Episode 16: Formulating Our Products with Your Safety in Mind

CBD Podcast Episode 16

Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," A squared plus B squared equals C squared. We are talking formulas and how do we come up with the formulas for our hemp-derived CBD products. My guest will take you through the process and with our first new products of 2020 already out and more coming very soon are about the creation of new products and maybe a hint or two of what's coming next for you. This is the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." If you are a returning listener, thanks once again for tuning in. If you are a new listener, we're glad you found us on your favorite podcast app of choice and a reminder to hit the subscribe button on whatever app you're using and you'll get notifications of new episodes each week when they are published. And you can also see full video episodes of our podcast on the Global Widget YouTube channel and on the YouTube channel of our brands. And speaking of our brands, each of our products is crafted with your safety and well-being in mind. My two guests today are part of the entire process from the first time we think of a new product and we'll talk about how we come up with new products to the time the product hits the shelves and then beyond. I welcome back to the podcast, Sara Brown, research and development specialist. Michael Torti is our food chemist. Thanks for joining me, guys and welcome back to the podcast.

Michael: And thanks for having us.

Sara: It's good to be back.

Joe: And first off for Sara, a wide range of products that we have across our brands, each of this product has its own special formula formulation, correct?

Sara: Correct. Each product has its very own special formula, which the ingredients were chosen to make sure that each product was made very safe and can be sold to you knowing that you're going to be consuming something that you don't have to worry about.

Joe: And then, what goes into their process to find that right formulation?

Sara: I mean, it depends on the products. A lot of the time we have to find ingredients that we think will fit pricing-wise, that fit the formula for the needs that...you know, the need in that formula. A lot of times you have to formulate also to our equipment to make sure that it can be processed properly with what we have in order to make it. So, a lot of things like that.

Joe: And then Michael, how early in the formulation process do you come into play?

Michael: Yeah. Pretty much from the start. We'll get together with sales or brand marketing or someone like that and if they want to pitch an idea or just have a creative brainstorming session, we can kind of jump in and determine the viability and feasibility of a product. You know, looking at if there's any supply chain constraints for certain ingredients they wanna use, we can get pricing on the ingredients and we can see if it's from a fit from an economic standpoint as well as a feasibility and functionality standpoint. And also able to provide timing for the project to determine when we can get something launched into market.

Joe: And Sara, is there a typical time as we talk about that process from the first time the idea comes up to when it's launched?

Sara: Yeah. I mean, usually, the process comes in...you come up with an idea, spend some time formulating it, messing around with different ingredients and things like that. You end up with a final formula and then you got to put it on stability to find out how long your shelf life is going to be. So, that could really take anywhere from six months to a year or even longer depending upon what you're working on.

Joe: When we talk about new product ideas, and Michael, where do we get new product ideas from and how does a product go from an idea to a real living thing that a consumer can buy?

Michael: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, getting consumer feedback is always very valuable and a lot of times it's fairly inexpensive too. You know, you can also do consumer focus groups and focus studies, which can be a little bit more expensive but that can really give you great information. Even suppliers, they can come in and pitch ideas where they see market trends going or where the industry is going. And then trade shows as well is another great resource. Things like IFT, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo. So, those are really where we, you know, get ideas from and we can kind of start from there to build something out.

Joe: And then once we build that something out and have it ready to go to market, is there a certain amount of something we have to make before it's, hey you know, let's go to market with this new product.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. You know, typically look at pilot studies and see if it's feasible to produce on our equipment or if we need to use a contract manufacturer. And then, you know, we can do even do sellable pilots, so we can manufacture something that's intended for human consumption and it has all the proper testing. And then we can go to a trade show, hand out samples to distributors or wholesalers or even end consumers and gain their feedback and determine if this is something that we want to go to market with or something that we should take another step back and maybe tweak it. So, that's very valuable to gain information there that can allow us to have the correct product launch in terms of our volumes and our strategy.

Joe: So, not here of course, but have either of you ever heard of an idea and what's, I mean, maybe what's like maybe the worst idea for a product you've ever heard of?

Michael: That's a good question. I mean, there have definitely been a few that don't work, you know, I'm struggling to think of any specific ones now. But you know, oftentimes we'll get pitched things and it's just not something that can be manufactured properly. That doesn't fit, you know, what we can do. And then it's kind of having to explain that to someone who isn't a technical person like why we can't, you know, do this. So, that's a big part of our job too, is learning to say, you know, "No, this isn't possible," delivering bad news sometimes and kind of putting that into a non-technical jargon and language, you know.

Joe: Sara, anything on your side.

Sara: I mean, my favorite product that I've seen on the market was like, I think fabric that was supposed to be infused with CBD, which I found fascinating because a lot of times you see products out there that are CBD-infused or whatever, but you look at it logically and you're like, "Well, that's not really possible with how things work." So, I find that pretty interesting and a lot of times people come to you and be like, "Oh, I wanna make that, I've seen that on the marketplace." And you have to, like Mike said, you have to tell them, "Well, that's not really a thing that's possible," or it's something that you may not necessarily want to do. So, yeah.

Joe: It's like our own miniversion of "Shark Tank."

