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03/17/2022

Got CBD? Get gummies: The popular form factor offers a consumer-pleasing opportunity

Accurate dosing, taste and texture make the delivery format a favorite among consumers.

When the hemp CBD craze stormed the country about five years ago, manufacturers delivered consumer products via tincture bottles. The delivery format of CBD oil was a little messy, and shoppers did not always get the dosage exactly right when they squirted a little oil under their tongues. 

But if there’s one thing that can be said about the CBD business, it’s innovative. Oils are so 2019. Just like regular supplements, CBD can now be found in the most popular way shoppers enjoy taking any supplement — gummies. 

Gummies are easy to take, they allow for more accurate dosing compared to liquid oils, plus they can have attractive flavors and can often accommodate co-ingredients within the soft and sweet morsels. 

[Read more: Are CBD topicals the only way to play?]

“These were significant considerations in our decision to launch our Sleep and Calm products as gummies,” said Tim Hitchman, vice president of operations for pioneering hemp CBD brand CV Sciences, makers of +PlusCBD. “That’s why gummies are a very popular form factor amongst consumers.” 

Another possible consideration to think about is the target consumer as well as the downstream health concern. This is important for both brands and retailers keen on maintaining a diverse set of brands, applications and product formats. So while gummies might make more sense for a daily sleep gummy, a hemp CBD product aimed at relieving muscle aches and pains might be better suited as a topical cream or balm. 

Gummies, it bears mentioning, can be trickier to formulate than one might imagine. It is not always possible to formulate ingredients — especially ones with bitter notes — into gummies due to challenging flavor profiles. Other ingredients can affect the stability or consistency of the gummy matrix.

“If it is necessary to mask unpalatable flavors or adjust pH, it can take numerous iterations to get the formulation right.” — Tim Hitchman, vice president of operations, CV Sciences

Another possible consideration to think about is the target consumer as well as the downstream health concern. This is important for both brands and retailers keen on maintaining a diverse set of brands, applications and product formats. So while gummies might make more sense for a daily sleep gummy, a hemp CBD product aimed at relieving muscle aches and pains might be better suited as a topical cream or balm. 

Gummies, it bears mentioning, can be trickier to formulate than one might imagine. It is not always possible to formulate ingredients — especially ones with bitter notes — into gummies due to challenging flavor profiles. Other ingredients can affect the stability or consistency of the gummy matrix. 

[Read more: Kristen Bell’s Happy Dance broadens distribution]

“Taste and texture are critical,” said Ola Lessard, chief marketing officer at pioneering brand HempFusion, which specializes in blending hemp CBD with other herbs and nutrients to address specific health concerns. “We worked really hard to get both of those things right as we developed both our regular CBD gummies and our CBD + Elderberry Immune Support gummies.”

Lessard said for brands to get it right, it requires close collaboration between R&D, marketing and the contract manufacturing team that specializes in gummies.

“If it is necessary to mask unpalatable flavors or adjust pH, it can take numerous iterations to get the formulation right,” Hitchman said. “In extreme cases, it may be necessary to run pilot production batches to confirm flavor and consistency of the final product.” 

A well-created gummy can deliver the necessary dosage along with a superb taste and texture that will delight shoppers. That bonus X factor in supplement intake — taste and flavor sensations — is no small thing. It’s always the No. 1 concern with foods and beverages, so it becomes equally important with taste-forward gummies. 

[Read more: Dosist health, Elixinol earn top honors at ECRM’s Hemp/CBD Health & Beauty Care program]

“Is the person actually going to use this product as instructed to obtain the benefit? That’s where gummies come in,” Lessard said. “Let’s be honest: Grown-ups are really just big kids. Common sense tells us that we’re all more likely to take a supplement we actually enjoy, but the data also backs that up — gummies are far and away the No. 1 CBD format among consumers.” 

So in the end, if someone would rather take hemp CBD in gummy format because they enjoy it, then retailers should offer the best quality and most delicious gummy they can find. Unlike capsules and tablets, gummies offer retailers the power to sample the product themselves to see if the gummy really is as delicious as claimed. Your taste buds are asking you to get them involved in your selection process. 

Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Recovery, 60 gummies, SRP: $44.99
The O.G. and market leader of the hemp CBD world, Charlotte’s Web produces a broad range of products in oils, capsules, topicals, sprays and gummies. This SKU helps people on the move who might suffer from exercise-induced inflammatory discomfort. Turmeric and ginger help the 10 mg of CBD per gummy, and each gummy contains 1.5 g of sugar. 

HempFusion CBD Immune Support Gummies, 30 gummies, SRP: $29.99
HempFusion lives up to its name by using 100 mg of real elderberries for an immune kick blended with 10 mg of organic, DNA-verified, heirloom hemp extract per gummy. The entire product is non-GMO and is tested by a third party, ISO-certified lab to ensure potency and compliance. The gummies are gluten free, vegan and contain 2 g of sugar per piece. 

CV Sciences Sleep, 30 gummies, SRP: $29.99 
Two new wellness blends — Sleep and Calm — from CV Sciences have gummies using 2 g of organic sugar to sweeten the old school supplement-style formulation that starts with 20 mg of hemp CBD extract. The company then added 3 g of melatonin to support a body’s natural sleep/wake cycle, magnolia to relieve occasional anxiety and lemon balm as a calming mint. 

Harmony Sleep CBD/CBN gummies, 30 gummies, SRP: $34.99
Harmony is a trend-setting, certified USDA organic hemp brand that develops condition-specific products using CBD as well as minor cannabinoids (in this case, dozy CBN) and complementary ingredients. The company also grows, extracts, bottles and distributes its own from its South Carolina property, using regenerative practices in its farming methods. The orange flavored sleep gummies contain 20 mg of CBD per serving, 10 mg snoozy CBN per gummy and 2 mg of supplement-style sleep standby melatonin per gummy. 

Healist Calm Chews, 46 chews, SRP: $79.99
Chronic stress is reportedly the sixth leading cause of death worldwide, costing U.S. businesses some $300 billion a year. Hemp can help with that. Healist uses hemp CBD as a base, then adds the master adaptogenic herb called ashwagandha, which is used to bring the body back to balance. L-theanine is the green tea compound found to bring about calm without drowsiness. A custom calming terpene blend supports the body in chilling out stress and feelings of anxiety. 

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