Challenges and Solutions to Flavoring CBD Products
During the last few years, there’s been challenges in getting CBD products into marketing, and more importantly, good flavoring of CBD. In 2018, most CBD products were tinctures, vapes, softgels or capsules, gummies, dog chews, equine pellets, or in the skincare and cosmetics form.
Back in September 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved to insert language into a congressional spending report that calls on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clear a path for the lawful marketing of hemp-derived CBD products.
In draft language shared by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable on Tuesday, the senator is asking FDA to “issue a policy of enforcement discretion with regard to certain products containing CBD” within 120 days. Industry stakeholders say this will clarify rules so that banks are more willing to service CBD companies.
Hydrophobic vs. Oil-based Products
Starting out, all CBD products were hydrophobic/oil-based products. CBD was initially available in two main forms- curde or purified oil extract, or oil soluble powder. These oil-based products were the easiest to make, and required the least amount of effort. All of the previous applications for CBS were the path of least resistance. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, there was a flood of companies looking to be the first to market. The target audience for CBD products were all true CBD believers. Taste was less important than the medicinal properties of it.
As we move into the next generation of CBD products, we’re seeing more variety in the forms that CBD is offered in such as isolate, powdered, crystal, oil, and more. This variety in forms allows greater control over potency and purity. We’re moving from purely “Medicinal” products to more “Lifestyle” product categories. Some new lifestyle products we’re seeing are RTD Beverages, Shots, Infusions, Sleep Aides, Teas, and Lotions. We’re also seeing food products like mints, candies, gum, and chews.
Water Soluble CBD
Unlike the first generation of oil-based products, new water soluble CBD helps reduce stability problems and increases bioavailability. More refined CBD means less variation in consistency. A lower potency with water soluble products makes it easier to flavor these products.
Growing the category from just the “True Believers” and “Innovators” to begin to serve the “Early Adopters” requires a shift in product development. However, there’s a few hurdles in order to move past that initial 2.5% of the market. Kristen Nichols, from MJBiz Magazine, said, “There’s more to crafting a winning CBD beverage than figuring out how to get the cannabinoid into liquid, though. The bigger challenge is making a beverage people want to drink. Consumers want a tasty beverage that competes against fruit juices or heavily sweetened energy drinks, not something that tastes like medicine.”
This is where terpenes enter the picture. Terpenes are aromatic oils found in many plants. These include cannabis varieties that can have distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, piney, nutty, grassy and bitter. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. There are many factors that influence the taste profile of cannabinoids, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, and soil type. Luckily, terpenes can be removed from CBD, but it’s easier to work with them than against them. For example, caryophyllene has a spicy, woody, pepper aroma. Some sample flavors that work with peppery terpenes are peppermint candy, mango chili pepper, cinnamon clove, and hot tamale.
When working with flavors and CBD, formulation will be specific to the strain, source, and delivery method. What you are tasting in CBD products… isn’t pure CBD. It’s the associated terpenes, compounds, chemicals and carriers of that particular ingredient source. As production and processing of CBD improves, the flavor profiles of the CBD of tomorrow won’t be the same as the CBD of today.
If you have unwanted taste in your CBD, an effective way to block unwanted taste attribute is to confuse the tongue with both different and like sensations. Bitter blockers can be sweet, sour, salt, bitter, or umami. Stevia and monk fruit or malic acic can also mask the taste. It’s important to consider the concentration of your CBD. Flavoring a 10% CBD solution is 90% easier than flavoring an 80% CBD solution. In order to flavor a solution, you must consider dilutions, carriers, delivery method, and emulsions. You must also consider water soluble ingredients that you choose to add to your CBD.
There’s lots of aspects that go into making a good CBD product. With so many changes happening in the industry, Sensapure can be a great resource to help perfect your product. Send your approved CBD ingredient to our flavor lab to use as the source of your CBD product. Its use in a base product can make a significant difference in determining the best flavor solution. Give us a call to schedule a consult today.