Welcome back to the world of Product Development. In this latest blog instalment, we’ll be focusing on how Liift’s first product, CBD Water, was bought to life.
The Medicaleaf team’s objective was clear: Create a bottled Liift CBD water product for a launch in 2020. In our previous blog, you will have seen that the process was broken down into 3 key phases; essentially Ideate, Develop and finally Commercialise. With decades of experience in the food industry, it was our Product Development Director, Dr. Raj Dhami that led the charge! “An instinct I’d finely tuned during my time in the FMCG sector was to challenge new concepts.” Says Dr Raj. “My first question was: Is the Liift CBD Water as new and as novel an idea as the company’s founders believed it was? To answer that, I needed to go shopping; both virtually and physically. Understanding the category we wanted to operate in and the specific sectors within that category were key to bringing any innovation to the marketplace. This was effectively my first phase of the acquiring of relevant data.”
With initial sector research having been completed in early 2019, it was Dr Raj who delved deeper into the global CBD market and completed a matrix of all of the fundamental aspects that would bring success to the Liift brand. Questions asked and knowledge reviewed, we needed to know the sector landscape intimately. So, What CBD drinks and other products are already available? Is anyone making a flavoured CBD water? How much CBD is in them? How much do they cost? Are there any specific flavour trends? Who are they appealing to?
The answers to all of these questions and more have helped refine the offering, but essentially the continuous research served to validate that Liift CBD water was a great idea.
Contemporaneously, it was vital to establish relationships with potential 3rd party manufacturers to support the development of our CBD Waters. People and companies who ‘got us’ and shared our enthusiasm and vision to create healthy, great tasting products. The team we have found were incredible. Not only do they have great facilities, laboratories and manufacturing capability, but they are also highly experienced in the product development process too. We are making a great team.
Dr Raj continues “Armed with a number of potential flavour combinations, recommended by the founders no less, and some stringent key brand and ethical requirements for the products, we headed to our new business partners to commence the development of the drinks and to do some rigorous taste testing. In terms of these ‘brand and ethical requirements’, with a focus on wellness, health and lifestyle, Liift Water was to contain a fixed amount of CBD, only natural flavours and have no artificial sweeteners.”
Developing a great-tasting drink is made a little tougher when the main differentiating ingredient (CBD) brings its own characteristic flavour note to the table. Part of the development challenge was therefore to use flavours that combined well with the CBD or indeed could mask its presence altogether. This taste testing trials were yet another phase of data acquiring to improve our offering.
We completed a total of three product development sessions with the manufacturing partners alone. Then after a further three tasting trials with the team and a selection of target market consumers, we finally arrived at final versions of our four flavour variants. Medicaleaf and Liift could not be happier with the final products and consumer reaction has been incredibly positive. www.liiftcbd.com for more information.
In our next Product Development blog:
Packaging selection and the challenges of making a CBD product at manufacturing production scale.
Welcome to the first in a series of blogposts discussing the product development philosophy that helps drive the Liift CBD brand forward.
In this blogpost, we will be focussing on the product development process as a whole and how Liift are aspiring to emulate the likes of the big household names of Cadbury, Britvic and United Biscuits in how they bring great tasting CBD products to the marketplace. In later blogs, we will delving more deeply into topics such as how we developed our methodology to produce our Liift CBD Waters, the importance of packaging and how we are addressing the novel food submission criteria set by the FSA.
Developing a product, be it for the food category or any other, is essentially split into three key phases:
In multi-national companies in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, the progression from one phase to the next is driven by the acquisition of data and the assessment and management of risk. In order to launch products at that scale, there must be careful consideration to the potential risks (or rewards) to their flagship heritage brands. This desire for data, quantification and mitigation of risk is a key factor to success.
The downside is that it creates a certain level of risk aversion; but not only that, fundamentally, it takes time. This is where agile, organically growing organisations have stepped in to fill the gap; to bring innovations to the marketplace at a pace that is quicker than the “monoliths” of the food industry. This is how it is for the CBD industry. There are no big players making products containing CBD – not surprising really – one only has to look at how long it took Pepsi to bring an energy drink to the market vs. when Red Bull first start selling its products back in the 1990s.
It is also vitally important to talk about the consumer. To the giants of the FMCG sector, the consumer is king. Making products that target a specific consumer need, consumption moment and / or consumer trend is at the heart of what they do. Being consumer-centric, testing, re-testing and testing again with consumers is how a product eventually sees the light of day. Confidence in commercial success through consumer-based data.
Liift uses the principles of approach that the big players deploy in terms of the acquisition of relevant data in order to fuel decision making, but we are bold in making informed, intuitive, aligned steps forward when such data is not available. It is also to put our consumer first – not only in the development of great-tasting products but also in terms of product quality assurance. We want consumers to reach for that bottle of Liift water (or click on the Liift icon) over the competition because they know the product delivers time and time again.
In next week’s blogpost, we’ll dig further into the detail behind the commercialisation of Liift’s first product to market, Liift CBD water.
You’d be forgiven for knowing nothing about CBD gummies, what they are, and which ones are the best CBD gummies to buy online – but not for finding out why you’ve missed what’s going on!
There is now no denying the medicinal value of CBD and THC. The law in the UK changed last November and medicinal cannabis products were moved from schedule 1 (meaning they’d got no medicinal value) to schedule 2 which allows doctors to prescribe them in certain circumstances and effectively rubber-stamped the cultivation and export of the world’s largest medicinal cannabis crop.
It’s likely you will start to hear much more about the benefits of CBD that it’s a safer alternative to opioids and other addictive prescription drugs with severe side effects or that it’s the only thing providing real relief from patients debilitating symptoms or calms their fits.
Just this week, Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show featured Emma Appleby whose daughter Teagan suffers from Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and experiences 300 epileptic seizures per day. She shared her extraordinary experience with medical cannabis and reports that since the first dose in 13 April 2019 Teagan immediately no – yes zero – daytime seizures.
The show also highlighted the family’s struggle to get a prescription and to source the medical cannabis once they had – other than from abroad with consequent import difficulties and costing £2,500 each.
These are just some of the areas that this emerging market and developing industry is faced with addressing. Whilst many still hold the belief that the medicinal benefits of cannabis are unproven or even that its therapeutic use is a dangerous step towards full legislation, there is no question that there is great interest and a huge wave of change unfolding with new research giving increasing confidence that CBD is potentially the biggest therapeutic breakthrough, the new medicine.
We are not the first Company to enter the Medical Marijuana arena but our team of seasoned professionals possess a wealth of experience in many key areas. Medicaleaf Limited is involved in all areas of the emerging industry, an industry leader in the UK and about to launch a range of beneficial CBD products as a trusted brand for UK consumers to understand, access and benefit safely from CBD.
So, CBD Gummies may not be your preferred choice but on the launch of our website today, and as products, research and development are rolled out – we look forward supporting your wellness from nature.