Episode 109 – Gummy Central®: Trending Functional Ingredients

 

 

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Joe: On this episode of the CPG & CBD University podcast, it's our first Gummy Central series episode of the new year. We're talking ingredients, and what are some of the trending ingredients you may start seeing in gummies and other products in 2022. This is the CPG & CBD University podcast, and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the CPG & CBD University podcast, and on behalf of everyone here at Global Widget, we wish you a Happy New Year. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button, wherever you get your podcast, so you get notifications of new episodes each week. And don't forget, you can catch full video episodes of our podcasts on YouTube.

Well, it's that time of year where everyone has their health and wellness in mind with those New Year's resolutions, if you haven't broken them already. So to help me go through some of the latest trends in ingredients for gummies, our Technical Services Manager, Michael Diaz, and one of our formulators, Zach Burrell, welcome back to the podcast, both of you, and Happy New Year.

Michael: Happy New Year.

Zach: Happy New Year to you, as well.

Michael: And thank you.

Joe: So, before we get ahead to what lies ahead in the, you know, next 12 months of 2022, let's look back at the past year. What were some of the more functional ingredients we started hearing more and more of and seeing in our products in 2021?

Michael: Oh, well, we saw a lot of L-theanine. I mean, that was one of those...well, it helps you calm, but it also helps you focus, as well. We've coupled it in a lot of them that have a lot of nootropics in it. It's one of those popular buzzwords that are coming out right now. Again, a lot of studies have been put into it, and it seems to be very effective. So I like it.

Zach: Yeah, if you like tea, you like L-theanine.

Michael: Yeah, that's right.

Joe: There you go.

Michael: Exactly.

Joel: And that's green tea, correct? Or is it...

Zach: It's just tea, yeah.

Joe: Just regular tea?

Zach: Yep.

Joe: So, now, as we head into 2022, what are some of the other functional ingredients people start hearing more and more of, and maybe some of the stuff you're starting to practice run, you know, on the gummies?

Michael: Yeah, I mean, some of the ones I'm seeing right now have a lot of ashwagandha. It's a old, old extract, but it's been used in a lot of things for stress, but it also helps a little bit of work performance. It has a wide variety of things that it can do. But it's kind of an interesting one because, like, again, it's been an age-old one that they've used in a lot of studies, again, just like the L-theanine we mentioned ago. They have these effects that help you do...it's kinda cool, though, how it ranges, because we have it some in our more relaxing ones that help you kinda calm. And also, though, for ones that help you, kinda, with anti-stress and things of that nature. So it's kind of an interesting product. Again, it's a little one that just keeps popping up on projects here, left and right.

Joe: [crosstalk 00:03:08]

Michael: I love it, man. I mean, it's one of those things that...it's funny, because it provides some difficulties when we make the gummies, but as far as the use and stuff like that, you know, it's an effective thing. So it's pretty fun to put it in our gummies now.

Joe: Do you remember, like, the first time you added a certain functional ingredient into a gummy? You know, what...

Zach: I remember the first time we used ashwagandha, I thought it was a mushroom. So I was like, "We're making mushroom gummies?" But no, it's a root, and it was all cool. But, yeah, things like boswellia too. That's another popular one coming up. It has the sort of, like, anti-inflammatory sort of effects. Got the black seed oil. Speaking of age-old ingredients, I mean, black seed oil was a big thing last year as well. We did a couple of gummies with that. I think that was...it almost has religious ties, right? Like the, kinda, like, full healing and that...

Michael: Yeah, I've heard some of those things.

Zach: [inaudible 00:04:02] with that one, too. [inaudible 00:04:04].

Michael: And valerian root's another one, too, and that's coming up more a little bit, that we're seeing. And that's more for helping insomnia, actually. It's been proven to help people who have, you know, had a little bit too...who just can't go to sleep. It helps them relax a little bit and it kinda drifts into the night. And, again, another age-old thing that's kinda cool, to see all these things from the past kinda go into, like, a futuristic application, like us, right now, with the gummies.

Joe: And, speaking of which, how hard is it, you know, to stay on top of all this? Like, how often do we start seeing new trends? And, you know, are there certain ones that maybe you're already keeping an eye on for, hey, this could be something coming up two, three months down the road?

Michael: It's really a team effort, right? I mean, we have a group of us, obviously. We're the scientists that go inside there. We're kinda always keeping our eyes open. We have a great marketing team here that looks into those new and upcoming products that seem to be buzzing around right now. And so we bring those, obviously, into our lab. We get that technical feasibility, start going through that exercise of making the gummy. But it's always about keeping your ear to the ground, seeing what's out there, what's going around between different communities. I know we've had Nelson here before talking about gaming. So we've kinda focused in on what are some of the nootropics that are involved with gaming, so we had that. And now we've had some things that are just popping up, again, in the market. If there's a market for it and people see that it's useful, we're gonna be putting it in our gummy, you rest assured.

Joe: And along with our in-house brands, you guys are working with private label brands, retailers, distributors. What kind of feedback is there as they're going through that testing process and formulating process when it comes to these ingredients?

Zach: In terms of...

Joe: The feedback that we may get is to, "Hey, can we add this? Can we try that?" You know, different things that [crosstalk 00:05:49].

Zach: Oh, sure. I mean, it always start off that more is better.

Michael: It's true. It's true.

Zach: The scientists that are really high, they want, like, 500 milligrams of this and that. It's like, "Bring it down a little bit." But, yeah, I mean, the feedback's been great, pretty across the board, recently. I mean, we've gotten pretty good at figuring out problems before they happen and be able to advise on that, and it's been able to make the customers a lot more happy, sooner rather than later.