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Joe: You've seen the TV show? Yeah. So, whether a product is new, and we touched on this a little bit in the first question, but whether it's new or an existing product, can formulations change during the life of a product and why?

Sara: The most common thing that will change a formula while it's already been on the market is if we needed to react to maybe customer complaints, we needed to make an improvement, make it more stable over time, find a way to make the production better on it. A lot of the times we usually make improvements in the formula just to improve the overall product.

Joe: And then Michael, let's talk about edibles and even topicals. When we talk about a product that's already out there, we can introduce new flavors and...

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Joe: ...do I mention maybe seasonal flavors? Maybe we'll have more on that on a future podcast episode, but what goes into before, hey, let's add a new flavor or this or that.

Michael: That's certainly something that we can do and I've done in the past. And really flavor companies that you work with can really provide good data in terms of trends and what's popular, gonna be popular this year for the holiday season or over the summer. And you know, working in the health and wellness space, in the nutrition space, you can keep your key active ingredients the same and then just play around with using different flavors, using different natural colorings, different sweeteners, things like that to put out, you know, a seasonal type product, whether it's a fall type product or a holiday type product. So, that's something that's you know, something that's very doable and usually something that can happen pretty quickly.

Joe: So, for example, like last year to our oils, I believe it was, we added a couple new flavors. How long does it take to, if we want to, you know, if a customer came up with an idea, "Hey, let's add this flavor of oil." How long would it take, if it's feasible and if it's something we end up doing, before that new flavor actually hits the market?

Michael: Probably six months, give or take. That's something where we would reach out to flavor houses, give them a project bid, and then they would come back to us with flavors and we would test the flavors on our base formula and get different input and then determine, you know, the flavor trend and the specific flavor we want to go with via maybe consumer studies or taste testing. And then like Sara has mentioned you know, we would do stability studies to make sure that that flavor can hold up for at least one year. Give it a one-year shelf life in that product matrix and then you produce. And once, you know, testing is done and things are shipped out to warehouses, yeah, you're probably looking at six months, but you know, that's a project that's, yeah, like I said, very doable. It's just sometimes, you know, you're waiting for ingredient lead times and ingredient testing and stability. It's gotta be in there for a couple of months. So, there's a few key things we need to do. And they can just be a little bit time-consuming. But it's something that as a company, it's not a huge undertaking.

Joe: And then Sara, just wanted to get back as we talked about, I mean, obviously we can have flavors. We talked about in the previous question, formulations may be changing over the time and, you know, one of our most recent changes came in the formulation change for our CBD capsules. What's in the capsules now and how does it benefit our customers?

Sara: So, we made the improvements to the capsules. We added something called microcrystalline cellulose, which is just helping with the production of the capsules as well as it's keeping it more stable throughout shipping. It also includes obviously, you know, the CBD, we have put some GABA, L-theanine, and we've got calcium, magnesium in there. Just some extra added nutrients to help, you know, just with your regular daily intake of things. The GABA and the L-theanine are there to help, you know, keep you clearheaded and calm, they're just extra added supplements. But really just the overall formula has improved greatly for our production purposes, but not only, it's also improved its ability for shipping and transit. It's more stable with temperature changes and humidity, so it stands up better to different environmental changes. So, overall, it's just become a much better product.

Joe: And for example, we talked about listening to customer feedback that comes in direct response to receiving problems that customers were having because of the changes in temperatures across the country and seasons.

Sara: Right. We had a few capsules that have a little breakage problem with the gelatin capsules. So, these changes that we've made have decreased the chances of any kind of problems during shipping.

Joe: So, we talked about some of our newest products, lotion, on the topical side, lotion and heat spray are the most recent ones. Any hints as to what folks should be on the lookout for next without spilling the beans too much?

Michael: We're looking into the food and supplements space, so more on the ingestible side of things. So, you know, that's most of what I can say that I'd be on the lookout for. Yeah, it may be some potential supplements and food type products containing CBD of course with other, you know, healthy nutrients and key active ingredients as well.

Joe: And you can always follow us across our social media networks and sign up for our email newsletters to be among the first of getting the alerts when there are new products available for consumers. And then also other industry news and trends and keep a check here on the podcast and we'll let you know when we are rolling out new products. So, I want to thank both of my guests for joining me today, Sara Brown and Michael Torti. Good job as always, podcast number two for each of you guys in the book. So, I thank you guys for your time and taking time out of your busy day. And as we continue to roll out new products, I'm sure you'll both be back on a future episode.

Sara: Awesome.

Michael: We'll be here. Sounds great. Thanks, Joe.

Joe: And just a reminder to follow all of our brands on social media to see when new products are released. We'll be featuring some of those products on upcoming podcasts. If you haven't done so already, subscribe to our podcast on your favorite platform of choice. We're on all the national platforms now and more coming soon. Look for us as soon on a couple additional platforms, but our newest platform, we are proud to be a part of the iHeartRadio family and the number one app for podcasts in addition to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and a host of others. So, hit the subscribe button and you'll get notifications when new podcasts are released each week. And a reminder, you can, as I mentioned on the intro, always find full video episodes of our podcast on our YouTube channel and you can also subscribe on there to get a notification when new episodes are uploaded each week. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This podcast is not attended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.