Because CBD and terpenes can now be so easily integrated into food and beverage products with greater stability and consistency, we are almost certain to see a surge of new functional applications and products for retailers to stock their shelves. But before brands rush to create their own CBD-infused product, it’s important to understand how to best work with a supplier. Below are five guiding questions that should lead you to the best possible partnership for your product!
1. Stability: What is stability/shelf life of the emulsion as a stand-alone and in a finished product?
Currently, the highest quality water-soluble emulsion is meeting (and exceeding) food-grade stability testing up to 12 months.
What to confirm:
- Real-time data. The supplier should provide at least 12 months of real-time stability data for their product, as well as any finished products.
2. Testing: Does your supplier have third-party testing results to confirm the quality of their product?
What to confirm:
- Request that suppliers provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party testing facility to confirm quality.
- Verify that the COA is through a third-party, not conducted internally.
- Never work with a supplier who can’t provide any COA.
3. Food-grade Quality & Safety: what processes have you implemented to maintain food-grade quality and safety?
Since the CBD space is still in its adolescence, it’s important to ensure that the CBD supplier is compliant with all FDA regulations and applying a ‘food science perspective’ to the production procedures. Suppliers who are not taking necessary precautions can be problematic for the longevity, scalability, and success of a brand.
What to confirm:
- Confirm the supplier can provide all requisite quality documentation. This includes, but is not limited to, COAs, allergen statements, regulatory compliance, third-party audits, etc.
- A supplier’s facility should be CPMG / FSMA compliant. This is separate and in addition to the product’s food-grade rating.
4. Seamless Integration & Packaging: When does dosing take place in the production process and is there specific packaging required to maximize the shelf-life of the product?
Today, there are emulsion technologies available that allow small and large batch dosing with seamless integration.
- Determine whether a supplier’s emulsion requires major disruption to existing manufacturing and packaging procedures.
- Ask if the supplier has technical team members who can work with you directly to develop the best approach to dosing and product development.
- Packaging does matter and some are better than others for water-soluble emulsion technology in finished goods. Ask about their experience – the successes, as well as the failures.
5. Offerings & Associated Taste & Smell: There’s hype around all forms of CBD – CBD isolate, full spectrum, broad spectrum – how do I know which is best for my product?
Each CBD form impacts the taste, smell, and texture of the finished product. These forms can impact the added ingredients, mainly sugar and flavor additives, and overall nutrition of the finished product.
- Confirm the suppliers can achieve the desired flavor profile (with or without CBD flavor and aroma presence)
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