Hemp Terpenes: How to Select a Wholesale Supplier

Terpene Belt Farms
Terpene Belt Farms

Diving into the world of hemp terpenes for wholesale? 🌱 There are many factors to watch out for when selecting a supplier — some more obvious than others. Prioritizing the right criteria will keep you ahead of the game, save you from regulatory hiccups, and protect your pocket.

📖 Check out our handy guide, packed with must-ask questions and insider tips to make your journey smoother. (For the best experience, download the complete workable guide.)

Note: This guide is designed to evaluate true-to-flower hemp terpene suppliers with others in the same category. Evaluating botanical or synthetic terpene suppliers should be undertaken separately because these categories have unique characteristics and their own evaluation parameters. Evaluate apples to apples. Learn more about the benefits of choosing 100% cannabis inputs.

 

Part I: TERPENE QUALITY

 

1. Extraction Process:

What is the extraction process used to create your terpenes/essential oil? If not solventless, what solvent is used?

 

Pro tip: Solventless terpene extraction is considered better due to its ability to provide a purer, more natural, and flavorful product. Also, eliminating the use of chemical solvents ensures safety and environmental sustainability.

 

2. Quality & Freshness:

Is the flower sent to extraction fresh, frozen, dried, or cured? How much time is there between harvest and extraction?

 

Pro tip: The longer the time between harvest and extraction, the more that volatile compounds are lost. If the material is not fresh when sent to extraction, it will have significant compound degradation throughout the process.

 

3. Total Compounds:

How many total compounds exist in your terpenes/ essential oil made ready for market?

 

Pro tip: Full-bodied cannabis essential oils should have 150-200 unique compounds. Aldehydes, ketones, esters, etc. provide much of the smell, taste and effect of complete cannabis essential oil.
 

4. Degradation:

What is your approach to storage? How do I test for degradation?

 

Pro tip: When stored properly, oil should get better with age.

 

5. Origin of Seed Genetics:

How are seed genetics derived and how are they able to be sold and used across all US states?

 

Pro tip: Genetics and seeds need to be qualified as ‘hemp’ in order to cross US state lines and internationally.

Part II: Variety, Variety Longevity, Inventory Depth

1. Total SKU Count:

How many total unique essential oil (cannabis/hemp terpenes) SKUs are on your menu today?

 

Pro tip: Your supplier to be capable of accommodating a minimum of 25 SKUs concurrently. This enables you to implement core menus across various product lines, such as distillate vapes, rosin vapes, and more. These core menus should encompass flavors that do not overlap while also incorporating year-specific or regional variations.

 

2. Inventory Volume Per SKU

What volume of inventory is held behind each SKU?

 

Pro tip: To fulfill market demand and the long-term serviceability of various brands, an enterprise provider should introduce a substantial product inventory of no less than 50 liters (or preferably 100 liters).

 

3. SKU Longevity

How long does each SKU live on your menu? How many seasons does each variety persist on your menu?

 

Pro tip: Brands that value both menu consistency and long-term viability, along with the flexibility to retain core menu items or popular SKUs, must collaborate with suppliers capable of consistently offering specific varieties year after year. These providers should demonstrate their ability to supply the same genetic strains for a minimum of 2-3 consecutive growing seasons.

 

4. SKU Release Schedule

How often do you release new SKUs?

 

Pro tipTo maintain a dynamic menu, providers should offer a combination of year-long SKUs and regular new releases throughout the year. This ensures a fresh and varied selection for your customers. In addition to the availability of year-long SKUs, you should expect a minimum of two or more new SKU releases on top of that.

 

 

5. Production Scale:

How can I guarantee that I’ll have enough volume of each variety to support a national menu, where the same flavors are sold in each market all year?

 

Pro tip: Enterprise providers should be able to provide a surety model: a simply supply agreement that guarantees your specific SKUs will be available to you throughout the year. 

