Hemp Seeds: Consumer and Shopper Insights

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Hemp Seeds: Consumer and Shopper Insights

Consumers looking to educate themselves about hemp seeds can do so on the internet, at health & wellness expos, and through in-store sampling events. Below we outline our research strategies and provide the key findings related to hemp seed resources.

Methodology

We began our research by trying to determine if there were any niche sites regarding hemp seeds that are being visited regularly. While we did find many sites that provided details on what hemp seeds are and the benefits of consuming them, most of them were general wellness sites such as Healthline, Medical News Today, WebMD, Nature's Path, and Dr. Axe. However, we did find a few hemp specific sites in this search, including Hempseed.ca, Ministry of Hemp, and Hemp Traders. These hemp specific sites were lower in the search results which indicated that many people conducting a search for "hemp seeds" are likely being directed to general wellness sites and it would not be possible to determine what portion of the traffic for those sites is specific to hemp seeds. However, it would be fair to assume that these general wellness sites are a source of information for consumers and that the hemp specific sites are likely being utilized by those willing to go a bit deeper into their search results.

Our next strategy was to use social media statistics tools to determine if the hashtag #hempseeds was being utilized on Instagram and Twitter. Our analysis provided some details on its use on those platforms and we included those below

Finally, because we wanted to see how people were educating themselves regarding hemp seeds offline, we expanded our search to determine where people generally interested in health & wellness are going to find information. We did this because our previous research had indicated that hemp seeds are a very niche market, and it was likely that consumers were learning about them while participating in other wellness-related activities, rather than specifically searching them out. This led us to expos and sampling as key ways brands are reaching and educating customers. Details on those are provided below.

WEB SEARCHES

GOOGLE TRENDS
  • In the last 12 months, searches for "hemp seeds" peaked the week of January 6-12. However, the term has been popular in searches in all weeks during the past 12 months. This indicates that people are utilizing the web to get more information on hemp seeds.
  • The five states with the highest level of searches for "hemp seeds" are Vermont, Oregon, Maine, Hawaii, and West Virginia.
  • "Hemp seed benefits" is searched at a slightly lower level than "hemp seeds"; "cbd hemp seeds," "what is hemp seeds," "hemp hearts," "hemp seeds protein," "hemp seeds nutrition," and "what is hemp" are other popular related searches.
  • Breakout searches are those that have significantly increased in volume over a specific time period. According to Google Trends, the following hemp seed related terms fall into that category: "feminized hemp seeds for sale," "nutritional value of hemp seeds," and "do hemp seeds have THC."

SEARCHVOLUME.IO
The attached google doc provides a screenshot of the search volume for various hemp seed terms in the United States. The search was conducted at searchvolume.io in order to quantify the search terms found using Google Trends. All numbers represent the monthly average number of searches.
Hemp seeds 33,100
What is hemp 12,100
Hemp hearts 8,100
Hemp seed benefits 1,900
Hemp seeds nutrition 1,900
Hemp seeds protein 210
Nutritional value of hemp seeds 210
What is hemp seeds 170
Do hemp seeds have THC 110
CBD hemp seeds 30
Many of these searches are very small but some, such as "hemp seeds," "what is hemp," and "hemp hearts," are receiving a significant number of searches. However, as can be seen in the screenshot in the attached google doc, searches for "hemp seed recipe" only averages 90 per month so it does not seem to be something that is important to consumers at this time.
U.S. NUTRITION SITES
SimilarWeb compiles data on website traffic and rankings. Since hemp seeds are considered a health food and have many nutritional benefits, it is likely that consumers utilize top-rated nutrition sites to educate themselves on the product. Currently, the top five websites in the nutrition category in the U.S. are:
Vitacost
GNC
Vitamin Shoppe
Nutritionix
My Food Diary

In addition to these sites, our search for hemp seeds led us to wellness sites including Healthline, Medical News Today, WebMD, Nature's Path, and Dr. Axe. Because these were the results on the first page of our google search, it is likely that these are sites consumers are using to learn more about the seeds.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Webstagram showed that #hempseeds has been used over 300,000 times on Instagram. We assumed that the hashtag would only be used frequently if it was of interest to people, so it is likely that Instagram is a resource people are using to learn more about hemp seeds.

