SōRSE Producers Series: Altitude Beverages

altitude cbd coffee

For the third post of our Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Altitude Functional Beverages, Laura Melgarejo Silva and Thomas Angel, to share their company’s story.  

altitude cbd coffee

Their first beverage on the market, the Everything Latte, is chock full of high quality, beneficial ingredients – and just launched! The latte’s base is cold brew coffee sourced from Fair Trade beans, and it’s blended with oat milk, Turmeric, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chaga, Cocoa, Cinnamon, Blue agave, a pinch of sea salt, and CBD to make a truly delicious, good-for-you beverage to start your morning or give you that pick-me-up you need in the afternoon. Here, they share what inspired them to create an infused functional beverage, how they came to work with SōRSE, and what excites them about the industry and where their company is headed.  

Can you start by sharing a bit of your background with us, and what inspired you to create a cannabis-infused coffee beverage? 

Prior to 2020, we had been living in Beijing for a few years for work. When the pandemic hit, Laura was able to get back to Colombia to see her family, and I joined her a few weeks later. We were there for three months – and during that time, China’s borders closed, so we were unable to return. We ended up moving back to the US in July, and as we were adjusting to life here, we were thinking a lot about our lives and what we wanted to do next.  

We had been exploring CBD and other functional ingredients and found that when we were taking them consistently, we were feeling the benefits. The hard part was being disciplined about taking them – and we really felt the difference when we stopped taking them. We knew that this was clearly a budding market, and we were thinking about what we could create that would replace the powders and tinctures we had been using. There were already a lot of infused sparkling waters on the market, so we decided to create a coffee beverage that we could incorporate to our morning routine –a beverage that tasted great and featured a lot of beneficial ingredients that are good for you and played well together. We want our beverages to be good for you and enjoyable.   

What are your company’s mission and core values? 

Our mission is to make functional beverages that are delicious and accessible. We want to dispel the myth that functional ingredients make a product taste “earthy” – that it is possible to create something tasty with the right combination of ingredients and flavors.  In terms of accessibility, a lot of functional ingredients are quite expensive – and that initial entry cost can prevent consumers from giving a product a try. We want to offer a product that is accessible to everyone – and knowing that not everyone drinks coffee, we will be expanding our line to include a Coconut Chai latte, a Matcha Pandan latte, and sparkling teas featuring adaptogens to take the place of cocktails in the evening.    

altitude cbd coffee bike shoes

How do (and how will) you educate your consumers on CBD and how to use your product in their daily routine?

We feel lucky that we have entered the marketplace in a time when consumers are pretty aware of CBD and have had some exposure to it. What we hear the most from people are comments like this: “I’ve heard CBD is good for me; I took it once, but I didn’t feel anything.” That’s when we realized that we need to educate our consumers on the idea that CBD needs to be routine-based to make it efficacious and effective. Right now, we are going to a lot of farmers markets and doing samplings at stores to have that face-to-face customer interaction we have missed for a year and a half. These moments have been impactful because it’s given us the opportunity to share our product and talk about why we created the formula the way we did.  

In terms of social media, we use our website and Instagram as our main platforms for consumer education, but we are looking at TikTok as a place to create video vignettes that would answer questions like, “What is CBD? Why is it important to use it regularly?” and “What are adaptogens? What are the benefits of taking functional mushrooms?” We feel like TikTok could be a good place for us to reach new consumers.  

What have been the most challenging parts about getting your product ready to hit the market? 

We are fortunate and lucky to have great partners like SōRSE in this adventure, and we’ve also garnered a lot of support and resources from the community here in Bend, Oregon. What’s been challenging is getting distribution with larger distributors and larger chains – it’s a very competitive marketplace. We are also funding this operation ourselves, so we are mindful about all the decisions we make and the partners we choose. We recognize that we have to work twice as hard to gain the level of access to the market that others have. We welcome those kinds of challenges, because we believe in the product we’ve created and we know the value of what we are bringing to the table.  

On a product design level, getting the balance of flavors in our beverage right has certainly been challenging. I can’t add up all the hours that we spent working on the formula while staining our kitchen counters with turmeric and cocoa powder. It definitely took a couple of months of experimenting to get the ratios right.   

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers? Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product? 

Because our mission was to make functional beverages delicious and accessible, we spent a lot of time at the beginning evaluating and testing different CBD products for their flavor profile. The other thing we were evaluating was consumer confidence in our potential CBD supplier. Because we wanted to be transparent about the ingredients we were putting into our beverage, we wanted to be sure that we were using a high quality, safe product, and that the COA would verify the quality of the product. I wanted to work with a company based in the Northwest, and I found SōRSE online. I reached out and started working with the sales team, and it just clicked from the onset.  

We feel very at ease with the SōRSE team and appreciate their transparency and their willingness to collaborate. We got a sample of SōRSE and another company’s emulsion, put them in clear vials and let them sit for a week. The SōRSE emulsion was still emulsified – there was no settling, nor any off taste or smells. The other sample separated and had an odd chemical smell to it. That made the decision easy!  

That was October of 2020 – and since then, the whole SōRSE team has been invested in seeing us succeed. Now, we have close to 100 accounts, we’re in three states, we have direct to consumer business – it’s a dream that has become a reality, and the latte continues to gain traction with consumers.  

SōRSE has a team of experts who we can turn to when we have questions about regulatory, flavor – just about anything. The moniker to us represents consumer confidence, and that is incredibly important to us as we build our brand. At this juncture, to be connected to a company like SōRSE with a reputation for creating a safe, consistent product is critical. We want our consumers and retailers to trust that we have chosen the best CBD product out there that is created and constantly evaluated by a team of trained scientists.  

altitude adaptogenic coffee

Is there a lesson you’ve learned throughout the process of getting your product off the ground that you’d be willing to share? 

As a founder and a business owner, you definitely need to believe in your idea and promote it. That said, our biggest lesson learned is listening to what the consumer is saying and make changes based on their feedback. We have incorporated feedback from production run to production run because we value the comments our customers who are part of our loyal fan base have made. Their opinions are very important to us, and that is one of the reasons why we are expanding our offerings to chai and matcha. 

