In the short term, the firm looks to be focussing on replicating its farming quality success to its newer farm locations. However, at some point, the firm will need to focus more on their marketing strategy.
Broadly, these markets are classified based on the constituent substances in the produce. CBD (Cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive substance which is used for medical purposes while THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol) is the psychoactive substance which has recreational value. (This infographic illustrates the various cannabinoids and their properties). CBD is usually consumed either as a capsule or as an oil (internal or external consumption). CBD producers in states which have legalised on the use of cannabis for medical purposes must ensure that the total content of THC in their product is non-psychoactive and falls below 0.3%
Their commitment to passing on the benefits of low costs to consumers is laudable but comes at a risk. Consumers may focus too heavily on the price and may not consider that Green Mountain CBD have one of the cleanest products in the market. To counteract this, their challenge will be to go from getting good reviews to great reviews, thereby shifting the focus to their high quality and away from their low price. This can only be done through careful consumer research and focusing on attributes that consumers care about.
After the very first season, they got offered $250,000 by Evergreen Capital but the deal fell through at the last moment due to differences in vision. Earlier in 2018, they accepted $7M in venture capital funding from One Better Ventures and intends to change its name to Sunsoil in early 2019. They plan to lease and additional 50 acres of land in the same area and also plan to purchase 300acres in the Champlain Valley. The company also publicly announced their intention to drive down prices with the ensuing increase of scale.
Green Mountain was founded in 2016 by Alejandro Bergad and Jacob Goldstein who had grown up together in the same NY neighbourhood. Bergad previously served as the Chief Agricultural Officer of a hemp farm. The pair took over a 52 acre farmstead in Hardwick and got to work, showering meticulous attention to detail on every aspect of their farm. Currently their revenue stands at $2M and they provide full time employment to 20 employees with additional seasonal employment.
Green Mountain CBD offers two major product lines – CBD oil and capsules. The company prides itself on its efficient, organically farmed produce. Although the FDA does not have a legal category for “pesticide free” farming, the firm claims to not use any pesticide in its farms.
Their CBD oil extraction and delivery mechanism is through coconut oil. The lipid profile of coconut oil seems to make it ideal for delivering and extracting cannabinoids. Studies have shown that this method of delivery enhances CBD uptake by the body to around 30%, thereby increasing the product’s efficacy. This is different from other Vermont farms which use CO 2 extraction
Their capsules are among the cheapest in the market retailing at approximately $1/20mg capsule which is significantly lesser than their Colorado competition. Their end product earns a healthy 8.9/10 rating on CBD Oil users but is not rated among the best in terms of quality.
There is no doubt that the global cannabis market is poised for growth. By 2027, the total legal market for cannabis is expected to be $57Bn globally with 67% of the market catering to recreational use and 33% focused on medical uses.
Sunsoil has strong footing in the national CBD conversation: In two years, the in-market success of its product line is speaking for itself as every Sunsoil product is turning in the top ten percent of all CBD products in the natural channel1. “The productivity of our portfolio shows that consumers are responding to Alejandro and Jake’s vision of setting the standard for quality and value in an emerging market with a more efficient process,” says Bobby McConnell, Sunsoil’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The numbers are even more impressive when you consider our limited brick and mortar distribution. there is so much opportunity.”
“We’re thrilled our new partners share our vision of working with people, plants and the planet. The investment will help scale operations as we continue to build Vermont as the agricultural hub of nationally distributed CBD oil,” says co-founder and CEO Alejandro Bergad. In 2019, Sunsoil increased its footprint in Vermont by securing additional acreage for farming and production to meet growing demand and enable continued growth through key retailer expansion.
Sunsoil’s proprietary, vertically integrated seed-to-shelf process efficiently produces full spectrum hemp products with an uncompromised focus on quality. The brand’s natural extraction process uses organic coconut oil instead of CO2 or harsh solvents. The efficiencies from its agricultural and natural production practices are passed on to the consumer, evident by Sunsoil’s leading price position in market (price/CBD mg).
The new Sunsoil name honors the natural good that comes from where the sun meets the soil with branding that brings the Vermont landscape to the forefront. “Despite the name transition, our mission remains the same: bring the most good to the most people by increasing the accessibility and availability of CBD. We’re creating better access through a more attainable price-point while not sacrificing quality,” says co-founder Jake Goldstein. Sunsoil’s quality is reaffirmed as it uses three different ISO (International Organization for Standardization) compliant labs for every consumer-facing product, setting a consistent quality standard despite being in a loosely monitored space.
Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain CBD, the leading CBD Oil brand in the Northeast, and number three brand nationally1, is transitioning its name to Sunsoil. The Vermont company is poised to further disrupt the hemp industry with a recent USDA Organic certification for its hemp, and infusion of $7 million in capital secured in late 2018 from strategic partners with a shared vision for the future.
In late January, Sunsoil released a new Cinnamon-flavored CBD Oil tincture with twice the CBD concentration of its existing portfolio, and it is already proving to be the brand’s most successful offering yet. Sunsoil will continue to forge market expansion, most immediately with the introduction of soft gels at the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, CA March 6 – 8, the leading trade show within the natural food and supplement space. Attendees are invited to visit Booth 3593 (Hall D, Supplements Section) for more information about Sunsoil and their products.