A study examined perceptions from a sample of Vermont consumers and found that although hemp awareness is high, the use of hemp products is less prevalent. Previous evidence-based research on consumer behavior towards hemp showed that Vermonters are supportive of hemp production and familiar with a wide variety of hemp-based products. However, this study showed a significant gap between awareness and intent to adopt hemp products.
The study found that consumers in the sample were aware of an average of 5.6 types of hemp-based products. Roughly 70% of 398 consumers in the sample were aware of at least five types of hemp-based products. Approximately 50% of the participants did not intend to use any hemp product categories. The consumers were mainly familiar with CBD (95%), but many were aware of hemp fabric and clothing (91%), hemp rope (89%), and hemp personal care products (81%). Many were not aware of hemp plastic uses (only 37% were familiar with this form of hemp use). Some were unaware of hemp's potential as a building, insulation, or construction material.
Consumers indicated that they were more inclined to try CBD (39.1%), personal care products (31.5%), and food products (27.7%). The study indicated that older adults were more likely to use CBD, but younger adults were more likely to use multiple hemp products, including skincare and topical creams.
The findings offer helpful insights for hemp operators seeking to design effective marketing and communication strategies for hemp products. This study is one of the first to provide critical insights into consumer behavior. As scientists discover new methods to optimize hemp cultivars, consumers can expect more innovative hemp products. The researchers believe higher perceived relative advantages associated with hemp products will continue to contribute to increase in total products used.