Episode 124 – Innovation in Gummy Manufacturing



Joe: On this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," Innovation in Gummy Manufacturing, staying on top of trending ingredients, flavors, products, and manufacturing innovative new products to answer consumer and retailer demand. This is the "CPG and CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." We're talking innovation on this episode of our podcast. Four members of our team at Global Widget join me for this episode as a contracting...as a contractor, excuse me, manufacturing powerhouse with the capacity of about 5 million gummies each week. It's paramount to stay on top of emerging trends and help bridge the gap between industry demand and total market capacity. And I bring on the members who are part of our innovation team, Vikki Hayward and Sean Murray from our marketing team, and from our formulation team, Sara Brown and Jessica Quinn. Everybody, welcome to the podcast. Vikki, welcome to your first podcast. Everybody else, welcome back to the podcast.

Vikki: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: So, as I mentioned, you four are a part of our brand new innovation team. So, what's the purpose of this new initiative? Who wants to start things off?

Vikki: See what I can jump in. Basically, I mean the definition of innovation is market and development of products that are either new or making something better. So why not mix formulation and marketing in order to develop those products? So that was kinda the goal, is to come up with what's new and what's innovative, and what's missing in the market.

Joe: So from the formulation side, mixing formulation and marketing, usually, we don't see that until the end of the process. But how is it interacting now as part of really almost the pre-planning process of new products?

Sara: It was great as they have the ability to look at like trending stuff that's going on. If there's ingredients that happen to be trending or are really popular at a time, they have the information to look it up and find out what we should be focusing on. So it's really helpful to have them as part of the team to be able to help give us, like, the most current up-to-date information on what we might wanna start formulating with.

Joe: And Sean and Sara, I think you've been here the longest out of the four on this podcast. I found out before we started recording. I thought it was Sean, but actually, it's not Sean, it's Sara by a few weeks. So I'll let the both answer here. The innovation that you've seen since you've been here, I mean, how have things changed? Sean, I'll let you that first.

Sean: I mean, when I first started, we were operating out of a tiny office building, and distribution and manufacturing were completely separate places down the road. Within the year I started working, we purchased the building we're at now, 110,000 square feet state-of-the-art facility. The capacity changed. It's an FDA-registered facility now. And we kinda shifted because we were a CBD company at first. And building off the innovation, we found new trends. We started building towards these other ingredients that are becoming more popular.

Joe: And Sara, what have you seen from really the product development side on innovation?

Sara: When I first started doing products, it was mostly focused on like e-liquids, and things like that. It was mostly vapes, right? So, like, I first started on the production side. He was in the other building. We were in different buildings. But production side, we were in a strip mall and making just tons and tons of, gummies and also vapes and the oils and things like that. So, like, from that, we barely make any of those products anymore, other than gummies, obviously. But it's not really CBD, it's mostly now the CPG side of things. So we've moved on to a completely different marketplace altogether, and it's just been completely amazing to watch.

Joe: And Sara and Jessica, you've both been on a number of our Gummy Central theme podcasts. How important is it in the industry to stay on top of the latest trends and stay ahead when it comes to the innovation in new products?

Jessica: Yeah, it's very important. So this way, we can see what's trending and try to put it into a gummy, so.

Sara: Before anybody else can think of doing it before us.

Jessica: Give them what they want before they know that they want it.

Joe: And you, I mean, from the R&D side, you guys, obviously, also meet on your own, correct? On top of meeting with the innovation side to go through latest trends?

Jessica: Yeah.

Sara: Oh, yeah, we're always researching on our own as well just to trigger on trying to figure out new ideas for things.

Joe: And Vikki and Sean, as I mentioned, marketing formulation aren't two departments one would usually see in constant collaboration until down the road. What have you guys learned from the formulation side and the R&D side in talking innovation?

Sean: I've learned a ton of words that I can't pronounce.

Joe: Think how I feel having them on the podcast all the time. I didn't even know what ashwagandha was, and then now, I can say without even looking down at my script as to what is that?

Sean: So, I think it goes hand in hand though because they are on the front line of seeing these ingredients and what people, like they said, might not know yet that they're looking for. But health and wellness is a huge industry. So there's multiple aspects, multiple ingredients we can look towards to formulate into a gummy, and we can look at it from the marketing standpoint of how are we gonna sell it to somebody, what do they want to better off their wellness? And so, it's what we've been building off.

Vikki: Yeah. And it sounds like, I mean, the amount of things I've learned from just spending time with them and learning what ingredients can go together, what can't go together, what can you put in a gummy, what can't. That's actually rather fascinating. And it's interesting because it sounds like there seem to be new ingredients all the time, and then you have branded ingredients versus generic ingredients, and the claims you can make. So, it's almost like you pull a thread and it just keeps going. So I think that's been an awesome learning curve to share because we may have market data to back something up, but if we can't use those ingredients to make a gummy, they're gonna tell us, "So you're not even bothering researching it ahead of time," because now we know, okay, we can't do this, but can we do this? And that's where it gets exciting as we start interacting with... If we can't do it this way, they have ideas on how we can make it happen.

Joe: So what are some ingredients we can't put in gummies that may be trending ingredients in other products. Have we come across... I mean, it sounds like we've come across that.