Michael: And just to kinda add...

Zach: Earlier in the projects.

Michael: It comes to, like...it's like a double effect, right? We always try to, obviously, make it...the gummy form, you wanna make sure that that's kept, everything works well there. Obviously, the effectiveness of the gummy and what we're putting into it, but also the taste. Some of these things just don't taste.

Michael: And so you kinda have a third battle there. And some of the things we've gotten a lot better at, actually, over time. Found different things that we can use to mask and all that. It's been a challenge, but we're overcoming them, and they're tasting better. You could ask some of the internal people who are internal taste testers.

Joe: Quite the internal process we have for quality review when it comes to taste and flavor. And, obviously, some of our newest gummies last year is winning awards, so, obviously, the taste and flavor must be top notch. And, speaking of which, when you work with a new ingredient, how long is the process? What's it look like to get that gummy to that perfect version that consumers see, either, you know, direct from us or retail locations?

Michael: Well, I mean, to be honest...and I know, Zach, you can answer this if you want. Right now, because things are getting a little bit more complicated, our formulas, from where we originally started at to now, it takes more time. And it takes more time. It takes more learning. Now, as we learn things, some things we can move quicker through, right, than we did the first time around. But once we're getting new ingredients, like the ones we talked about earlier, it's a process. I mean, it could be anywhere from weeks to months. It just depends on what the gummy is, how it comes out, how it tastes, and how we can start achieving the goals that we've both internally set for ourselves, and the customer does, too. I mean, does that sound [crosstalk 00:07:50].

Zach: Yeah, that's pretty much it. Unfortunately, it depends. I mean, yeah. Some ingredients are a lot more difficult than others. But, I mean, as we've gained experience and we see something that...say we've made a mushroom gummy before, and we have a new mushroom ingredient, we kinda have that, sort of, basis to start with as kind of like a starting place and be able to kinda expedite the process through there. But the first time we see it, yeah, it can take a couple of weeks to really figure out how the ingredient behaves in our system.

Joe: And then on an upcoming episode, we'll be discussing the wellness trends seen on Amazon. Of course, we have our in-house Amazon brands we'll talk more about in a couple episodes. Do you find that there are different trends, maybe, coming on the e-commerce side than there are, you know, on the retail side. Is there something that's maybe hot online but not yet in stores?

Zach: I would say yeah. I would say, like, stores tend to go more towards, like, vitamins and things that are more, maybe, well known by people who are in the industry. Whereas, if you see things on Amazon, you look for those trendier things like ashwagandha or boswellia that, if you said that today, a guy on the street might be like, "I don't know what that is." But things like Amazon, yeah, those sell a lot there, I think.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, you hit the nail on the head. I mean, once you get more to the extract side of things, it gets a little bit...

Zach: Or exotics.

Michael: More exotic. That's a great way of saying, more exotic, because you can tell the big boys that come with us, they want more of the more well-known, more well-documented type of things that we've known forever, a lot of vitamin Bs for energy, stuff like that. But as far as the extracts, you can tell that that's a more niche group of people.

Joe: Is there one extract that's maybe harder to work with than another extract? Or, you know, Zach talked a little bit about, like, the mushroom gummies and doing that for the first time, and then you get it down. Are there ones that are still, "Hey, this is gonna take a little longer because we're working with this extract?" Excuse me.

Michael: I'll let Zach take this one.

Zach: I mean, extract-wise, I mean, ashwagandha is...depending on the source of...like, if it's, you know, more concentrated or less concentrated. It's been difficult when it's more concentrated, for sure.

Michael: And the amounts, too.

Zach: The amounts. It just absorbs all the water, and you gotta treat it with a little more care, for sure.

Michael: Yeah, because, obviously, people base this...a lot of studies that we do, too, guidance to make a gummy. And sometimes it requires a good amount of that, and we're putting a good amount of extract, and that's just taking over the flavor of the gummy, boy. Not necessarily from a shape standpoint, but from our conformity meaning of the texture. It's more on the flavor side. Like, you have to really fight somebody not tasting grass.

Zach: Or even less extract side, but more just ingredients, in general. Like, collagen can be tough sometimes because it's got its own kind of gel. So if you take too long or you don't give it enough time, you'll get chunks of collagen in the gummy, which you don't want. So that one's a little more temperamental as well.

Joe: And, obviously, the ingredients that are used are gonna play to what type of flavor it can have, correct?

Michael: Yeah, you go with the wave. Don't fight it. I mean, you go with it. If it's giving you some type of notes, you just lean into that, and then that's how we try to do it most of the time. Sometimes, we're requested different things, and we'll fight that too, trust me. We'll take any challenge.

Zach: Similar with color, too. Like, you don't wanna fight against color. Like, if it's a, you know, red active ingredient, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, you go kind of that spectrum.

Michael: Yeah, you lean in.

Joe: Well, keep ahead of the trends in '22. We'll have you guys back as more and more new products and more and more trends develop throughout the year. But thank you guys for all the great info, and can't wait to see what we're cooking next. It takes 108 episodes before I starting getting the one-liners, but I got 'em down now. So make it fun and science-y, we're good.

Michael: There you go. That's right.

Joe: Technical Services Manager, Michael Diaz, and formulator Zach Burrell, my guests on this episode of the CPG & CBD University podcast. Thank you again, both, for joining. We'll be sure to discuss evolving trends throughout the year. And don't forget, you can catch full video episodes of our podcast on YouTube, and you can subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts. You'll have notifications of new episodes each week. And don't forget, you can visit www.gwgummies.com to learn all about the manufacturing process here at Global Widget. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the CPG & CBD University podcast. Thank you for tuning in.

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