What excites you most about being in this industry?  

Right now, it’s great that we are operating in an industry that is not dominated by big players. That provides a unique opportunity to grow our brand and win customers utilizing the platforms that have a wide reach. It’s also exciting to be in a space where you are improving people’s lives. My favorite emails are the ones from people who have been drinking our beverage and rave about how much better they are feeling and how good it tastes.  

Making a positive impact on people’s lives is really satisfying. Our tagline is “Live like you give a damn” – instead of living day to day, we hope that our consumers are making conscientious decisions about how they can improve their lives, including eating and drinking products that are good for us and that taste good! 

altitude cbd coffee paddleboard

Why Do Most Cannabis Products Taste So Bad?

fruity drinks in mason jars

Let’s be honest. Many cannabis-infused products, both CBD and THC, taste awful. The reason why is simple: cannabinoid extracts are intensely bitter, earthy, and difficult to work with, owing respectively to the cannabinoids themselves, terpenes, flavonoids, and the complex interactions between them and other ingredients.  

When the plant material impacts the flavor profile so intensely, formulating infused foods and beverages is a huge challenge. In the past, consumers bought products for their effects, not for their taste – but now consumers are looking for great-tasting, effective products. Companies that can offer both efficacy and great taste will have an enduring market advantage. 

In most emulsified cannabinoid products, carrier oils, preservatives, and surfactants intensify the bitterness. When cannabinoids are broken down into small particles for an emulsion, that creates more surface area for the bitter compounds to interact with the taste receptors. Fortunately, SōRSE emulsion allows for masking any bitter flavors with minimal sugars and additives. 

Increasing the concentration of cannabinoids increases the bitterness, a particularly challengingissue for product formulators trying to create tasty CBD-infused products. 

WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO FIX IT? 

Options for dealing with bitterness fall into two main categories: incorporation or masking, which can be thought of as either going with the flow, or fighting it. 

Incorporating the Flavors of Cannabinoids

Incorporation means accepting the naturally bitter, complex flavor of cannabis and working with it rather than trying to hide it. It means thinking of the flavor of the extract as an ingredient in the overall sensory formulation. Generally, we experience sweet, sour, salty, and umami tastes positively; however, bitterness is a component in many pleasant tastes.  

Flavors that are naturally bitter, such as peppermint, chocolate, coffee, citrus, or beer, trick the brain into incorporating the bitterness into the familiar flavor, such that it doesn’t register as bitter, but acknowledges it as “peppermint, which is a little bitter.” 

Many cannabinoids are bitter, and customers can accept that bitterness is the cost they pay for the effect, or even celebrate and cultivate it, much as we do with caffeine or alcohol. 

The trouble with this approach is it limits flavor options. The market is laden with chocolates, sour candies, and peppermint mouth sprays. The industry needs to evolve and match the sophistication of today’s consumers with flavors that appeal to them. 

Masking the Flavors of Cannabinoids

Masking is a more traditional, low-tech option that works similarly to incorporation but has the goal of completely erasing the taste of the cannabinoids rather than complementing them. The modern version involves bitter blockers as a process aid, which interfere with the taste buds’ ability to perceive bitterness. 

Even though we can eliminate the herbaceous, bitter taste of cannabis, should we?  Some people argue that cannabis shouldn’t taste good because its bitterness will make people think of it as medicine, or that without the distinctive taste, accidental ingestion will happen. The fact is, most consumers know their limits, and are looking for other means of recreational or medicinal consumption beyond inhalation. In turn, companies have responded to the growing demand for high-quality infused food and beverages, and are creating products that taste great and deliver cannabinoids efficaciously.  

If you are a product developer who has an idea for a great infused product and would like some advice working with the flavor of cannabinoids and terpenes, our R&D team is here to help. They are well-versed in all aspects of product development, from ideation to scale, and are experts when it comes to working with the flavors that cannabinoids offer. Book a call today! 

Trends in Flavors: Consumers Seek Comfort, Novelty, & Functionality

Trends in Flavors: Consumers Seek Comfort, Novelty & Functional Health

Who drives flavor trends — chefs? Food writers? Product designers? Flavorists? The answer is the consumer. If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the consumer is ultimately the arbiter of what flavors will be successful, what trends will become mainstays, and what trends will be short-lived. The impact of consumer preference and behavior is evident in the flavor trends we saw emerge in 2020, the trends we’ve seen in 2021, and the predictions for 2022.  

Nostalgia with a Twist

When looking at flavor trends, it’s important to consider how consumer habits have changed in the past two years due to the pandemic. There’s been a major shift in how much time we’ve spent cooking in our own kitchens versus dining out. It’s natural for people to gravitate towards flavors that are familiar to them – flavors from their childhood or from their favorite travel destination – and create an eating experience that evokes a sense of nostalgic comfort. That said, younger consumers have shown they’re not afraid to balance their comfort food with flavors that are new, exotic, or something they might experience in a foreign country.  

Food with a Function

In the wake of COVID 19, many consumers have sought out natural, holistic ways to improve their health through nutraceutical benefits, particularly in terms of boosting immunity, finding relief from stress and anxiety, and improving quality of sleep and gut health. Consumers are researching CBD and other cannabinoids, adaptogens, probiotics, prebiotics, and botanicals and are looking for products that not only provide benefits but also taste good. Most consumers would prefer to get their daily dose of functional ingredients in as few items as possible, as opposed to taking multiple pills a day. 

Consumer demand for functional ingredients impacts a product’s flavor profile. Take, for example, products built to boost immunity – they will likely feature Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Ginger, Turmeric, or Ashwagandha. Because Vitamin C occurs naturally in citrus, it is relatively easy to pair with other flavors, whereas an ingredient like Ashwagandha has a very unique flavor profile in that it is earthy and bitter, which pairs well with the flavors of nuts, chocolate, and honey.

