Medically Correct, creator of the national incredibles line of award-winning chocolate bars, has experienced more than a decade of success in the Colorado cannabis market. As more states legalize, new retailers, manufactures, and shoppers have entered the scene. While this may mean more competition for established brands, it also promises a shift in social and cultural acceptance and a door to greater business opportunities for all industry sectors.
Aware of this shift and the growing popularity of premium/gourmet chocolate in the mass market, the founders of Medically Correct created Nové. The innovative line of filled, single-origin chocolates provides consumers an everyday luxury and is positioned to appeal to three target audiences: price-conscious edibles buyers, cannabis flower purchasers, and the canna-curious. With wide appeal and as a trusted brand partner, Nové aims not only to drive new traffic to Colorado dispensaries, but also to increase basket size and propel sustainable revenue growth.
A new, affordable option for edibles buyers
In a 2020 article, The New York Times writer Alison Stine discussed how during the pandemic, consumers concerned by “vaping illness” reports and respiratory risks posed by smoking turned to cannabis edibles consumption. In addition, Headset data demonstrates recreational edibles unit sales from 2018 to 2020 increased 50 percent. With edibles taking greater market share from other categories, more dispensaries are strategically broadening their selections.
One area of growth within the category is the luxury product segment, but how does that hold in a world where COVID-19 has left many consumers jobless or financially struggling? Nové takes a different approach by providing “luxury without the luxury price tag.” While the brand takes pride in being among the most affordable choices in premium cannabis chocolates, it maintains a dedication to craftsmanship, quality, and design by:
- Employing award-winning chocolatiers and leveraging deep culinary expertise.
- Sourcing exceptional ingredients, including single-origin, South American cacao and the finest cannabis oil.
- Introducing a filled chocolate option, unique among its competitors.
- Providing beautiful, sustainable packaging made from 33-percent post-consumer materials.
Enticing the flower purchaser and creating a ritual
Despite the growth of edibles’ market share, flower remains the top choice among cannabis buyers, accounting for more than 50 percent of purchases. This likely is due to factors including immediate effects and price point, but Medically Correct President Bob Eschino believes there’s a larger reason for the stronghold.
“Cannabis has been consumed for centuries, but only for the past decade have consumers had reliable product options,” he said. “Before our regulated industry, edibles were inconsistent and concentrates were dangerous to produce. Harvesting and smoking flower was easier and safer, so that’s what the culture was built around.”
A survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found 50 percent of respondents consume flower by rolling a joint or with the use of a bowl or pipe. Twenty-two percent of survey participants consume flower using a bong, water pipe, or hookah, and 20 percent enjoy sparking up a blunt.
Recognizing this preference, Nové aims to attract flower purchasers by encouraging the idea of an edibles ritual. In an article titled Weed rituals: a cross-cultural connection to calm, Leafly writer Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi stated, “Our rituals help us find ourselves, and many of us practice the same ones to symbolize our own comfort and readiness to receive.”
Similar to how many consumers have their favorite grinder, papers, and method of rolling a joint, Nové encourages rituals through pairings with flower. The creators suggest pairing the Island Coconut dark chocolate with a toke of Pineapple Express and the Cafe Cappuccino bar with a dessert-inspired strain like Cherry Pie or Sticky Buns. Nové cofounder Derek Cumings, who always has a blunt in hand, stated in a promotional video, “Orange Soda in a grape blunt with a Raspberry Bramble Nové bar” is one of his favorite combinations. By identifying as a lifestyle brand, Nové hopes to embody the values and interests of flower consumers, rather than change them.
Appealing to the canna-curious, an untapped market
Aggregated 2020 data from CannaCurious Insights and BDS Analytics demonstrates 41 percent of Colorado’s population consumes cannabis, 22 percent rejects cannabis use, and 37 percent accepts cannabis use, defining themselves as canna-curious. Deemed the “2018 Word of the Year” by Civilized online magazine, the term “canna-curious” describes someone who does not consume cannabis but is open to the idea of experimenting with the now-mainstream drug, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes.
According to a 2018 survey developed by High Yield Insights, 56 percent of consumers start their edibles journey by speaking with a dispensary associate. However, many budtenders are just breaking into the industry and may need more support to assist the canna-curious buyer with lots of questions. For that reason, Nové has partnered with LearnBrands, a training platform intended to educate dispensary staff members about the product’s ingredients, dosing, and differentiators.
In addition to educating budtenders, Nové demonstrates its commitment to the canna-curious audience by collaborating with Leaf 411, a marijuana help hotline that connects consumers with licensed, cannabis-trained medical professionals. Medically Correct, the brand’s parent company, also supports this interested group with educational content on its website, composing articles like Everything You Need to Know to Safely Consume Cannabis.
Since 2010, the company’s mantra has been “Start Low, Go Slow,” encouraging users to consume no more than 5mg to 10mg THC within a two-hour to four-hour period. When developing Nové, all four founders agreed to create a filled chocolate with a firmer consistency, allowing new consumers to easily break the confection into smaller doses without a sticky mess. In educating and accommodating the canna-curious, Nové puts forth effort to drive this untapped market to its partner dispensaries.
A true brand partner
A major influence in the Colorado cannabis industry, Medically Correct is a leader in innovation, technology, and logistics and offers best-in-class retailer support. By pricing Nové as the most affordable option in the premium edibles category, the brand’s market development strategy — to attract edibles and flower buyers as well as the canna-curious — is positioned to drive revenue and success.