Foods containing Cannabis (CBD) Texture Measurement

Learn how to keep texture optimised when you formulate with cannabis included

Cannabis (CBD) in chocolate

The growing CBD Edibles Market

We are seeing a fundamental shift in consumers’ mindset that food can improve their wellbeing and play a role in preventing chronic disease. The convergence of food and healthcare is still nascent and is a widely undefined sector. It goes beyond better-for-you products and really explores the clinical and pharmacological impact of food and food derivatives. There are many opportunities in this sector which could be seen as a highly complementary addition to the existing healthcare system.

For example, until recently, CBD was available in forms with a pharmaceutical emphasis, such as tablet supplements, skin gels, vapes or combined with a base oil such as coconut or olive. Possible benefits of CBD include appetite control, anti-sress, anti-anxiety, antioxidant, ant-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effects. Increased consumer awareness of CBD has opened the doors to a plethora of new dosage forms known as CBD Edibles where CBD is found included in food and drink products. “Edibles” are projected to be the fastest growing category of CBD-containing consumer products sold in mainstream retail outlets by 2024, adding $5.7 billion in revenue by that year, according to IRI/BDS Analytics.

CBD can now be found included in products such as coffee, cake, croissants, beverages and pet treats as well as the more obvious gummies, tablets and vapes. Additionally, chefs are including CBD as a novelty ingredient on their restaurant menus. Incorporating CBD is a challenge in many foods due to its strong, earthy and bitter taste. Therefore, it is usually found in foods with a similar flavour pallet, such as chocolate and coffee.

Texture problems associated with foods containing Cannabis

As the edible market grows around the world, the research and development sector must turn its focus to quality control. As with any food product, texture is paramount to consumer acceptance, and the inclusion of a novel ingredient in any product from a mainstream manufacturer must undergo research into the consequent alteration of texture, as well as taste and appearance.

New generations have become increasingly aware of the potential medicinal power of food, according to the consumer research firm NPD Group. “While it is commonly understood that good nutrition promotes general health, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how their food and beverage choices can help them manage and, in some cases, reverse certain medical conditions. However beneficial these new products their uptake will be subject to the usual consumer sensory expectations of which texture is sure to be high on the list. Attempts to launch any product onto the market will fail if the manufacturer ignores the impact that textural contribution will have on their product’s success.

How texture analysis can help in new food development

Stable Micro Systems manufactures instruments that measure the tensile and compressional properties of raw ingredients, individual materials and finished products. It is important to measure the textural properties of food to ensure they match the expectations of a consumer. As with any manufacturing innovation the end-product must go through a quality control process to assess its mechanical (and sensorial) properties. A Texture Analyser is a crucial part of this procedure, giving a reliable way to test products by applying a choice of compression, tension, extrusion, adhesion, bending or cutting tests to measure their physical or textural properties e.g. firmness, stickiness, consistency and bite force, to name but a few.

Linear vs circular economy

A range of Texture Analysers are available varying in maximum force capacity and height options suited to the requirements of the application.

A vast range of probes and fixtures can be attached to the instruments depending upon the product/material to be tested.

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Examples of how Texture Analysers have been applied

A large amount of research in this area of product development occurs in an academic context and often Texture Analysers are used for patent applications. Here we give you an example of how Texture Analysers are actually being applied.

In Finland, researchers from Åbo Akademi University have been investigating data-enriched edible pharmaceuticals (DEEP) of medical cannabis by inkjet printing. Medical cannabis has shown to be effective in various diseases that have not successfully been treated with other marketed drug products. However, the dose of cannabis is highly individual and medical cannabis is prone to misuse. To combat these challenges, the concept of DEEP is introduced. Quick Response code patterns containing lipophilic cannabinoids, i.e., CBT and THC, were printed using a desktop inkjet printer. Different doses of CBD and THC were incorporated in the DEEP by printing various layers of the cannabinoid-containing ink on porous substrates, i.e., solid foams. They used their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to perform mechanical testing of samples. The printed DEEP were still readable after 8 weeks of storage in dry and cold conditions. This approach of ‘in-drug labelling’ instead of ‘drug package labelling’ provides a new possibility for developing a more efficient supply chain of pharmaceuticals. Read more

Published research into Texture Analysis of CBD-containing products has so far been minimal, but this area of research is set to flourish in coming years along with the growing market.

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