Enthusiasm for Fermented Foods

Today’s consumers are gravitating towards natural, healthy products that are processed without little to no additives and preservatives. A food category that emerged in 2020 and gained traction in 2021 for its floral, tart, slightly sweet, and robust flavors were naturally fermented products such as drinking vinegars, kombucha, and kimchi. Today, you can purchase products such as apple cider vinegar gummies, kombucha tea, and kimchi-flavored potato chips, and even kimchi-flavored sodas. Fermented products particularly resonate with younger consumers who have been exposed to international flavors and are not afraid of new tastes and textures.

Tested, Tried, and True Flavors

There are some flavors that consumers can’t get enough of and that never seem to go out of style, like berry, citrus, apple, and mint. Most people have been consuming fruit products since they were young; hence, these flavors are familiar to us and we know what to expect from a product featuring that flavor. In the confectionary world, strawberry remains very popular with consumers worldwide. Today, we are also seeing more of these flavors combined with botanicals to give products an added level of complexity – for example, basil paired with strawberry, mint paired with cucumber, or lavender paired with lemon. In line with consumers seeking functionality, botanicals offer their own health benefits. Basil is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as Magnesium; mint offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender has been used to treat insomnia and nausea.

Up and Coming Fruit Flavors

There is no shortage of products on store shelves featuring citrus and berry, but there are some varieties to pay attention to, including Marionberry, Huckleberry, Yuzu, Blood Orange, and Makrut Lime.   

Marionberry

Marionberries are a variety of blackberry grown mostly in Oregon; they are both sweet and tart with a rich, earthy flavor – similar to eating a raspberry and blackberry in the same bite. In terms of product development, products featuring marionberries are mostly found on the west coast, because the berry itself is too delicate to ship.  

Huckleberry

Huckleberries are smaller than blueberries and have dark purple skin when ripe. They are tarter and juicier than blueberries, which means their flavor packs a punch in food products or beverages. Huckleberries are not a domesticated fruit; they are mostly picked by foragers in the northwest, which makes them somewhat harder for a product designer to access. 

Yuzu

Hailing from China and used widely in Japan, Yuzus are about the size as a tangerine. The rind is highly aromatic and sweet with floral notes, while the juice of the fruit is extremely sour and tart. Products on the market featuring yuzu are varied, from marinades to marmalades, beers to flavored sparkling water. 

Blood Orange

A blood orange is slightly smaller than a navel orange with slightly thicker skin. What makes the blood orange unique (and subsequently products that feature its juice) is the deep red, maroon color of the interior flesh. Flavor-wise, blood orange juice is a bit sweeter and less tangy than classic orange juice.   

Makrut Lime

Makrut (aka kaffir) are in the lime family and derive from Southeast Asia; they are a staple of Thai cooking. The texture of the rind is bumpy, and when ripe, it’s yellow as opposed to green. The zest of the rind is often used in curry paste, and its leaves are added to dishes for fragrance. Makrut lime juice is quite bitter and sour, so it needs to be paired with other flavors that can stand up to it and balance it out. 

Beyond Pumpkin Spice — Fall Flavors to Savor

As summer comes to a close, as the days get shorter, and the weather starts to cool, the flavors of the season begin to shift as well. Fall flavors not only reflect what types of products are available but the season’s holidays as well.  

One fall fruit flavor that never goes out of style is apple, which is incredibly versatile in terms of what it can be paired with. It’s a terrific match for another fall favorite, cranberry. An apple’s sweetness and crispness provide a nice contrast and balance to the cranberry’s tartness and tang. Apple and another fall fruit, pear, match well with a variety of spices, such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and ginger, all of which offer health benefits. 

Caramel is a flavor consumers associate with childhood and Halloween – think caramel apples, caramel in candy bars, and caramel swirled into ice cream. A popular flavor today is salted caramel, where the savory and texture quality of the salt play against the sweet, sticky, chewy qualities of the caramel. 

While Chai is popular year-round, it is the perfect flavor for fall because of the warmth the aromatic spices in it evoke. Chai is comprised of cinnamon, cardamom, and clove; these spices are added to black tea and then typically blended into milk. Beyond tea-based beverages, Chai pairs well in dishes featuring winter squash-like pumpkin.  

2022 Flavor Trend Predictions

Today’s consumers continue to feel the impact of COVID, are seeking a balance between familiarity and novelty, and learning more about ingredients that improve one’s health. Product producers can anticipate that functional ingredients including CBD will be top of mind when people look for new products to add into their daily routines that not only deliver nutrition and health benefits but also taste great.  

Flavor researchers predict that in 2022, consumers will seek out spice and heat in their food and beverages (from peppers to chili to mustard), as well as notes of smoke and wood. They will also gravitate towards tropical, fruity flavors, that are paired with other functional ingredients, particularly in beverages, and seek out spirit flavors in their confections, such as a chocolate bar infused with whiskey or bourbon. 

If you have an idea for a product to bring to market in 2022 featuring functional ingredients, the team at SōRSE can help you create a flavor profile that will resonate with consumers. Book a call with our team today to get the conversation started and your product to market! 

SōRSE Producers Series: Heirloom Pet Products

SōRSE Producers Series: Heirloom Pet Products

For the second post of our Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Heirloom Pet Products, CEO Jason Lysak and CMO Brandi DeLancy, to share their company’s story.   

SōRSE has been working with Heirloom Pets for two years now, and in that time, Heirloom has prioritized educating the consumers on the benefits of choosing water-soluble CBD for their animals while expanding their line of products. Their Road Trip Sticks, Food Toppers, and Bone Broth are a big hit with many pets in the SōRSE family.  

Can you start by sharing a bit of your background with us, and what inspired you to create a hemp-infused pet product line?

Having been involved in the pet food industry for a period of time, we noticed an opportunity in the market to create CBD pet products that work better. We were prompted to research the efficacy of products that were currently on the market. Pretty quickly we realized that the category was lacking a fast-acting, highly effective product line that was also affordable. Hence, Heirloom Pet Products was born!  