HEALTH & WELLNESS FAIRS/EXPOS

Wellness fairs are very popular in the U.S. This shows the high level of interest Americans have in improving their health and provides an opportunity for educating consumers about new products they may be unfamiliar with. In order to prove this, we searched for large health & wellness expos in the United States and looked at the attendance numbers. Here is a list of seven large wellness expos in the U.S. that are open to the public and have an attendance of at least 20,000.
  • Held in Las Vegas
  • September 13-14, 2019
  • 220 Exhibitors
  • 60,000 Visitors
  • Held in Denver
  • March 15-17, 2019
  • 500+ exhibitors
  • 50,000-200,000 visitors
  • Held in Las Vegas
  • November 14-16, 2019
  • 500+ exhibitors
  • 50,000-200,000 visitors
  • Held in Denver
  • October 19-20, 2019
  • 500+ exhibitors
  • 50,000-200,000 visitors
  • Held in Phoenix
  • January 17-18, 2020
  • 500+ exhibitors
  • 50,000-200,000 visitors
  • Held in New York City
  • March 22-24, 2019
  • 500+ exhibitors
  • 20,000-50,000 visitors

  • Held in East Rutherford (at Giants Stadium)
  • June 22-23, 2019
  • 120 Exhibitors
  • 30,000 Visitors

IN-STORE SAMPLING

In-store sampling is an ideal way for consumers to learn more about a product because they not only have the opportunity to taste the food, but they also can learn more about it and get educated on its benefits. A study published in 2017 in the Journal of Retailing found that in-store samples provide both an immediate and long-term boost to sales. Additionally, the study found that repeated samplings in the same store increase sales even more. The study also found that sampling produced better results than in-store displays.
A 2014 article in the Atlantic discusses Costco's sampling practices. Although the article is older, it focuses on the psychology of sampling which is unlikely to have changed in the past few years. Therefore, we are including the valuable data provided in the article. Although one important aspect of sampling is increasing cravings for customers, it also increases loyalty, makes the shopping environment more appealing, and provides an opportunity for educating customers.

SUPERFOODS AVAILABILITY

To determine the availability of superfoods in mainstream grocers, mass retailers, and drug stores, we considered examining websites for a few of the retailers to see what was available, but determined that this would not be effective because there would be too many retailers and because many products could be offered online but not in stores. Instead, we did an image search for health/superfood displays and other images in a few representative stores such as Walmart, Target, Food Lion, Kroger, CVS, and Walgreen. This mainly resulted in images of the produce section at the various stores, but we did find a few images that provided insight into what superfoods are offered at some of the stores. These images have been added to the attached google doc and include images from Walmart, CVS, and Kroger.
Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "Olympia Fitness and Performance Expo the biggest stars in bodybuilding and fitness, as well as celebrities from the entertainment and sports industries. Visitors will have the chance to check out the latest in sports nutrition, workout gear, and even see some of bodybuilding’s greatest stars."
Quotes
  • "Body Mind Spirits Celebration Fair Denver displays the best of business and trade engagements in the West. This event exhibits vast array of crystals, metaphysical treasures, and many more holistic services in the Ayurvedic & Herbal, Medical & Pharmaceutical industries. It is the converging point of many notable business professionals dealing in the Ayurvedic and Herbal industry. They carry out a number of engagements to proliferate already-growing Ayurvedic & Herbal, Medical & Pharmaceutical industries."
Quotes
  • "Las Vegas Health & Fitness Expo features the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health & nutrition information and interactive displays, latest in running gear, sports apparel, health & nutritional information and much more."
Quotes
  • "This event showcases products like health products and accessories, running gear, sports apparels and accessories, sports equipment, nutritional products and much more."
Quotes
  • "Health and Fitness Expo features the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health & nutrition information and interactive displays. Health and Fitness Expo prior to the race, which all participants must visit in order to pick up their race packets."
Quotes
  • "New Life Expo is the largest and longest-running mind, body, and spirit expo which provides the attendees with the opportunity to join thousands of others who want to feed their minds, enlighten their souls and purify and tonify their bodies."
Quotes
  • "NBC4 New York is once again teaming with the 4X Super Bowl Champs, The New York Giants, for the 6th annual NBC4/T47 Health & Fitness Expo! Over 40,000 NYC metro area consumers are expected to flock to this family-friendly weekend event held at the famed MetLife Stadium. Expo attendees will be entertained, informed and can take advantage of a range of free health tests and screenings. In addition, attendees will have the very special opportunity to meet Giants players and participate in events held on the field. NBC4 will begin an aggressive, market-wide on-air and online attendance promotion 6 weeks in advance of the expo, helping to drive qualified attendees to the event."
Quotes
  • "Ranking of popular trade fairs, trade shows & conferences you should participate [in]. The only global event ranking table to calibrate the performance of events in their core missions after carefully considering factors like : audience reach, opportunities created, size, rating, format and international outlook."
Quotes
  • "Manufacturers will also appreciate the valuable rule of thumb revealed by the data: if the incremental cost of a sampling event exceeds 15 times the unit price of the product, the event ceases to be profitable. Other key findings: execution of a sampling event by one brand led to an increase in sales for all brands in the category, which they suggest should interest the category manager seeking to find ways to increase total category profitability, not the individual performance of a single item or brand."
Quotes
  • "Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct,” says Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University. “If somebody does something for you”—such as giving you a quarter of a ravioli on a piece of wax paper—“you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them."