When it comes to creating the ultimate cannabis brand, it’s all a matter of taste, says Somai Pharmaceuticals founder, chairman and CEO Michael Sassano.
Extractors worldwide constantly innovate product lines to reach their customers and patients better. What I describe as the “golden triangle” – or core components for these adventurous formulators to create a winning product – is taste, effect and pricing (TEP).
Although the weighting of these factors may differ for each producer, one thing never changes when tapping into the market with new extract products – nobody wants to take something daily that tastes bad.
People associate tastes with many emotions and feelings as an overall experience. Let’s dive deeper into addressing consumer taste concerns via purposeful formulation.
Crude cannabis oil for oral applications
Let’s begin with basic oral drops. The European community began by making crude oil-extracted oral drops. Not only is this a bad-tasting product, but it contains many non-essential elements like fats, chlorophyll and waxes that do not benefit the effect.
Because it is so simple, it may only attract a consumer looking for the cheapest product.
The terpenes, no matter which direct extraction methodology is used, are not plentiful (generally under or around 1%) because they are extracted from dried flower.
A case in point: Sativex has failed to gain widespread use of its crude oil extract because the number one complaint is bad taste. The Sativex spray cannot wholly overcome the bad, crude taste profile, even with a lot of peppermint oil.
Over time, this extract will become extinct as a product since it only satisfies effects based on clinical trials rather than taste or price.
Producers will first extract terpenes since they degrade easily. Then, formulators will proceed to their chosen cannabis extraction method.
Since the producer will not need to worry about terpenes, they will purify the extract more, removing many bad-tasting non-essentials. As a final step, they will reintroduce those initially extracted terpenes back to the extract.
This method will increase the available terpenes (generally around 2%) and give a cleaner extract with a better taste and effect. The taste will be more like standard cooking oil rather than having a strong, pungent, crude taste. Additionally, the cost is not much more than crude.
If you want to increase the taste experience, a simple method is to add 2% peppermint flavonoids, and now your taste profile is fantastic. Unlike Sativex, which requires 6% flavonoids, extract done this way requires less, and the experience created is far superior for daily usage. You could even experiment with other natural tastes, like pineapple.
Another prevalent taste-improving method is to boost the extract and make exact mixes of natural terpenes, adding 6-10% more terpenes as flavours.
Not only would you have a better, stronger taste profile, but you would also certainly have a better effect from increased terpenes.
Again, the cost is similar to the terpene reintroduction method described above. Thus, it satisfies the TEP golden triangle when tapping into the overall consumer experience.
Similarly, you can also add flavinoids to enhance the experience, like mango or other trendy, pleasant fruits.
Vape and edible formulations for consumer markets
The formulation of vapes and edibles follows similar paths as those described above, involving pulling terpenes out, purifying the extracts, reintroducing and boosting terpenes, and adding flavinoid experiences. All formulators must consider the same thing: how to give the best effect with a great taste while simultaneously making an affordable daily-use product.
Taste profiles for vapes and edibles have become so competitive that entire taste teams with constant market trials are working around the clock to monitor performance based on specialised taste profiles that people enjoy. These teams ensure they preserve terpenes and minor cannabinoids in the cleanest fashion to avoid unnecessary pollutants that destroy overall satisfaction.
Even products like live resin and live rosin, which are far superior in terpenes and flower richness, have additives to improve the taste. Live resin or rosin vape and edible manufacturers will still add flavonoids to boost the flavour experience.
These products are usually more expensive because of their interesting qualities and rich extract, making people consider them components of better-tasting vapes and edibles. Despite the slightly higher costs, these have become a preferred product due to the increased effect.
Patients and consumers won’t settle for poor-tasting products
When you buy your food, drinks, candy or whatever you eat or drink, you purchase that for many reasons, but one for sure is that you like the taste.
Cannabis-derived products and medicines do not have to taste bad – the highest quality products taste great.
Additionally, making these extracts with more terpenes and better flavonoids is only common sense as markets mature.
The best formulators heavily emphasise good-tasting products once their craft of creating the best effect extract is mastered.
Some people like mint and some watermelon, but the taste, effect and price golden triangle will help your brand tap into the full customer experience.