What are your company’s mission and core values?

The mission of Heirloom Pet Products is to deliver the most effective, healthy products based on science and efficacy. 

How do you educate pet owners on CBD and how to use your products in their pet’s daily routine?

Consumer education is one of our main focuses. Evolution in the CBD space has been slow, and because of that, people tend to stick to what they know. We have positioned ourselves not only as a source of high-quality, effective CBD products for pets, but also as an educational hub. Our social responsibility is to provide pet parents with up-to-date information and the scientific research to back it up. 

What was the most difficult part about getting your products to market?

The hurdle of marketing and education in the hemp space. CBD is very difficult to market! You can’t use food language. You can’t use medicine language. Selling someone a new product without being able to say what it is or how to use it is nearly impossible. 

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers?

From a SōRSE competitor! We were actually pointed to an article about SōRSE by the company we were considering. When I read about the efforts SōRSE had made, met the team of food scientists, and ultimately tried the product, there was no other choice! 

With SōRSE, we were not only getting the best of the best in innovative emulsion solutions, but we also entered into a partnership with a powerful team of amazing people. The emulsions we use in our pet products need to seamlessly blend and be consistent every time. We are confident that we get that with SōRSE. 

Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product?

We see this as a true partnership. We believe in what SōRSE is doing and stand behind the solutions they provide. 

Is there a lesson you’ve learned while launching a hemp-infused product line that you’d be willing to share?

Educate yourself! Network, read, research, learn. The more you know about what you are doing, the easier it is to educate others. Partner with other people in the space. You never know where you will find a gem.  

Where do you see your company and brand a year from now? Any plans for new products/flavors in the coming months?

A year from now, we will still be educating pet parents on the amazing benefits of CBD and breaking down barriers that create the stigma around the category. We hope to continue adding completely unique products to our line offering diverse solutions.   

What is your prediction for the cannabis-infused pet products space, and what excites you most about being in this industry?

Being at the forefront of the next stage in the evolution of cannabis-infused pet products is really exciting in and of itself. Pet parents want these types of products for their pets, and they want to be sure they are giving them the best. We predict that this category will continue to grow and evolve and that we will be there as it does!  

Where to Purchase Heirloom Pet Products

Heirloom Pet Products can be purchased on their website https://heirloompets.com/ 

  

Beverage Producers Series: Aprch CBD

Beverage Producer Series: Aprch CBD

To kick ofour Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Aprch, a CBD-infused sparkling water company based in Portland, Oregon, to share their story. We were curious about why they decided to enter the industry, what their mission and values are, and why they chose SōRSE as their emulsion supplier. SōRSE has been working with Aprch for two years now; we can’t wait to try their new summer flavor, Coconut+Papaya, and see what their newest product offering will be this Fall, as well as Volume 2 of their Artist Series. 

Can you start by sharing a bit of Aprch’s background with us, and what inspired your team to create a hemp-infused product line?

Aprch is a collaborative effort. Our team comes from professional backgrounds in the outdoor, beverage and cannabis industries, and we all enjoy spending time outside adventuring. When we set out to create Aprch, we wanted to create a better-for-you beverage, a beverage that would help us before, during, and after our activities outside. Our CBD Sparkling Water is the first brand in the wellness beverage category we set out to create, and we have continued to innovate and grow our portfolio.  

What excites you most about being in this industry?

It’s rare that new categories come along, and the CBD beverage market is still in its infancy. Since some of the bigger beverage manufacturers are not involved yet, we are seeing a wave of small new brands. It is exciting to see the different directions the brands within the CBD beverage space are taking their product and brand marketing.   

Tell us more about Aprch. What are your company’s mission and core values, and have they evolved since the company’s inception?

Aprch is inspired by adventure, integrity, health, and the environment. We approach our lives thoughtfully, and we implement the same thoughtful process to create better-for-you beverages. We aim to nourish with every sip by creating drinks that are good for us. Since the brand’s inception, we have not strayed from our original mission and values, which are to create refreshing and delicious wellness beverages, while finding fulfillment in life.  

How do you educate your consumers on CBD and how to use your product in their daily routine?  

Since the CBD market is new to many consumers, we have taken an up-front approach and added our ABC’s of CBD to all of our 4-packs and website. This helps our customers know that when they are buying an Aprch product, they are buying the highest quality product available. A lot of people are still learning the difference between isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum, and that is a key thing we can help educate people on. We were very intentional about making a product that is high quality and accurately dosed, but not super expensive so that people could incorporate it into their daily routines, as opposed to every now and then.  

What was the most difficult part about getting your product to market?

The hardest part for us was finding a reliable CBD partner, a partner that actually knew what they were doing, had product that tested correctly, and had a background in beverages. We went through many before landing on SōRSE. 

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers?

We found SōRSE through an online search, and SōRSE’s emulsions worked. Period. We worked with SōRSE to create a proprietary and custom broad spectrum blend for Aprch; we love it because our blend tests correctly every time, it is bioavailable, works with our production, and it tastes exactly how we want it to.  

Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product?

We chose to add “Powered by SōRSE” to our product to let our customers know that when they are buying an Aprch product, they are buying the highest quality product possible. The “Powered by SōRSE” badge is much like “Gore-Tex” within the outdoor industry. When you buy a product that says “Gore-Tex,” you know you are getting the best product for the elements.; When you buy a “Powered by SōRSE,” you know that the product has been vetted by SōRSE, and you are buying a premium product.  

Is there a lesson you’ve learned while launching a hemp-infused product that you’d be willing to share?

The market is still relatively small, and there is a lot of room for growth. You have to have an entrepreneurial mindset if you want to make it in this new-to-market category and be prepared for a long-term growth strategy. Also, if you’re launching a hemp-infused product, make sure it tastes great. You want to be able to have repeat customers, not just trial customers.  

Where do you see your company and brand a year from now? Any plans for new products/flavors in the coming months?

