Episode 107 – 2021: Awards, New Brands, New Products



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Joe: On this episode with "CPG and CBD University Podcast," that's a wrap. We're looking back at 2021 in CBD and health and wellness, new products, new brands, emerging trends, everything that we brought you in the past year, on our last episode of the year. This is the "CPG and CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG and CBD University Podcast." The warmest of holiday greetings to you and your family. If you're a returning listener, welcome back. And if you're a new listener, it's a great time to join us as we recap everything that was 2021. Hit that subscribe button, wherever you get your podcast and get notifications of new episodes each week.

New products, new brands, emerging trends, we saw a little bit of everything in 2021, the old and the new in CBD and health and wellness. And joining me as we look back on the past year from our in-house brands and contract manufacturing division, Senior Content Manager, Charlie O'Brien, Quality Manager, Nelson Rodriguez, Business Development Manager, Mac Norton. Merry Christmas, happy new year, welcome back to the podcast, all three of you.

Nelson: Thank you.

Mac: Thanks, Joe.

Joe: First time ever together. And let's talk new products and some award-winning products. And, of course, our podcast won an award too, just a cheap plug there. From our in-house iconic CBD Brand Hemp Bombs, first, Charlie, we'll start with you. Lots of new products on the Hemp Bomb side this year.

Charlie: Yeah, definitely. You know, we already had our customer favorite varieties of gummies, the original, high potency, and sleep. But we took our premium CBD and added some other great ingredients to give our customers even more variety and, you know, just even more health and wellness benefits.

So, this year we launched our immunity gummies, those include, Elderberry Extract for immune system support. Our Botanical Blend gummies, those include a proprietary blend of botanical ingredients, like Passiflora, Scutellaria, and L-Theanine. And then, we also launched the Boswellia gummies, and those include Boswellia Extract, which helps with joint support and flexibility. And as you also mentioned, we launched our CBD Sleep Capsules. So similar to the CBD gummies that we have, CBD Sleep gummies that is, those combine CBD along with some melatonin, the natural sleep aid, to help people get a longer nights' rest, fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, which we can all probably use around this time of the year.

Joe: And we'll get into it later, but some of us could probably use a little more sleep these days than others. We'll move to that a little later on. But first, everything he mentioned, melatonin and all the functional ingredients, big trend in 2021, Nelson, right? With all the functional ingredients?

Nelson: Yeah. A lot of new ingredients, I mean, but I think we all agree that melatonin is pretty common these days. Of course, it helps with, adding a little bit to what Charlie said, helps with insomnia and other stuff like jet lag. For example, a lot of people use it for jet lagging purposes. Elderberry, it actually...there's some papers out there proving that it helps to reduce the common cold, like, specifically the symptoms. So that's something very interesting, and this is actually peer-reviewed papers. L-Theanine helps with depression, anxiety, and actually improves some cognitive support in some cases. What else? You actually mentioned Boswellia. Boswellia actually promotes an enzyme that is actually an inhibitor for inflammatory diseases and other stuff. So, I'm actually impressed that you mentioned that. And Scutellaria, of course, that, it actually enhances mood, and it has other energy and other mood stuff in there. So, yeah, everything you mentioned, actually, there's some peer-reviewed papers out there that actually prove that this thing works, so.

Joe: And Mac with gummies as the top delivery method, and we've discussed this on previous episodes, but those functional ingredients, very key in helping expand brands, and brands bring in new products, something you've worked with a lot of, in your division.

Mac: Yeah, all the time. I mean, you know, Charlie and Nelson mentioned it, you know, they hit the nail on the head. I think, you know, one thing I like to do is I go to the grocery store a lot, you know, Publix, Costco, anywhere, and if you look at the vitamin section, it just explodes with all these gummy brands, right. Scutellaria, Passiflora, you know, Boswellia, these are ingredients that not many people knew about as the year started, right? So, I think what a lot of contract manufacturing companies are focusing on is saying, "Hey, you know, what is it that consumers are interested in, you know?" And the pandemic coupled with just more consumer insights and understanding about functionality of certain ingredients, right? So, what companies do, is they come to us and they say, "Hey, we have consumers that have talked to us about X, Y, and Z gummies," right? Oftentimes, we've already got these great brands that are in-house, that we've launched, so we have really good expertise with these formulas, but no doubt. I mean, I think there's a heightened consumer focus on functionality of ingredients, and this goes way past just CBD. It goes into L-Theanine and other dietary ingredients that you mentioned. And for us, it's really about trying to incorporate those in a way that's meaningful for our clients, in a way that tastes great too, because, obviously, that's what a gummy product is about.

So a lot of driving new formulations in '21 and, certainly, 2022, and really exciting for us. And as we continue to launch the in-house brands and contract manufacturing, we couldn't be busier on that side of the business. So, it's been great fun.

