- Schnucks has installed automated kiosks stocked with cannabidiol (CBD) products in its EatWell natural foods-focused store in Columbia, Missouri, according to a joint announcement last week from the grocery chain and NatuEra, supplier of the machines and the items they sell.
- The vending machines, which carry tinctures, gummies, creams and capsules, require customers to scan a driver's license or other state identification to verify their age.
- Schnucks' decision to sell items containing CBD at the EatWell store puts it in the company of other retailers looking to tap consumer interest in the products, which promise a range of health and wellness benefits.
Schnucks is serving as the launch partner for NatuEra's self-service dispensers, which the announcement said are designed to make it easier for retailers to manage the regulatory and other challenges associated with selling CBD products.
Schnucks has installed two of the machines in the EatWell store, a spokesperson for the grocer wrote in an email. The spokesperson did not disclose whether the chain intends to add more of the units to that store or any of its other locations.
The self-contained vending machines use a store-within-a-store model to handle CBD product sales, according to the press release. NatuEra monitors and restocks the machines, which each include a video screen that educates customers about CBD. The company also remotely manages the information displayed by the machines, "protecting retailers from liability related to regulatory issues and product claims," the announcement said.
Another potential benefit for retailers of the vending machines is that they do not require store staff to access products containing CBD, according to the press release.
"We designed the NatuEra CBD Smart Kiosk to specifically mitigate retailers' regulatory risk and liability, as well as to provide a turnkey category management solution that brings CBD-based wellness products to consumers at the retail locations they trust," NatuEra CEO Nicolas Nannetti said in a statement.
The market for products containing CBD, an active but non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, accelerated following the removal of hemp, the plant CBD is derived from, from the federal Controlled Substances Act by the 2018 Farm Bill. The CBD market surpassed $4 billion in sales in 2020, an increase of 52% over 2019, according to data released in June by research firm BDSA.
Retailers that carry items with CBD products include Kroger and Whole Foods, both of which began selling the products in 2019. Pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS also entered the market that year, as did Dierbergs Markets, which like Schnucks is based in the St. Louis area.
In 2020, CBD product manufacturer American Shaman opened a retail store inside a Price Chopper supermarket in Kansas City, Missouri, run by Balls Food Stores.