Living in Colorado, a state known for its innovative food and drink, our Accounts Manager Shuang Han is used to making delicious discoveries almost daily. But when she tried a spoonful of the handcrafted CBD-infused ice creams made by RoseBud, a pioneering Denver-based company, she knew she was onto something special and possibly game-changing.
“My first reaction was ‘oh my gosh, I need more of this ice cream, and we need to work with this company ASAP!’” she recalls.
Shuang had caught wind of RoseBud through an annual pitch slam hosted by Naturally Boulder, a local nonprofit dedicated to nurturing natural and organic products businesses. “Incredibly intrigued” by flavors like OG Dreamsicle, Mounty Maple, and Lemon Hazeberry, she immediately reached out to RoseBud’s founder Samuel Rose.
The conversation convinced her. “The level of quality, care, and R&D that the company invests into its products is obvious, and their ability to pivot to consider consumer feedback is what makes RoseBud an ideal partner for Caliper Ingredients.” R&D departments at both companies started connecting, and the partnership became official in March.
The level of quality, care and R&D [RoseBud] invests into its products is obvious…they’re an ideal partner for Caliper Ingredients.”
Ice Cream Loves CBD
RoseBud’s sweet, vivid flavors naturally offset bitterness—a particular concern with CBD. But what really makes their concoctions an ideal vehicle are their manufacturing processes and the cold temperatures, Shuang says. “The vigorous mixing parameter ensures that the final product is homogenous. And, at freezing temperatures, there is minimal possibility of physical separation or chemical degradation, which means the CBD in ice cream has great shelf stability.”
Of course, there are the challenges that come with producing any ice cream product. “It can be tricky to work with inclusions such as strawberries, chocolate chips, or cookie dough,” she explains. “Another issue is overrun, which affects the texture of ice cream. You don’t want ice cream to be too dense and you don’t want it too airy.”
These kinds of challenges are where Caliper’s highly experienced R&D team and processing capabilities can make a huge difference for a brand. “Our food scientists and manufacturing/quality experts bring decades of expertise from leading CPG companies like Danone, M & M/Mars, and General Mills, so they’re able to troubleshoot quickly,” Shuang explains. “We’ve also been in the cannabinoids space for as long as cannabinoids have been in Colorado—over seven years now—and that experience is critical to bringing brands successfully to market. ”
We’ve been in the cannabinoids space for as long as cannabinoids have been in Colorado—over seven years now—and that experience is critical to bringing brands successfully to market.”
With that experience comes emotional intelligence, too, she adds. “As leaders in this space, we understand what we’re good at, and also challenge ourselves to be constantly improving. This gives us the freedom to be innovative, but in a clear-eyed way.” Collaboration is central to the process. “We have a deep commitment to our clients’ business goals, and really pay close attention to their needs. Our goal is always long-lasting partnerships, and we look forward to that with RoseBud.”
The Colorado Factor
Shuang believes the business serendipity that brought Caliper and RoseBud together just happens more easily in her native state, which is blessed by a unique food scene that incorporates a rich, place-based heritage. “Colorado’s been called the ‘Gateway to the West,’ and it’s definitely a meeting ground for several different food cultures.” It’s also a frequent incubator/testing ground for food and beverage concepts that expand nationally—products like Justin’s Nut Butters, Noosa Yogurts and Celestial Seasonings teas, for example.
“Colorado is representative of a broad food culture that has accelerated food innovation and creativity,” she notes. “It’s a little more relaxed and open here, and a little less cutthroat than the coasts. You can experiment a bit more—and if you stumble, you can easily pivot and offer something else.”
It’s a little more relaxed and open here [in Colorado]…you can experiment a bit more.”
Food companies also benefit from the state’s booming green economy, she adds. “We have a large consumer base supporting natural and local products, a concentration of angel investors who invest in natural food companies, and a ton of collaboration from companies that want to see small, up-and-coming food/beverage companies succeed.”
Shuang plans to keep filling her plate with more cannabinoid-infused food and drink partnerships, and the possibilities abound. “Confectionery and coffee are particularly exciting for me because I love both. We’ve also been seeing a lot of products that focus on overall wellness or immunity, and I’d love to see more of those products add CBD. Health tonics and kombucha are another category that’s ripe for cannabinoid innovation.” She’s also excited about the alcohol-alternative beverage sector. “I rarely drink, so I love that there are more options available these days.”
Whatever the future brings, she adds, “I’m looking forward to tasting it.”