Sara: I mean, nothing... I don't know about it specifically, but mostly things that are just really bad tasting make things difficult...

Jessica: Also that, yeah.

Sara: ...in the gummies or structure like...or like chemically, they just don't allow the gummy to necessarily form right. So sometimes they interact with like the gel-forming of our pectins and things like that. We have a little bit of difficulty with things like magnesium for that reason. It just likes to interact and keep the gummy from forming. So it takes a little bit more work to get those types of things to work in a gummy.

Jessica: Mostly it's people wanting a lot of one or two things and it just doesn't, like, logically make any sense to put that much in there, so it's mostly that.

Joe: When I first brought that question up, Jessica made a face as if she's had to taste some of these innovative products that just didn't make the final cut.

Jessica: Most fun, yeah. That's a part of the job.

Joe: So without getting into too many specifics, what are some of the latest innovations in the gummy space that perhaps, maybe, kind of, sort of, may be making their way into products soon?

Jessica: Fiber.

Sara: We have so many ideas.

Jessica: We want fiber?

Sara: Yeah, fiber gummies are getting really popular, we've been working on those. Things to deal with like stomach gut health, things like that we've been working on, other types of, you know, body health things that we could use little...

Jessica: Or mental health, yeah.

Sara: Mental health as well, yeah, absolutely. Things for hair growth, things for, you know...

Jessica: Joint relief.

Sara: PMS relief, like...

Jessica: PMS, yeah.

Sara: ...all sorts of focused ingredients, yeah.

Vikki: Seems to be a lot of heavy focus on athletic and workout supplements, things like that.

Joe: So wrapping things up, favorite... I mean, you guys get probably... I mean, although I think in the office, maybe even on the marketing side, you've probably tasted some of the gummies before they hit the market. Favorite gummy. You don't have to mention the brand if it's not one of our own, but we...obviously we've talked about it on the CPG site, favorite gummy that you've had or enjoyed the most that we've developed.

Sara: I like a real strong vitamin C gummy.

Jessica: Okay.

Joe: I like it.

Jessica: Sara makes a really good beat gummy and I hate beats. It's really good in the gummy.

Joe: We talked about this in the last episode you were on. When I actually... yeah, I was... I actually had the ability to taste test one of those. And I do like beats, but I didn't think beats would be good in a gummy, but they were actually very good. And I think that was on the Sugar-Free episode we had talked about if I recall.

Jessica: Yeah, they're sugar-free too.

Sara: Best way to eat a beat.

Joe: See, I do remember past episodes and what we talk about. So I don't just sit back here and host the thing. Sean, Vick, favorite gummies.

Sean: Anything Berry. So, either like the botanical blend from Hemp Bombs or the Immune Well are Berry too. So, those are tasty.

Vikki: I kind of go more towards, like, the Glow Well, I liked. And I like the Energy Well, honestly, because I like apple cider vinegar effects of it, but I don't like taking apple cider vinegar. I get heartburn. So taking Energy Well doesn't give me any heartburn.

Joe: And both of those gummies that you talked about, we talked back about on episode 104 when we launched Forever Well Nutrition. See, it all comes together in the end. I had one more I was going to ask before we conclude things in. On the innovation side, is there a time... I mean, how long do these ingredients stay innovative, or trending? I mean, I'm just thinking back to, like I said, I mean, ashwagandha, I learned and we still see it. Are there ingredients that are hot for a short period of time and then all of a sudden, "Hey, we got to move on to something else."?

Sara: Yeah, I mean, like some of the cannabinoids were like that. Like CBD was trending for only a few years and it kind died off a little bit. I think there's certain things that are gonna stay around forever, maybe, you know, like elderberry is pretty strong. I don't see it fading many times soon, apple cider vinegar's one of those things that's been around for a long while. But again, you never know, like the market could always change. It could always change in a few years. Not really things that last very short periods of time, maybe. It's usually a good maybe 3, 4, 5 years chunk of time something might be trending

Jessica: Also like ashwagandha and alphamine that you've seen in a lot of products, they're helpful in a lot of different areas too. So you can put them in a lot of different gummies, so they'll stay around for a while. It's just like how beneficial is the actual ingredient?

Joe: Do you guys do flavors along with ingredients, or?

Vikki: Not yet. It's more... yeah. And it also depends, sure, on the ingredients and what it can be flavored with, yes.

Joe: Well, very good, guys. Thanks for all the info. And obviously, as new products and innovations come up, we'll have you guys back on the podcast to see what you guys are cooking back there. See, hey, little litty. Anyhow, Jessica Quinn, Sara Brown from our formulation team, Sean Murray, Vikki Hayward from our marketing team, all members of the Global Widget innovation team, and my guests today. Thank you all for joining me, that was fun.

Vikki: Thanks, Joe.

Jessica: Yeah, it was.

Joe: And as I mentioned, we'll keep you updated on everything innovation throughout our social channels and this podcast. So hit that subscribe button wherever you get your podcast and get notifications of new episodes each week. You can also watch video episodes on the Global Widget YouTube channel. I'm Joe Agostinelli host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Thank you for tuning in.

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