We will continue to grow our customer base through expanded distribution and will release new innovations. We recently launched Volume 1 of the Aprch Artist Series, featuring artwork by Ty Williams, and our new summer flavor, Coconut+Papaya, and will grow the series for years to come. Our first product for Aprch was our CBD Sparkling Water, and we’re looking forward to launching another new product in September of 2021. 

What is your prediction for the cannabis-infused space?  

Growth, acceptance, adoption, and continued education. It’s exciting to see where this new category will go.  

Where to Purchase Aprch

Aprch can be purchased on their website www.drinkaprch.com.  

The New Frontier of Infused Products: Powered by Custom Emulsions

Custom Emulsions Powered by SoRSE

The emergence of CBD has been a game-changer for the cannabis industry. Prior to 2018, as more states legalized medicinal and creational cannabis use, THC was the cannabinoid most consumers were familiar with. Yet when the US Farm Bill passed at the end of 2018, which made growing hemp legal, the cannabinoid CBD quickly became something that consumers were interested in, given its purported therapeutic effects. That also meant CBD became the launching platform for many product categories. In 2019, product designers were quick to develop CBD products for the marketplace like tinctures, gummies, and capsules, followed by beverages, baked goods, and confections to capitalize on consumer interest.  

In 2019 when CBD products started to emerge, the main decision a product producer had to make was whether to choose Isolate or Broad Spectrum CBD for their product, depending on the flavor profile they wanted to achieve or whether or not they wanted the consumer to benefit from the Entourage Effect. A lot has changed since then, as the opportunity to go beyond those two choices is seemingly limitless.  

2020 and Beyond: The Evolution and Expansion of Infused Products  

 The CBD-infused product market that has matured and grown rapidly in the last several years, with brands establishing themselves and gaining a good foothold in the market. In that time, consumers have also become more accepting and more knowledgeable about CBD. These informed and experienced consumers who may have tried numerous products have elevated expectations when it comes to what they purchase, and with each new product innovation, the bar is raised higher. In 2021, the CBD market is poised to evolve and differentiate itself, allowing product developers to take their brand to the next level. The next wave of products in this ever-popular, ever-expanding marketplace will feature custom emulsion blends with ingredient pairings and combinations; this movement will create differentiation in product lines. Given the number of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, adaptogens, and nootropics that could be paired with CBD, the unique combination possibilities are truly endless.  

The New Frontier: CBD + (fill in the blank)  

Now more than ever, consumers are highly focused on their wellness and are seeking out products that feature ingredients they believe have significant health benefits. Moving forward, this likely means that product developers will look to pair CBD with functional ingredients like Zinc, Vitamin C, Melatonin, L-theanine, nootropics, or adaptogens. Currently, there are a number of products on the market featuring CBD and Magnesium and L. theanine. Magnesium is a mineral that is critical for helping the body operate properly, particularly for those suffering from inflammation, as it supports muscle and nerve function. L. theanine is an amino acid found in green and black tea as well as some mushrooms; people use it to improve cognitive function as well as for stress and anxiety. Product developers are also pairing CBD with secondary cannabinoids like CBN, CBC, and CBG and as well as prioritizing products that are clean label – organic, natural, and/or vegan. 

These product development decisions are typically grounded in the brand’s goals and objectives and what the path forward should be based on the customers’ needs. If more brands expand their lines in this way, the market will likely see products with increasingly unique combinations of functional ingredients created for a specific therapeutic effect. For more information on functional ingredients trends, check out our two-part blog post, “All About Adaptogens” and “Restoring Protein, Balancing Gut Health, and Boosting Immunity.” 

Your RESōRSE for the New Frontier 

As brands look to expand their offerings to include products infused with CBD and other functional ingredients, SōRSE has positioned itself to be a full solution provider, as a collaborator in the product development process, and as a solution-oriented, strategic partner. Beyond providing a delivery system for bioactive compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes, adaptogens and nootropics, our R & D team is comprised of formulation experts who are always up for a challenge. When a product developer works with SōRSE, they have the full support of the team to get the product off the ground, as well as access to our certified network of suppliers and co-manufacturers. Through each phase of the product development process – ideation, custom emulsion creation, quality assurance and testing, production planning – SōRSE is a partner and resource to its customers. Take the first step by booking a call today to tell us what you hope to achieve with your brand so we can help make your dream of a new infused product a reality.   

Powered By SōRSE Partner Spotlight: Mad Tasty

Mad Tasty Yuzu Citrus

Contrary to popular belief, being in a band is not all sunshine, roses, and adoring fans. Whether you’re a solo artist, duo or multi-piece band, it takes a lot of time, energy, creativity, and effort to make, record, perform, and market music. Someone who knows this well is Ryan Tedder, front man for the band OneRepublic. Over the course of his career, Ryan has shown the ability to capture the feelings and experiences that matter to people and put them in songs; now, he has taken those same feelings and experiences and put them into Mad Tasty, his CBD beverage brand.    

In 2018, after a few tough years on the road (in 2016, the band logged 400,000 miles) and dealing with anxiety and sleep issues, Tedder decided to start his own brand of CBD-infused sparkling water called Mad Tasty, having spent a great deal of time researching CBD and its potential health benefits. He decided to name the brand Mad Tasty because he wanted something approachable, fun, and delicious that his friends, family, and fans would love to drink. Tedder knew that it was important to hydrate over the course of the day, but he didn’t love how water tasted, so he decided to create a beverage he would want to drink that featured CBD because he liked how it made him feel. The challenge was finding the right partner to help him create flavor profiles as well as provide the emulsion that would seamlessly deliver the CBD.  

STARTING THE JOURNEY: REFINING THE CONCEPT 

The team at SōRSE started working with Tedder on Mad Tasty in the fall of 2018. Michelle Sundquist, Director of Commercialization (aka “the Jedi of flavor”), and the members of the R&D team worked hand in hand with Tedder to develop the beverages that launched in the spring of 2019. When asked to describe the experience working with Tedder from concept to commercialization, Sundquist commented, “Our initial conversations with Ryan were really focused on the kind of experience he wanted his friends and family to have. Because he was so excited to share his experience with others, he wanted to try to find a way to get the drinks to market quickly. In order to help Ryan reach his goal, we focused on ingredients and flavors that would be popular and that we knew would provide a stable flavor platform. He also wanted a beverage that was really flavorful but not loaded with calories, that you could drink a few of without feeling full. That’s how Mad Tasty as a flavored sparkling water came to be.”   

