Forrest Remedies adding elements of corporate social responsibility to stand out among consumer groups,” said Joshua Schall, an independent CPG consultant.
Cammarata said he aims to use retail partnerships as a quick feedback loop to further develop products. Forest Remedies’ initial retail partner will provide weekly feedback on packaging and price points. Forest Remedies will also offer a free 80-page educational booklet on CBD within retail stores. It will publish a 12-part podcast in March.
“The goal of this process is to bring the customer into the innovation cycle,” Cammarata said.
To assist in the further marketing and creative services of Forest Remedies and Ocean Remedies, Neptune established an equity partnership with American Media, which owns Men’s Journal, Us Weekly and OK Magazine, among others. In October 2019, Neptune issued 3 million stock warrants at $8.00 per share to American Media to help support Forest Remedies. Those stocks have a five-year expiration date. On Thursday, Neptune provided another approximately 1.2 million warrants under the same price and expiration, in exchange for $4.7 million in marketing and creative services for both print and digital. Both brands will have advertising capabilities across all of American Media’s publications, Cammarata said, potentially reaching more than 65 million online readers and 53 million print readers. This will be especially helpful in growing Forest Remedies’ brand awareness, since CBD companies still face many digital advertising restrictions.