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Meet mellow - the marketplace transforming the CBD sector in the UK & beyond

Date: June 16, 2021

Category: Industry news


Author: Guest author

The world of CBD is moving fast and far. As CBD products start to make it into the mainstream, the need for quality, transparency and traceability is more pressing than ever. 

What is CBD?

For those not yet in the know, CBD stands for Cannabidiol and is one of many naturally occurring cannabinoids nestling inside the Cannabis Sativa plant. These include THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD isn’t addictive or psychoactive – it won’t get you “high”. But it does have an array of purported health benefits from reducing anxiety to managing pain.

A high-potential yet unregulated market

CBD is big business now.

In 2019, the UK’s CBD market reached £300 million, and this figure looks set to triple in the next five years. But somewhat surprisingly, a safe, transparent framework for CBD consumers (and brands) has been slow to follow. Current legislation and regulations are vague at best and sometimes plain confusing – leaving this burgeoning wellness field wide open. 

In 2019, PhytoVista, a UK market leader in CBD testing, completed an independent blind test of consumer CBD products involving 30 major retail CBD oil brands. The results were underwhelming to say the least.

  • 45% of the oils contained THC, averaging at 0.04%, making them illegal in the UK
  • Only 38% of the products were within 10% of the CBD levels declared on the label, and 38% had less than 50% of the advertised CBD content
  • One product had 0% CBD

Curating premium CBD 

Even before the UK Food Standards Agency started requiring companies to submit a valid novel food authorisation application for all edible CBD products – which will go some way to filling this void – two British marketplace tech-preneurs were already raking their brains. How could they offer customers the benefits of high-quality CBD and full peace of mind in the absence of wide-reaching national or international regulations?

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Neil Tunbridge and James Storie-Pugh launched mellow – the UK’s marketplace for global hemp and CBD wellness brands. The stringent selection criteria, including mandatory third-party lab reports, mean that mellow is fast gaining a reputation as a trusted (and trustworthy) destination for consumers to buy CBD and hemp from a curated selection of brands.

Trust is critical for us, as is supplier credibility and traceability. This is why we curate the seller selection on our marketplace to guarantee products are of the highest quality and so customers feel confident buying from us,”

 

Neil Tunbridge, co-founder of mellow

Growing in the right direction together

The duo didn’t stop there. They wanted to do more to help brands draw on the tantalising growth opportunities in the UK and EU – with transparency and quality never far from their mind. So, in 2020, they set up a complementary B2B service, Grow by mellow. The tiered structure offers diverse e-commerce services - including leveraging bespoke backend technology and frontend design, building and operating services - for brands wanting a new UK/EU eCommerce site. Not to mention warehousing and operations, brand management, marketing and sales functions. 

By offering a full package, all our CBD brands need to worry about is producing high-quality CBD. We only pick brands that make the cut when it comes to quality and fully comply with CBD rules and regulations in the UK and EU markets. This “stamp of approval” is advantageous for both anxious consumers and ambitious brands.”

 

James Storie-Pugh, co-founder of mellow

Powered by partnerships

mellow isn’t achieving this kind of transparency all on its own. By partnering with detected, mellows verifies its entire seller community and automatically monitors changes to their business credentials. Every mellow listing includes the detected icon. If customers click on this internationally recognised mark of trust, they have immediate access to the seller’s real-time business credentials. 

Our seller verification processes are robust, however detected elevates these capabilities even higher by enabling our customers to quickly and conveniently assess a seller’s trustworthiness themselves. This visibility and automation enable us to concentrate on scaling our business rather than spending days on manually onboarding every month.”

 

Neil Tunbridge, co-founder of mellow

mellow is also focusing on bringing some structure  to product data  to what it’s doing in the marketplace sector by ensuring all onboarded brands are using GS1 GTINs (EANs or UPC)wherever possible. GTINs allows customers to find the products they are looking for more easily, increasing the likelihood of relevant searches leading to purchases.

“With such a nascent industry and brands that are new to market, it is important that the customer has access to as much product and brand information as possible and this is one of the main reasons why mellow is partnering with GS1.”

 

James Storie-Pugh, co-founder of mellow

As more and more customers turn to the natural benefits CBD can offer, mellow’s ambition remains unchanged: bring transparency, choice and quality to shape a more transparent future for the market in the UK and beyond.