DEVELOPING FLAVOR PROFILES 

In terms of coming up with Mad Tasty’s first two flavors, Sundquist stated, “We wanted to create a clean flavor profile, so we built the beverages around our emulsion’s citrusy, slightly tangy notes. Grapefruit was the first flavor that paired really well with it. The slight bitter notes of our emulsion added to the pithy notes you find with grapefruit juice. We also really liked the sweetness and softness of watermelon; pairing watermelon with kiwi gave the drink another layer of depth and pop. We worked really closely with Ryan as we experimented with flavor and carbonation, adjusting them as needed to match the beverage he had imagined. We all wanted the consumer to open the beverage and be immediately hit with flavor and bubbles. They’d start to drink it, and it would be instantly refreshing.”  

 DETERMINING DOSING 

At the time Mad Tasty was being formulated, most producers were creating low dose beverages, in the 10 to 15 mg range. Sundquist commented, “10 mgs was pretty much the standard in 2017. We decided to bump it up to 20 mg because we wanted to make sure that Ryan’s audience was getting a good value and experience with the beverage.”  

ADDING TO THE OFFERINGS 

Two months after the initial meeting, the SōRSE team met with Tedder again to sample some prototypes and further build out the product’s story. Sundquist commented, “In late 2018, we did all the beverage design, and we had the first cans coming off the production line in mid-February of 2019. Once we got the first two flavors off the ground, we started working on the profile for Mad Tasty’s third flavor, Unicorn Tears. With that beverage, we were trying to create the feeling of something magical, given the drink’s unique name. The flavors in that are playful and tropical – it’s a base of white tea with a touch of Dragon fruit and a drop of POG, a childhood favorite. That beverage launched summer of 2020.” Tedder continues to grow Mad Tasty one product at a time; Mad Tasty launched a line of wellness shots and a new flavor, Yuzu Citrus, in Summer 2021.

REFLECTING ON THE PARTNERSHIP  

When Sundquist reflected on SōRSE’s partnership with Mad Tasty and formulating the beverages, she brought up Tedder’s commitment to creating a quality product as well as providing people with clean water around the world. “Early on we were eager to be a part of this project, because of Ryan’s goal to give back to the community and promoting access to clean water. For every 12 ounce can of Mad Tasty sold, the company donates 12 ounces of clean water to people in places in need through their partnership with Drop4Drop. That was a great reason to do everything we could to make these products successful. Being there on site, watching Mad Tasty be produced proved that our emulsion was truly easy to integrate into the production process. The experience also solidified my belief in our technology and what we are doing to move the industry forward.” 

If you are a product developer who has a great idea for infused product and needs help further developing your concept with the goal of getting your product to market efficiently, our R&D team is happy to walk through the process with you and recommend a SōRSE emulsion that best fits your needs, just as we did with Mad Tasty. Book a call with our team today! 

  

 

  

  

  

Going the Extra Mile: Mobile Runs Powered by SōRSE

A point of pride for the SōRSE team is our relationship with our clients and our willingness to help in whatever way we can to get their product to market – from recommending flavor profiles to connecting them with co-manufacturers. 

Nearly a year ago, one of our clients, Cann, a low dose social tonic, was looking to expand to other legal markets beyond California where they are based, but they did not have a way to produce SōRSE emulsion, the backbone of their beverage. Zach Hershberger, our Operations Managerand the Operations team put their heads together and came up with a plan – create a mobile unit and take production on the road.  

Recently we sat down with Zach, who has executed many of the mobile production runs, to talk about how this service came to be, what they entail, the benefits this provides to a client like Cann, and the service might expand in the future.  

What is the genesis story of the first mobile run? 

The whole process was born out of a request from Cann, who wanted to expand to Nevada. They basically said that “There was no Cann without SōRSE, that SōRSE was an integral part of their product. That led to them asking if we could produce SōRSE with their license holder in Nevada. At first we thought it was going to be pretty tough to install a lab in a new location, but then we realized it was feasible to take our equipment on the road and set up shop at the license’s facility. That first trip to Nevada was May of 2020.  

How did SōRSE’s and your relationship with Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock from Cann develop over time? 

I had just started at SōRSE when the company was ramping up emulsion production when Luke and Jake, Cann’s Co-Founders, visited the office in Seattle as they were evaluating emulsion suppliers. At that point, they were planning on operating out of San Diego. I shared some of my experience working at GreenMed Labs where we produced Happy Apple, just to give them an idea of what beverage production entailed. At that point, they knew what their product was going to be; they just weren’t sure where and how they were going to make it. I think one reason they went with us is that they realized we understood what they needed to accomplish.   

After they signed on with us as a client, I made sure they were taken care of, oversaw the production of their emulsion in California, and coached them through the processes that they needed to get production off the ground. Eventually they hired Ishan Kapoor, their Director of Operations, and I have been working with him since.  

What did you think of the idea behind Cann’s product, a low dose social tonic?  

I like the idea of a low dose beverage – I think it’s a great entry point for someone who is curious about infused beverages. It seemed like they had good idea behind it – a beverage to replace an alcoholic drink – and I really appreciated their commitment to using high quality ingredients. They refuse to compromise on the quality, and it shows in their product. It really seemed like a craft beverage.  

What does the timeline look like for planning and executing a mobile run? 

The calendar and the planning really depend on where we are going. If we are going across the country, it takes time to ship the equipment to the location. If we are driving, you have to factor in the travel time.  We recently introduced a second crate of equipment to the mix, so that should make things a little easier.  

