Terpenes are aromatic compounds, but what are the functions of terpenes? What do terpenes DO and why does it matter for CPGs?
Terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons produced by most plants. In the most basic sense, they're the building blocks of flavor and scent. Yes, essential oils were once thought to be the purest essence of a plant’s scent. But when we refine those oils even further, we’re able to extract specific terpene isolates so that we can accurately recreate popular flavors and aromas…but what do terpenes actually do?
It’s likely that you understand roughly what terpenes ARE, but what is their function? Why do plants produce them and what’s their purpose in CPG products?
We get it. Before you decide to experiment with terpenes in your product formulations, it’s important to understand where they come from and what their functions are. Keep reading for all the details.
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Plants Produce Terpenes for Survival Functions
Obviously, we talk a lot about the different functions of terpenes for CPG products. However, it’s also important to understand why plants produce these compounds in the first place. Not surprisingly, most plants produce terpenes as an evolutionary function aimed at improving survival odds.
Some plants produce terpenes to lure in plants and insects that assist in pollination. Kiwifruits, for example, need bees to help pollen travel from male and female plants. The terpene levels of male and female plants will vary throughout the day to promote bee travel from one plant to another, thus pollinating the female plants (1).
Plants can also produce terpenes to repel predators that may attempt to infest or ingest the plant (2). There are even plants that produce terpenes to help protect them from UV rays, pathogens, and even to influence things like cloud seeding.
Clearly, terpenes play an important role in nature. However, our ability to extract, isolate, and study terpenes has opened up a vast world of applications for the CPG industry.
Terpenes Can Infuse Products With Flavor and Aroma
CPG products are used regularly by consumers and, consequently, they need to be replenished frequently. Consumers are quick to switch brands, however, if one of these products contains any undesired or unpleasant flavors or aromas. So, whether it’s food, beverage, wellness, or even personal care products, they need to have the desired taste or scent.
While synthetic flavoring agents were previously used for their potency and consistency, terpenes offer the same benefits with higher accuracy. Plus, in addition to traditional oil-soluble terpenes, water-soluble terpenes have made it even easier to infuse beverage products with flavor and aroma.
Our experts take familiar herbs, fruits, and spices and carefully extract terpenes from them. The finished product is a highly purified, food-grade terpene isolate that can be used by itself or used to create terpene blends that authentically recreate popular flavors and aromas.
This also allows us to create custom terpene formulations that can’t be found anywhere else on the market. This is particularly important for brands utilizing terpenes as functional flavors to promote specific effects.
Terpenes Infuse CPGs With Effects
One of the most fascinating functions of terpenes, particularly in regard to their CPG applications, is their ability to influence us. Don’t believe us? If you’ve ever found relaxation from using a lavender pillow spray or felt invigorated from a citrus-flavored face wash, you’ve already experienced this.
Since every terpene has its own unique list of properties, a unique combination of terpenes (aka a terpene profile) has the ability to promote specific effects like creativity, mood elevation, relaxation, etc.
For products that claim to promote certain experiences, terpenes offer a unique solution. Not only will they infuse products with flavor and aroma, but they can enhance the sensory experience. For example, many citrus terpenes can give sports drinks an energetic kick without additional caffeine, sugar, or calories.
Leverage Terpene Functions in Your Products Today
As leaders in the research, development, and production of botanically-derived and cannabis-inspired terpenes, we create unforgettable sensorial experiences. When you partner with us, we’ll help differentiate your brand and product line with new, consistent, and scalable flavors and experiences.