Joe: And speaking of [inaudible 00:05:52], you think he'd be on the podcast before, and maybe even in a couple of posters that he'd use [crosstalk 00:05:57]

Mac: Well, I knew Nelson was a doctor. I mean, Nelson's actually my doctor, I'm going to steal his peer-reviewed papers, like, a bit of a boss. Well, actually, I might...

Nelson: You mentioned a really good point. And I bring something else that some ingredients, they have synergistic effects.

Mac: Yeah, it's true.

Nelson: We have some products that have, for example, melatonin and L-Theanine, right? It's not just one product with melatonin, just one product with L-Theanine. We have some products that have, like, synergistic effect with synergistic active ingredients. So I don't know if that makes sense.

Joe: No, absolutely working together, rather than the separate products.

Mac: Yes, sir.

Joe: And, thank you. And Charlie, as, Mac mentioned, you know, speaking of expanding brand something we did throughout 2021, and as a Senior Content Manager, you get to work on all the new websites, when something new comes out, obviously, they be in new in-house brands and our recent partnership we launched with, Tony Little. Talk a little about that.

Charlie: Yeah, absolutely. In our marketing department, we've been very, very busy the last year, that's for sure. Just to rattle off some numbers, we've launched nine new brands this year, you know, including websites and everything that goes along with that. That's highlighted by Mystic Labs, our premium Delta Eight Brand. Hyper Brain IQ, which is where we're offering, nootropic-focused gummies and capsules. Forever Well, like you mentioned, that's our health and wellness brand that we launched in partnership with Tony Little, America's personal trainer. And we've also got a few more brands in the works, that we expect to launch in the coming months.

So, in total we've launched roughly 122 new products, I think that was the last count. And we've backed that up with a massive marketing effort across all of the different departments, you know, within our overall marketing team. That's including about 1.5 million emails every month that we're sending out to our various customer newsletters, nearly 200 videos that we've produced entirely in-house, you know, a wide variety of branding and creative content pieces, you know, that's everything from blog posts, informational articles, infographics, you name it. So, you know, everyone on our team has been very busy, really putting out some great stuff and more to come.

Joe: And, in addition to podcast episodes, you can see all the educational resources across our family of brands' websites, under the learn button where you'll find those great blogs and other content that Charlie talked about.

Nelson, as the quality manager, when there's 122 new products and a host of new brands, that's it, you're in right from the start, because you gotta cope with all this stuff. So favorite new product or brand that you worked on this year?

Nelson: So, I think I'll go with Hyper Brand to be honest. Because, not only I was a part of the formulation process of that product, which was not easy to make, seeing it from basically like a concept in the lab, like, an idea to, like, marketing and the stuff you guys do, and then you go do your thing, it's kind of, like, I mean it not only takes just a formulator, just a lab, and then just how to put active ingredients into just one gummy and sell it, you see what everybody does. It's everybody in the company it takes to make a product successful, right?

So I think Hyper Brand is my favorite one because it goes with almost everything I do. Like I'm a gamer myself, so...I mean, even when I'm driving back home, for example, if I'm feeling like a little bit, you know, I'm crashing, then I just get some Hyper Brand in me and then...and with gaming, like for example, the games that I play, they're pretty fast-paced, so if I'm losing, I just eat a Hyper Brand and start winning.

Mac: Does this raise the tide when you do that? I mean, you talked about...okay.

Nelson: You can definitely feel it, right, because it has caffeine in there. So you can definitely feel that, like, when the caffeine hits you. But it has other stuff in there that helps you with, basically, like reflexes and cognitive function. So you can actually feel it. Like, for example, you're playing and you eat a Hyper Brand, or you eat the dose, which is two gummies, right? Start playing and then you can feel it when it kicks in. And you're like, "Oh, I'm in, I'm in." It's pretty fun.

Joe: So, Mac speaking of ingredients and trends at the end of 2020, it seems the industry started to make a shift in different cannabinoids. And just on a past episode with the Vice President of sales, Vince Gillen, went into detail with this, episode 105, in addition to the cannabinoids also ingredients in gummies. What did you see throughout 2021 and now as we head into 2022?

Mac: Sure. Yeah, I mean, I think what we saw was more focus on the elements of functionality, right, for gummy products. What was interesting to me is that, you know, we have all these inroads of the business, so we looked at, you know, the gummy products and says "Hey, this is only a CBD gummy, right? What can we add to that CBD gummy to increase the elements of the functionality?" So, I think the most interesting thing for us was putting in L-Theanine, putting in melatonin, and putting in apple cider vinegar. And I think that as we focus into 2022 more in dietary supplement space, right, like, what can we achieve out of a gummy that's nootropic-focused or energy-focused? And the sky is the limit. Yeah. Instead of just [crosstalk 00:10:52]

Nelson: [crosstalk 00:10:53] we can incorporate even, I mean, let's say energy, for example, apple vinegar. I mean, there's so many active ingredients out there that you can put in a gummy, right. Of course, it's not easy, right. But to bring more to what you were saying, basically, it all...like, you said, sky is the limit, right? It's all creativity. So, it's all what we want to create or maybe what the customer wants, right? So I think that's what separates us from almost every other contract manufacturing facility.