The timeline works like this: A customer contacts us and asks us when we can make it; then our team looks at the calendar to establish a date. Once confirmed, we get the run on the calendar and start getting the ball in motion for what we need to do to execute it. That includes sending a packet of information to the client, basically their to-do list, and in turn they need to send us a Certificate of Analysis (COA) of the cannabis raw material they are using. The goal is that two weeks beforehand, we have all the details buttoned up. Facility requirements need to be met so that it is ready to go when we get there.  

Once we get to the facility, we take stock of the material and equipment we shipped and make sure we have everything we need. Then we set up the equipment for production. On Day 2, we start the conversion of the oil to the emulsion, starting the conversion. Converting a kilo typically takes two days using our mobile lab’s equipment. Day 3 is our wrap up, clean up, and package the equipment to be shipped back. I feel good about how efficient we are on these runs; the key to a successful run is maximizing our time so that we are not wasting our resources.  

In what states have you done mobile runs since this service started? 

We’ve gone to California, Nevada, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Illinois. 

What do you enjoy about mobile runs? What’s challenging about them?

What’s cool is seeing the interest and curiosity of the people working at the license facility in what we are doing and whyBasically when this big crate arrives, they are wondering what’s in it, and then once we arrive and set it up, they are wondering what we’re doing with it. This process is very different from the other processes going on at the facility, and they are inherently curious about what companies do with the emulsion. We find ourselves explaining what we are doing, who we are doing it for, and why. This exposes them to a world beyond flower – something so different from what they are used to.   

The challenges are adapting to the different facilities, assessing the spaces where we are working, and being able to respond to situations and snags quickly. At this point we are used to it – and we have learned how to adapt to new environments and problem-solve quickly.  

Why do you think it is important that SōRSE offer this service, and how does it benefit a partner like Cann? How does it benefit SōRSE? 

I think that offering this level of service to our clients shows that we see ourselves as partners in their expansion and overall success. It also gives our clients consistency in their product because we are using the same equipment and ingredients we do at our own facility. I think they know that not every supplier will have the capability to do a run in a new state like we do. Mobile runs have been beneficial for us, because we have been able introduced to partners and potential partners in new states. We have also learned a lot about how licenses work, and how differently they operate. 

 A year from now, what will mobile runs look like for SōRSE? 

If things continue to progress the way they have been, I think we will have more employees on the road doing these conversions. I see us doing higher volumes through trusted locations instead of small volumes in many locations – maybe two to three conversions a month. We will look to find trusted partners in each state where we can work consistently. Those partners can then act as a reseller to other companies who are interested in SōRSE.  I would love to see us get to a point where the license was wholesaling SōRSE to other companies for make their own products.  

 

Water-Soluble Technology: The Solution For Personal Care Products

From the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep, personal care products are an integral part of our daily routines.  

Personal care products are divided into three categories  

  • Skin careFacial cleansers, hand soaps, body wash, moisturizers, lotions, make-up, and bath bombs 
  • Hair care: Shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, serums, and styling products 
  • Oral care: Toothpaste, mouthwash, and lip balm  

What makes a consumer loyal to their personal care productsThere are a few factorsFirst are the product’s sensory attributes – people want products that smell, feel, and in the case of oral care, taste good. Second, consumers prefer products that are easy to integrate into their daily routine and that are accurately dosed. Third, consumers need a product that consistently delivers the result or effect they are seeking 

 In the past few years, CBD has become an important part of people’s health and wellness routines. Outside of it being a natural plant extract, consumers gravitate towards CBD for a number of reasons, including its ability to address dermal concerns such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.   

When infusing personal care products with CBD, product producers have two options to choose from – oil or a water-soluble emulsion. When weighing the pros and cons of each, it’s important to keep sight of the consumer’s priorities. If the product doesn’t look good on a store shelf, they won’t notice it. If it doesn’t smell good, they won’t apply it. If it doesn’t feel good, they’ll remove it. If they do buy it and it isn’t easy to use, they won’t buy it again.  

CBD Oil for Personal Care: The Problems  

CBD oil is extracted from the plant; this format can pose problems for both the consumer and producer. For the consumer, oil-based products can separate, which leads to inaccurate dosing. The pungent cannabis smell can be off-putting, and the residue of oil can stain clothing. For the producer, oil needs to be incorporated early in production and requires special equipment and additional production stepsAdditionally, while oil makes sense for some personal care product formats, it is not compatible with many.  

Water-Soluble Emulsions for Personal CareThe Solution 

An emulsion is a transformation and dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid (in this case, CBD oil) into another in which it is not soluble. Because oil-based ingredients are tricky to work with, they are commonly emulsified for ease of use for product developers. There are many benefits to replacing oil-based ingredients with water-soluble emulsions that impact both the producer and the consumer. 

Improved Sensory  

With personal care, you’re not just selling a product; you’re selling a sensory experience. A water-soluble emulsion complements common personal care product ingredients such as jojobalavenderhoney, and vitamin CIt does not carry the cannabis sensory elements that some consumers find unappealing, and ieliminates the residue associated with oil-based products.  

 Accurate Dosing 

The potency of CBD oil can vary from batch to batch, meaning loading levels need to be adjusted for accurate dosing. In contrast, a water-soluble emulsion is easy to formulate to a target potency. Because the emulsion is homogeneous, the CBD will be evenly dispersed throughout the product, resulting in consistent and accurate dosing.  

 Versatility 

Simple modifications to a base product formula allow product developers to create multiple SKUs. These modifications can include varying the dosage levels, offering new scents via essential oils and terpenes, and utilizing other sensory modifiers. The more SKUs offered, the more legitimacy the products have in the marketplace, and the more appealing the products will be to retailers and consumers.  

 Seamless Integration 

Most personal care products primarily consist of water. A water-soluble emulsion can replace a portion of the water in the product formulation in one step to achieve the desired cannabinoid content while still maintaining product integrity. A process that makes it easy to integrate the emulsion also means that it is easy to scale up. Using a water-soluble emulsion does not require extra heating or equipment and is compatible with small and large-scale manufacturing.  

