Joe: On this episode of the CPG & CBD University Podcast there’s a formula for every single gummy manufactured at Gummy Central. How do we get all those ingredients into one bite-sized chew? Meet more of our formulators on this episode of the CPG & CBD University Podcast. And it starts right now.
I’m Joe Agostinelli, host of the CPG & CBD University Podcast. If you’re a returning listener, welcome back to our podcast. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us. Full video episodes of our podcasts available on the Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands. Hit that “Subscribe” button wherever you get your podcasts for notifications when new episodes are published each week.
Way back on Episode 75 I introduced you to two members of our in-house formulation team and we continue to take you behind the scenes of Gummy Central with three more members of our formulation team. Left to right if you’re watching…my left to right if you’re watching on the YouTube channel. Don’t worry about directions if you’re listening to the audio version. Zachk Burrell, Jessica Quinn, Johnathon Ferland, my guests on this episode. Welcome all three of you to your first podcast episode.
Zach: Thank you. Good to be here.
Johnathon: Happy to be here.
Joe: We took them out of the lab just for a little bit, brand-new formulation lab. We alluded to that on that Episode 75 when we talked with Nelson and Michael. So you can go ahead and take a listen to that. This is a continuation of that series. And as we mention on all our episodes, we manufacture millions of gummies every day and you guys get to start the entire process. How hard is it to formulate that perfect gummy, Zack?
Zach: I mean, it could be as simple as, you know, we throw something in and it works the first time or sometimes it takes weeks. I mean, it depends on the active ingredients, sort of interactions between them. But, yeah, we’re getting the process down so getting better every day.
Joe: You know, when we talk about active ingredients, obviously do we have a base formula for most gummies, Jessica, then we go from there to add active ingredients? How does that work?
Jessica: Yeah, sure. So we start with, you know, your water, pectin, sugar, and syrup and then it depends on what they want in the gummy. That can make it difficult. So the amount of actives, actives that they want in it can determine everything else.
Joe: And do we get to a point where there’s maybe too many actives? How much can we add? How much is too much?
Jessica: Yeah, of course. Yes.
Johnathon: It’s definitely dependent on what the ingredient is. If some really affect flavor or color that you want in the final products, that could be limiting, as well as sometimes just the structure of a gummy can only hold so much.
Zach: Yeah, if you want to put an oil into it like an actual oil carrier for whether it be a CBD oil or whatever else, I mean, it’s gonna start making the gummy kind of watery so definitely got to dose those back where solids might be a little easier.
Joe: And something we talked about when we talked about the base formula, we hear a lot that a gummy’s pectin or gelatin, Jonathan, what would lead to one being used over the other?
Johnathon: Sure. So pectin is much better for label claims. It’s vegan. Ours is sourced from citrus. Gelatin on the other hand, it can provide a different texture, a little chewier, softer feel, and it’s a little easier in some situations as well.
Joe: And it’s interesting you mentioned pectin because my understanding is the Hemp Bombs brand Botanical Blends Gummies which just came out not too long ago were our first vegan gummies along the Hemp Bombs line, correct?
Joe: And when we talk about something for like Botanical Blends, so what are we talking about that’s in there that makes it botanical?
Jessica: Oh, there’s several botanics. It’s quite a long list.
Joe: And how do we…go ahead, Johnathon?
Johnathon: I was going to say the common ones we use are like ashwagandha, lemon balm kind of for like a sleep assistance thing.
Jessica: Or anxiety.
Zack: More of like herbal ingredients, that sort of realm whereas like a vitamin wouldn’t be necessarily considered one of those.
Zach: Your extracts essentially.
Joe: And speaking of trending ingredients and flavors changing quick, how do we work trending ingredients into the formula or flavors, you know, of gummies, and Zack or whoever, Jessica, wants to start on that one.
Jessica: Well, it depends on what the customer is asking for but we try to work with the dosages that they want for the gummy and then try to give them the flavor and color that they want.
Zach: Yeah, and sometimes we have to work back like, say someone wants to put 100 milligrams of something in but that was too much for whether it be a color problem, it makes it too brown or too…I mean, just not the color they want, we have to dose it back and kind of work with the customer that way to get them that perfect gummy.
Johnathon: Exciting things, we do have some blockers we can use to help mitigate negative flavors with some actives and we try and pick something that complements what it is, like something…in a weird way like citrus flavors tend to go better with strong earthy tones versus maybe just trying to do like a cotton candy mushroom gummy.
Joe: Something that Zack had mentioned that I found very interesting, never really thought of it, when we talk about the color of gummies, so obviously that’s something…I mean, everybody sees the finished product but no one knows the process going along. So the color obviously is affected by what type of the ingredients that are in the gummies. So for example the elderberry, which is a popular ingredient of our Immune Support gummies has that great flavor and color. So that’s what gives it the color.
Zack: So design-wise, that’s something we might take into account is that the elderberry is naturally making it purple. We might say, all right, well, let’s make it taste purple. So something like grape would be an option.
