“We had a predominantly white label, which was more clinical looking. We’re going with a softer approach,” Stacey Gillespie, director of product strategy at Gaia Herbs, told NutraIngredients-USA at the show.
The new design swaps white with a dark green, and features an image of the botanical much more prominently than the earlier package design. “We’re focusing on the plant itself as the hero of our formulations,” she added.
The green also helps Gaia Herbs’ products stand out on retail shelves, said Aimee Sprinkel, marketing communications managers at Gaia Herbs.
“A lot of companies started using the white background we had, we started out being unique then suddenly everybody looking like us,” Sprinkel said. “So we decided we’re going to go ‘back to nature’ and go with this darker green.”
Focusing on tradition more than the latest clinical studies
Also noteworthy is the change of language on pack. “We were thinking of ways to market products that would resonate with people that’s not the typical ‘may help maintain’ structure” Gillespie explained. The company now uses the phrase ‘traditionally used for.’
For example, the Kava Kava Root supplement packaging used to claim ‘supports calm and relaxation.’ The new version says ‘traditionally for sustaining a sense of calm and relaxation.’
“We’re trying to make it softer, more approachable, and less clinical,” she added. “We’re leaning more on the traditional uses of [these botanicals] than clinical studies.”
Launching hemp extracts
Also announced at the show were new products to expand the company’s existing line of products, including a collection of new nootropics (products targeting focus and other cognitive benefits) and some herbal and mushroom powders to add to the company’s Mushrooms + Herbs line.
Gaia Herbs also jumped on the controversial cannabis ‘gold rush,’ so conspicuous at this year’s Expo West, by launching its own line of hemp extract. The full spectrum hemp extracts come in glass droplet bottles in two doses, 10 mg cannabinoids per serving and 20 mg cannabinoids per serving.
“We don’t see hemp, the plant itself, any different from any other herb,” Gillespie said.
When the Farm Bill passed last year, lifting industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana in the federal Controlled Substances Act, many in the industry saw it as a chance to enter the hemp space.
But it disregards the fact that CBD, an active compound in hemp, is an approved drug ingredient for English company GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex and Epidiolex. As the regulation is written, approved drug ingredients cannot be used in dietary supplements.
“We’re not using any CBD claims, we’re not using an isolate of CBD,” Gillespie said. “We’re not actually testing or making these CBD claims on our packaging.
“We’re very specific on the hemp’s full spectrum providing a range of cannabinoids. We’re doing that very specifically because CBD is regulated now as a drug and Epidiolex will be coming out next year.”
“We came to market with a full-spectrum hemp extract, we’re well below the 0.3% THC—we are not THC free, we do believe in the full spectrum and benefits of all those cannabinoids working together.”