Part III: Regulatory & Compliance

 

1. State Availability:

What is your experience ensuring that your terpenes are going able to be viably used in each market? Specifically, how are you able to do business in states with non-cannabis ingredient bans (NY, CT, PA, RI, VT)?

 

 

Pro tipThere should be specific regulatory-based answers for each state. The supplier should able to able to communicate their efforts to ensure that their products can be employed in newly created markets.

 

2. Access to 3rd Party Testing

How do I access 3rd party compliance cannabinoid testing and pesticide/solvents/diluents testing for each of your products?

 

Pro tipSupplier should be able to provide selve-self online documents available by batch.

 

3. Legal Expertise

What happens when I have a question about how hemp terpenes are brought into or used in a specific state?

 

Pro tipSupplier should be able to provide examples of assisting their enterprise customers with compliance snafus.

 

4. Future-Proofing:

What are you doing to ensure continued favorable usage in yet-to-be-created adult-use markets?

 

Pro tipSupplier should have a forward-facing regulatory roadmap for new states that will come online or convert to adult-use.

Part IV: Cultivation

 1. Proprietary Genetics

How much of your oil is derived from flower that you grow yourself? Of the biomass that you grow, how much of it is derived from your your own proprietary genetics (that only you have access to)?

 

Pro tipThe supplier should have direct control over its flower supply. They should have full authority over their genetic portfolio, allowing them to reintroduce those genetics as they deem appropriate. Furthermore, they should strive to offer a menu predominantly composed of proprietary genetics. This approach ensures that they deliver distinctive value to you by providing unique and exclusive offerings.

 

2. Fertilizers/Pesticides: 

What fertilizers and/or chemicals are used during the growing process?

 

Pro tipIt’s incredibly easy to affect the terpene output or overall flower quality when spraying your plants. Supplier should be able to explain what they use, the reason for use, and any effects.

 

Part V: Harvest & Processing

1. Harvest Schedule:

How can you guarantee the process by which harvesting and processing occurs?

 

Pro tipProducing essential oil is very similar to winemaking. Your provider should communicate a plan to harvest at the peak terpene maturity time per each variety. Also, the supplier should not be counting on someone else’s business plans to determine the schedule. 

 

 

2. Oil Extraction:

If you grow and process your own flower, what is exact process from the minute the flower is harvested to the minute extraction begins?

 

Pro tipThere should be a scalable process for getting flower to extraction. The faster the move from the field to extraction, the better.

 

3. Harvest Output:

How much oil did you create during your last production cycle? How many unique cultivars did that amount to? How many unique SKU’s did that turn into?

 

Pro tipSuppliers that are creating less than 1000 liters per harvest cycle will not be able to productively service the enterprise market through both diversity and depth of inventory quantities.

 

4. Processing:

What is the process after initial extraction and what happens at each step during that process?

 

Pro tipIf there’s a refinement process after initial extraction, you should understand how often that happening (i.e., how often fresh oil is being made).

Part VI: Culture

 

1. Communication:

How do you manage ongoing communication and strategic alignment with customers?

 

Pro tipSupplier should have an approach to ensuring they know what’s happening in your business and how to best support you over time.

 

2. Business Drivers: 

How does the competitive environment, latest regulations, and latest innovations impact your business?

 

Pro tipSupplier should have an approach to staying ahead of the competition.

Part VII: ESG

 

1. Environmental Impact:

How is your process — from farming to bottling and packaging — designed to to reduce environmental impact?

 

Pro tipAn ESG plan means that the company is not only supportive of global conservation, but it’s also a more effective business. an ESG plan allows companies to more easily acquire new investment capital.

Part VIII: Cost

 

1. Pricing:

How does pricing work?

 

Pro tipSupplier should be able to explain how pricing will change over time.

 

2. Contract Options:

If we can forecast our future needs, how can we reserve inventory?

 

Pro tipThis is a must-have for scaling brands.

 

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