By Helen Lee
Flourishing cannabis product sales in Washington have been attracting several companies to this market. Phat Panda and Northwest Cannabis Solutions are two companies that are establishing a strong presence in this market, where medical use has been legal since 1998, and recreational purchases were made available in 2014.
Phat Panda is a top three company with top brands in all three categories – Edibles, Concentrates, and Other marijuana products. Its Hot Sugar brand (9.7%) continues to gain market share in the Washington Edibles market with its marijuana-infused sugar, as well as its sugar candies, and is looking to add marijuana-infused flavored drinks and chocolates to its product line in the near future. Phat Panda’s Sticky Frog brand (14.7%) is currently the leader in the Washington Concentrates market, despite slowed market share growth since last fall. Sticky Frog’s product line includes shatter, cartridges and wax. Under the parent company brand, Phat Panda (9.2%), similar to Sticky Frog has seen slowed market share growth since last summer but still is second only to Ethos Innovates (12.3%) in the Others Category. In this category, the Ethos Innovates line includes topicals and tinctures, categories Phat Panda chooses not to compete in due to the small market sizes. Hot Sugar and Sticky Frog benefit from the strong brand association it has with Phat Panda, a brand that has established the trust of Washington marijuana users for high-quality products.
Although its presence is not as strong as that of Phat Panda, Northwest Cannabis Solutions’s (NWCS) brands compete in the top 5 in each of the three marijuana product categories. Its brand Magic Kitchens (18.5%) holds a commanding share in the Edibles market with the next closest brand being Evergreen Herbal (10.5%). The Magic Kitchen brand includes baked goods, chocolates, and sugar candy, while the Evergreen Herbal brand competes in this category with drinks and chocolates. It is the Washington distributer for VCC brands including Cannabis Quencher (Drinks) and the 4.20 Bar (Chocolates). In the Concentrates category, NWCS’s EZ Vape (3.2%) brand offers single use vape cartridges, which has seen a decline in the past year but maintains the fifth spot in the Washington market. Loss in market share is likely due to the dominance of Phat Panda in this category. In the Other category, NWCS’s (4.6%) market share is beginning to stabilize and is positioned as the fourth largest brand in this category in terms of market share. NWCS competes in this category through its Private Reserve, Legends, and Mini Budz brands which offer flowers and pre-rolled joints.
Both Phat Panda and NWCS, two of the largest producers of marijuana in the state, strongly believe in investing back into operations to improve processes and production methods. As their reputations for high-quality marijuana products continue to be reinforced, new products they introduce will only benefit from their well-established brands. Building strong brands is important to remain competitive in an industry that is constantly changing with new laws.