Jessica: Mixed berry.
Zach: Or for example a product coming would be a chlorophyll gummy was requested and we might go for a green flavor, whether it be green apple, kiwi, something like that.
Joe: And as we just mentioned, gummies not only come in all different colors but different sizes and doses. How does that affect the formulation, Johnathon?
Johnathon: Sure. So the size of the gummy’s going to determine how much we can fit into it. The size and the shape are related just with the molds that we have available on our machines. But it’s really the larger the gummy, the more we can fit into it. And besides that, the shape has some effect on color too. Some things will look better depending on how they’re shaped.
Zach: If the light passes through, if it’s, you know, thinner or thicker or…
Jessica: Translucent versus opaque.
Zach: That too.
Joe: And something Jonathan mentioned, so we talked about the size of the gummy. You know, from one extreme to the other, is there, you know, too large or maybe too small of a gummy?
Zach: So for our machinery we do have a size range that we generally like to work within. But in general, it’s easier to go bigger than it is to go smaller because if you want to put X amount of anything into a gummy, if you go too small, you can’t get fit in, whereas if you have a larger gummy you got more room to play with. But yeah, we do have general ranges for our machinery though.
Jessica: Stability reasons too.
Joe: And as we continue to increase our capacity and operations and we talked a little bit about this with the molds, it also means more gummy machines coming online and we’ll have more on that in a future episode. But does a machine or a mold play a part of the formulation and how do we improve on the finished product during the process? Do we get in the process and say, “Hey, as part of our quality control we’ve got to make a change here before our final production?”
Zach: I think the biggest relationship there is the molds that we have that are a particular shape are a particular size also. So we might have…just throwing out numbers…maybe a four gram berry but not a two gram berry, for example. So that’s sort of size and shape relationship. But if we had a mold that was a particular shape and a size, then we could do it.
Jonathon: Once we’ve started doing pilot runs and whatnot, we will have to make some adjustments depending on the gummy lines. We have similar machinery but it’s not exactly the same from line to line. We have some differences in kettles and mixing blades so we will make tweaks before a final product, trying to get it to meet those quality standards.
Jessica: Yeah, successful product.
Zach: There’s sort of a personality to each one and we’ve got to make some minor adjustments.
Joe: And, Jessica, what were you going to say?
Jessica: I mean, we have to do some research and design to ensure that we have a successful product in production.
Joe: So when it comes to research and when it comes to development obviously in the lab we’ll ramp up the conversation with some more behind the scenes lab talk, you guys get to get in that initial phase of, “Hey, let’s make this great gummy.” But now we know what gets on the shelves in our retail distribution privately partners and even our own brands is obviously a great tasting gummy, very flavorful, and obviously all of our products lab tested but do we ever get like a test run of something and you thought would be a great flavor and it just comes out not exactly how you thought it was going to come out?
Jessica: Oh yeah. That happens all the time.
Zach: Maybe it’ll be a formulator will love a certain flavor and nobody else likes it or, yeah, it’s all over the place. I mean, we’ve made like coffee flavored ones that, you know, some of us really liked and the other ones didn’t. We tried adding like a cream flavor to it to get like a mocha.
Jonathon: My most recent least favorite was your beta glucan gummy.
Jessica: Oh yeah.
Johnathon: And we decided it tasted like cat food.
Jessica: And it smelled like saltines.
Johnathon: Yeah, a lot of bad flavors before we get to a good flavor.
Joe: When formulations go bad. But let’s now on the reverse side favorite flavor gummy or type of gummy generally speaking that you’ve been able to make since you’ve joined the team here.
Zach: I love cinnamon flavored gummies. The flavors we have that make cinnamon are really potent but not overdone. They’re really fantastic for cinnamon. But in terms of ingredients, I love my [inaudible 00:10:34].
Jessica: I guess my apple cider vinegar gummies. Those are…yeah, I can pop those like candy.
Johnathon: Those are very good. For me it’s Hyperbrain that we’re coming out with. I’ve worked with it a lot and I love the flavor and I love the effect of the gummy too.
Joe: Very good. And more on the apple cider vinegar on a future episode as we talk about some functional ingredients, not to mention our social series depending on when you’re listening to this podcast. During the month of July we’ll feature some of these formulators and other members of our team on our social networks on a Formulator Friday series as we go behind the scenes and some of the functional ingredients these guys are using every day.
Zach, Johnathon, Jessica, thank you all for joining me for this episode. Very informational and that was a lot of fun.
Johnathon: Thank you. Had a blast.
Joe: And for more on our formulation team and lab, go behind the scenes on the Global Widget YouTube channel with our newest video, plus catch full video episodes of our podcast right there on our YouTube channel. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the CPG & CBD University Podcast. If you have not yet done so, I remind you to hit that “Subscribe” button wherever you get your podcasts to get notifications when new episodes are published each week. I’m Joe Agostinelli, host of the CPG and 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 with 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 intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.