Consumer packaged goods companies can’t afford to turn a blind eye to the cannabis industry.

That’s according to Larry Levin, executive v.p. of market and shopper intelligence at IRI. He recently touched on the topic during a Candy Industry webinar, Candy: State of the Industry — which you can watch in full for free OnDemand at after completing a free registration.

“It’s probably the most dynamic change in CPG since K Cups or Greek yogurt became fascinations,” Levin says. “And those, obviously, just dominated one category. Here, we’re talking about a product lineup that is really is almost category agnostic. So it’s going to be phenomenal to watch it.”

IRI itself recently announced a partnership with BDS Analytics, a Colorado company that offers insights into the cannabis industry.

Levin says CBD in general is already making a huge impact.

“I think you’re seeing it in so many different formulations now, that it’s just a matter of time,” he explains. “It is one of the most disruptive categories in general that we’ve seen in CPG in a long time, so it’s coming.”

And consumers across all demographics have been showing interest in CBD products.

“Follow the money and follow the consumer demand,” Levin says. “All generations are seeing benefits to it. It’s fascinating to see the number of Boomers who are buying CBD products — a lot of it for over-the-counter therapy replacement. There’s just a windfall of opportunity across the whole of CPG."

It’s not just CBD, though.

“As more and more states legalize recreational marijuana, the opportunities are going to just expand,” he explains. “More than any other industry, the whole marijuana industry is really set to turn our industry on its side. To me, it’s probably going to make what happened with K Cups seem small.”

He says it will be hard for companies of any size to resist the market segment.

“I think that everybody is going to eventually dip their toe in the water on it,” Levin predicts. “Some of the smaller companies may get in faster… [but] I think everybody has to be looking at it as a potential avenue for new product development, which obviously, down the road, will translate into revenue.”

For more thoughts on the state of the confectionery industry in 2019, be sure to watch the entire webinar online, Candy: State of the Industry. It’s currently available online with a free registration.