Wellness and well-being – both physical and mental – are topics very dear to the heart of Ben Hamburger, CEO at Sana Lifestyle. After a career that began in the intense world of M&A Advisory, Ben has seen more than one co-worker suffer, “I’ve heard colleagues describe that industry as one of the most miserable ways to earn a living. And life is too short not to wake up looking forward to the day ahead.” Describing himself as having an entrepreneurial spirit ‘since forever’, Ben founded Sana Lifestyle to help consumers more knowledgably navigate the sometimes complex world of Cannabidiol (CBD).
As part of building the business, Ben has brought together a senior leadership team with experience across multiple disciplines and categories. “We know wellness is very closely linked with health & beauty, so we know that market intimately. We appreciate that technology is crucial to our success, so we have best-in-class infrastructure behind us to make sure that we can deliver the right products to customers every single time. We know CBD, we understand the opportunity – and we are working in partnership with our key customers to help them maximise the category in-store and with shoppers.”
Looking ahead it is clear that Ben’s long-term vision, and passionate belief in the potential of CBD to help a wide range of consumers, will drive Sana Lifestyle on to greater success, “We love this space”, concludes Ben. “Taking responsibility for your personal wellness is increasingly important to consumers, and we truly believe our mission is to help people do that responsibly, safely and conveniently.”
What is Sana Lifestyle?
Sana Lifestyle is the UK’s premier distributor of Cannabidiol (CBD) and plant-based wellness products across health, beauty and dermatology.
What does it do, and how long has it been doing it? Who are the founders? What are their backgrounds and expertise?
Based in London, Sana Lifestyle was founded in 2019 by BBC Junior Apprentice winner Arjun Rajyagor and his former Boston Consulting Group colleague Ben Hamburger. Offering a range of trusted brands in this emerging sector, Sana Lifestyle’s mission is to provide its partners and clients with a full-service solution, from manufacturing through to regulation management and all the way to the point of purchase. The business provides complete transparency and supports those looking to navigate a complex industry.
Why is CBD such a fast-growing area in grocery?
For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has been one of the most diverse, effective and versatile tools in a physician’s bag. However, early 20th century regulations restricted not only the sale and usage of the illicit variety, but also fundamentally ceased research and development of the non-psychoactive male plant, or Hemp plant.
As the restrictions have eased in recent years, consumers are becoming more and more aware of the broader benefits of the Hemp plant, specifically regarding sleep, anxiety and muscle recovery. The high levels of CBD in Hemp have been shown to have broad efficaciousness across many physiological functions.
Across retail in general, more interested and better-informed consumers have driven awareness of CBD, whilst high consumer demand for natural, plant-based wellness has also emerged in the last two years particularly.
What type of products are in biggest demand?
In the UK, the most popular products today are simple tinctures. These contain CBD mixed with a carrier oil and are taken as drops under the tongue, but there has also been a recent increase in topical skincare products.
At Sana Lifestyle, we independently test every single batch of every single product, and are happy to share this data with our retailers.
With so many products already on shelves, is there a big variation in quality?
Yes, ingredients vary widely in quality, also there are many products that simply do not contain what they report to contain. At Sana Lifestyle, we are committed to ensuring that our customers and consumers have the best possible information and testing to give them maximum confidence in our brands.
Why does this quality vary so significantly?
Put simply, all CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, and every plant is subject to a wide range of growing conditions. This diversity of environments leads to both differences in the CBD extracted and its quality. Of particular concern are US-registered products making their way to UK shelves with higher than legally permitted THC psychoactive content. This is why Sana Lifestyle tests our partner brands so robustly to maximise both shopper and customer trust in the category.
What impact does that have on the potential benefits for consumers?
Untested products can massively impact product performance, as can false product claims. We’ve seen products which claim 100% bioavailability, but this would only be possible with a direct injection into the bloodstream.
It’s a complex category and early adopters have done a lot of their own research and are really well-informed. Our mission is to ensure we make it easy for retailers to identify and list legitimate brands that consumers can trust and feel secure using.
For this reason, we welcome the increase in regulation that we are about to see in 2021, including the implementation of the latest Novel Foods regulations from March this year.