Mac: Yeah, for sure.

Nelson: It's that we can actually make really custom formulas, by adding certain active ingredients that a lot of people are not adding together or they never thought that could go together, right. It's not an easy process, to be honest, because you know, active ingredients, they react differently when they're together in a gummy. So I don't know if that makes sense.

Mac: No, I think we employ, you know, different methods too. I mean, I think from a feasibility perspective, there are a lot of bitter masters and things we can use in formulating that have proven to be really effective, right? You know, I mean, you want the product to taste good, but I think at the end of the day, it's about making sure that that happens. When we deal with these really tricky actives and we're like, "Okay, you know, if we're gonna put something that's a little bit more bitter, like for instance, ashwagandha into a gummy, you know, what kind of tactics can we employ?" Right.

And I think, you know, what Charlie mentioned, it's a really important thing. It's like we have these brands that are in...we pay these massive inroads into the business. We're, you know, developing these brands in-house, thinking, "Okay, you know, we have good research on Boswellia, we have research on Scutellaria, how can we employ that on the contract manufacturing side too?" And look at these ingredients, and say, "Okay, you know, by using these bitter masters and finding new ways to make things taste great." And I think you're right, I mean, the sky's the limit when you have all these inroads in the business, not just one angle for us to be able to achieve some cool formulations, so.

Joe: Well, it's certainly been an exciting and fun year of growth here around the company and in the industry as we've won a number of awards for many of the new products we've talked about. And then, obviously, as we talked about the expansion of our contract manufacturing division, and we have centered our Gummy Central Series around our formulation team, and we'll continue with that into 2022. But to wrap things up, let's get out of work, not literally just yet. But New Year's resolution for 2022, and I alluded to it earlier, but also a big year for our Senior Content Manager, a first-time father earlier this year.

Together: Oh, wow congratulations.

Charlie: Yeah. So my, New Year's resolution will probably try to get a little bit of sleep, if possible. My wife gave birth to our first daughter back in November. So, a few sleepless nights around our household lately, but yeah, that's where some of those, you know, sleep capsules and other melatonin products are gonna come in handy, for sure.

Joe: Way to plug in the products right into the new year's resolution, I love it.

Mac: That's when you know, the product actually works, when you actually use it.

Charlie: That's right.

Mac: And, I mean, I'm really proud that we use our own product in here. And that, you don't see that a lot in other companies, so.

Nelson: That's true, yeah.

Joe: New Year's resolution, Nelson.

Nelson: I have a lot of New Year's resolutions. Let's start with gaming less, maybe. And start focusing on other stuff that might be more important, like building more relationship with people, not isolating myself, you know, just gaming. I mean, I'm pretty glad I met all you guys here, including you, Joe, I mean, you know, we hang out sometimes and I really enjoy it. So, you know, I think, invest more in relationships, basically, I think will be my New Year resolution.

Joe: I believe we have a house or something in the future, if I [crosstalk 00:14:16]

Mac: Yeah. I mean, don't jinx it yet. Yeah.

Joe: No, I don't wanna jinx the house.

Mac: Yeah. No, no, that's definitely a goal of mine. But, yeah, if that happens, it's near water, which I'm really excited about, you know. I grew up outside a lot as a kid, so I think for me, outside, you know, spending more time fishing, I wanna get into fly fishing more this summer. So I've not fly fished before, I have no idea how to do it, but there's a first for...

Nelson: Oh, take me, I've really done anything...

Mac: ...everything. Oh, I know, right? It should be tons of fun. I've got some people I know that are into it. So we'll see. I mean, you know.

Joe: I'm ready for a podcast episode on the road.

Mac: That's a pretty good idea, yeah.

Joe: All right, maybe that'll be it, that's the New Year's resolution. We'll get the podcast out of the studio on the road for 2022, somewhere in the middle of the Gulf.

Nelson: Let's do it.

Mac: I like it.

Joe: See how it rolls.

Nelson: Get some drones, you know...

Joe: There you go.

Mac: That's where you can come out and play.

Joe: Yeah.

Mac: We need some Hyper Brand gummies to focus us.

Joe: Well, thank you all for joining me as we wrap up 2021 and look ahead to 2022, we hope you enjoyed our podcast as it evolved throughout the year. Of course, named the podcast of the year by "PR Daily." And hopefully, we can add some more award-winning products, and maybe have the podcast win a couple of awards as we head into 2022. On behalf of everyone here at Global Widget, thank you for your continued support of our podcast and everything we do here in crafting and manufacturing quality products each and every day.

We surpassed the 100 episode mark this year on the podcast and are now closing in on 200,000 downloads. So we thank you for your support of the podcast. And from all of us here at Global Widget, we wish you and your family a safe and happy new year. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG and CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

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