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.