Sunday, May 27, 2007

Constant Health: It's a Matter of Taste

The birthing of a new product, Constant Health has been big work behind the scenes. Constant Health's inspiration was my dad's illness last summer. Enhancing immune system, intestinal, and detox function in an easy-to-use comprehensive product was the aim. Making it affordable was also of primary concern.

Researching the ingredients started last fall. I collaborated with Dr. Rodier, several naturopaths, and a Ph.D. biochemist. Next, we worked on the branding, which will be under Cell Nutritionals. Then came the work with finding the right manufacturer, one who could meet our quality standards and also help us keep costs down and production runs small in the beginning. The final work is all around taste and flavoring, and that's what we're in the middle of testing right now.

Last week, the second round of samples for the Constant Health formula came in and we held a taste-testing party. Not quite as elegant as a wine tasting party, with the dirty glasses and spoons and puffs of protein powder mix landing on the conference room tables, the experiment yielded some clear-cut preferences.

We had already cut the sweeteners in half from the first round but the distinct taste of lo han was still not making any points. We are aiming for a low-glycemic index formula and liked the lo han better than stevia, but it most of our tasters rejected the unusual taste of lo han.

The natural chocolate version was everyone's favorite. I had to insist on and personally source pure food-quality cocoa and reject chocolate flavoring agents typically used in nutritional supplement products.

However, some people don't like or can't have chocolate, so we're also working on improving the all natural flavor, which is harder, because natural vanilla flavoring doesn't do much for our 40+ ingredient formula, with its assortment of tastes.

I'm wondering if we should go ahead and use the artificial vanilla flavoring or leave the all natural flavor just that -- all natural. After all, many people like to blend their protein powders with fresh fruits, which add flavor and natural sweetness.

On to round three. We received the lo han-free samples on Saturday and have to set up the next party. I think we need some fussier taste-testers (any volunteers in Salt Lake with nothing better to do this week?).

Once we have final flavorings determined we can move into production -- finally.

So, it's all a matter of taste at this point!


Anonymous said...

Have you tried using agave necter?

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Thanks for the suggestion...will have to check out for next round. We got both the chocolate and vanilla versions to a tasty point at last (hurrah!). Let me know what you think of Constant Health (it will be out this month - October 2007 -- finally!). :-)