Launched four years ago, B3 Labs uses a unique extraction process on site to extract pure and precise compounds from a range of medicinal herbs to formulate with ingredients that interact synergistically to target a range of specific health parameters, from energy, libido, and focus, to inflammation, sleep and anxiety.
Founder and CEO Marc Burbidge, says the company has grown largely thanks to its BRCGS (Brand Reputational Compliance Global Standard) certification, which guarantees compliance, safety, traceability and legality.
“We are the only CBD company with that certification certifying our products as safe according to global food safety requirements.
“The certificate provides a route to market for brands. In this time of uncertainty, retailers are nervous about what brands to stock and they don’t understand what’s happening with novel foods.
"With our products they don’t need to understand it because they understand what BRCGS certification means, plus we’re on the FSA novel foods list, so that gives them complete assurance that the products are safe.
“We supply four of the largest brands in the CBD space with products on shelves in the biggest retailers in the UK and we supply the best selling CBD brand on Amazon, and we’re forecast to turn over £3million this year. This is because the certification speaks for itself.”
Their popularity has led the company to move premises this week in order to keep up with growing demand, which they see growing further over the coming years.
The company has been chosen as one of three winners of the 'Startup Stars' competition at NutraIngredients' Active Nutrition Summit in Amsterdam this October, giving Burbidge the opportunity to present his business to a room of industry experts.
The former holistic consultant with over a decade's experience in developing CBD products adds: “One of our largest brands gave us their forecast three months ago and then they updated us last week and their forecast had nearly doubled!
“People are saying the industry is really struggling and that's true for many company. There were around 250 CBD brands on the market 18 months ago and now there’s about 50.
"But I think those that aren’t struggling are really thriving.”
He explains how the CBD consumer mindset has changed as the category has gone mainstream.
“While people shopping this category used to be shopping it based on a medical need and they were searching for specific cannabinoids and an entourage effect.
"Now people want these products just to help with a bit of anxiety or other general wellbeing benefits and people are shopping for these products through mass market retail channels – they are just looking for something they can trust.”
That said, Burbidge emphasises that he is meticulous is extracting the right cannabinoids and terpenes and formulating them with the right botanical ingredients to create highly bioavailable formulations with targeted synergistic effects.
With a background in developing pharmaceutical CBD products and a self-education in herbalism, plant genetics, soil microbiology, terpenes, cannabinoids and more, Burbidge says he was a bit of a 'witch doctor' amongst friends and family before he turned his passion for formulating wellness products into a business.
Whilst the company has a range of CBD tinctures and gummies and many ideas for innovation in this space, the team has focused on other botanicals over the last few years while legislation has prohibited new product development in CBD.
Burbidge says the main aim is enhancing the efficacy of different parts of medicinal plants, focused on increasing bioavailability.
And the facility move will allow the company to innovate with new delivery systems. For example, Burbidge says the bioavailability of ingredients in oil is around 5-15%, while a liposomal emulsions can increase this to 75-80%, and nano-emulsions can provide up to 100%.
He is also interested in developing a line of nootropic gummies as well as extracting adaptogenic compounds from the fruitbody of mushrooms.
Discussing the trending areas within wellness, Burbidge says a lot of clients are interested in their products which support aspects of women’s health and cognitive health.
Shomi Malik, the company's commercial and strategy lead, argues that consumers are beginning to shop with a health target in mind, as opposed to shopping for a specific product.
For this reason, he thinks consumers will start to look beyond trending ingredients and buzz words and start to pay attention to the science and the mechanisms of action behind ingredients.
“People are searching for symptom relief, not necessarily for a particular product, so it’s important for brands to change the way they get their messaging across.
"I think as messaging evolves to concentrate on the science and mechanisms behind the ingredients, consumers will get more savvy and they will look beyond trendy ingredients and marketing messages.”