To ensure successful commercialization of your finished product, look for a co-manufacturer to produce your finished product, make sure your co-manufacturer has produced a product similar to yours. Ideally the facility will be close in proximity to your target market, which will save you money when it comes time to distribute the product.  

SōRSE 7.5%: The Best Choice for Integrating CBD into Personal Care Items 

CBDinfused personal care products are not newbut they can be better by using water-soluble CBD emulsion. The consumer will benefit from an improved sensory and more consistent, accurate dosing experience. The producer will benefit from a seamless one-step integration into the product formula, which will allow for scale and multiple SKUs with simple modifications.  

Create a product that lives up to its hype; come to the SōRSE.   

Request a sample of SōRSE 7.5% today! 

 

What You Need To Know When Evaluating Water-Soluble CBD Emulsions

For those who are not familiar with emulsionsthey are defined as transformations and dispersions of minute droplets from one liquid into another that are not solubleA great example of an emulsion is salad dressing. The oil in the dressing is lighter than the vinegar, which is why it rises to the top. To get the oil to mix with the vinegar, agitation in the form of vigorous shaking will get the two ingredients to mix – but they will eventually separate.Similarly, oil and water do not play well with each other, which is why using a cannabinoid emulsion for food and beverages is great option for companies producing infused products.  

While it is common for product developers to use emulsions when working with tricky oil-based ingredients, not all emulsions are created equal. While emulsion technology has improved, there are still challenges working with cannabinoids such as negative sensory attributes, shelf life, homogeneity, scalping, and the ability to scaleHere are some tips for the evaluation process. 

TIP #1: Know Exactly What You Are Looking for in Your Emulsion 

When you start evaluating emulsions, you should already know what desired effect and qualities you want, as well as the services you need to get your product to market.   

Do you want your flavor profile to be clean or earthy? Are you looking for the Entourage Effect, where the cannabinoids and the terpenes work synergistically? In terms of dosage, will your product be micro-dosed or offer a high milligram count? What product certifications are important to you – organic, vegan, or kosher? Lastly, how and where will your product be produced, and what kind of support will you need through the process?  

Throughout the evaluation process, keep your requirements front of mind so you get the right emulsion for your product.  

TIP #2Consider Sensory Profiles  Taste, Smell, Appearance, Texture 

Whether you are producing a food, beverage, or personal care product, the consumer’s sensory experience is an important consideration. With food and beverage, if the product doesn’t smell, taste, or look good, they won’t buy it. With personal care, if the product doesn’t feel or smell good, they won’t put it on their body. There are some negative sensory attributes associated with cannabinoids; how you work with those attributes depends on your target consumer and what sensory experience they are looking for.  

Some consumers want their product to taste like the flavor that’s on the label without any hint of cannabinoid flavor, while others like the sensory attributes cannabinoids carry. Knowing this will help a product developer decide if they want to use an emulsion featuring an isolate which will have clean flavor profile or a broad spectrum emulsion which will feature grassy, earthy, herbaceous notes. It also important to remember that organic, all-naturalkosher or other certifications also impact flavor profile, shelf life, production timeline as well as cost.  

 Tip #3Evaluate Ingredients, Stability, Homogeneity, and Shelf Life 

Getting your infused product on a store shelf is the ultimate goal, but you also need to look at the quality of the emulsion, which includes ingredients, stability, homogeneity, and shelf life. These attributes are critical for providing the consumer with a consistent experience. top quality emulsion begins with high quality raw ingredientsAsk your emulsion supplier about their active and non-active ingredients and review the Product Data Sheets, the Safety Data Sheets, and the Certificate of Analysis (COA) with them. Ask how they test inbound and outbound material, if they utilize internal and third party testing.  

When working with cannabinoids, it’s essential that the emulsion you choose is stable and homogeneous, meaning that the cannabinoids do not separate from the water over time and are evenly dispersed in the emulsion. Proven stability and homogeneity are critical because it will ensure accurate label claims. Your emulsion supplier should be able to verify stability and estimate the shelf-life of their ingredient. Ask how they test for stability, and make sure they provide documentation that verifies the potency on the COA.  

 Tip #4: Discuss How Packaging Impacts the Emulsion 

Packaging should be considered at the beginning stages of product development because it will play an important part in working with a co-man for production and scale up. Make sure your supplier understands how your selected packaging will interact with the cannabinoids in the emulsion.  

 Cans are a popular and  familiar packaging solution, but any product developer knows that where there are cans, there is scalpingScalping is when an ingredient gets absorbed into the can lining, resulting in potency loss.  Scalping and other factors such as manufacturing processes that result in potency loss can be mitigated by careful planning on behalf of your supplier and production partners.   

To achieve accurate dosing that matches your label, you need to factor in potency loss early on.  Most producers will overdose their product and account for loss when they begin production. Guidance should be provided by your production partner.   

TIP #5: Choose an Emulsion Made for Scaling 

Just like any other ingredient in your product, the emulsion should be easy to incorporate into the manufacturing process. This will allow for integration into almost any product format, a seamless transition from small batch to commercial scale production, and ease of use for co-manufacturers, which leaves less room for error. The bottom line is that an emulsion that is easy to incorporate into a production process will also be easy to scale. As you evaluate emulsions, don’t be afraid to ask what support you will need to scale as well as how future FDA rulings might impact your finished product.  

Selecting the emulsion to infuse your product with will be the single-most important decision you make during formulation because it impacts the entire product development process as well as the consumer’s experience with your product. Taste, stability, product consistency, dosing and scalability are all incredibly important attributes in any emulsion. Throughout this evaluation process, remember that you are not only looking at the quality of the emulsion; you are also choosing a strategic partner that can support you from concept to commercialization.  

The team at SōRSE offers liquid and powder emulsions designed for easy integration into food, beverages, and personal care products as well as guidance through every stage of product development. If you are looking for a high-quality emulsion powered by a team of experienced food scientists and product developers to get your product to market fast, come to the SōRSE.