“An Anti-Gummy Ingestible”: Prima Debuts CBD Chewable Chill Out

Co-founder and CEO Christopher Gavigan has declared Prima “the anti-tincture brand.” 

He did so publicly last November in front of a room full of executives from brands that sell CBD tinctures when he was on stage with The Vitamin Shoppe CEO Sharon Leite at the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference in New York. To the executives, he explained, “I think tinctures are old science. The absorption and bioavailability of an oil in the mouth through the buccal region and oral mucosal region is very low. It’s under 5%.”

Leite chimed in that there’s a movement away from tinctures, and that The Vitamin Shoppe customers are buying gummies—a lot of them. “People get to the point where they’re tired of taking pills,” she said. “They want to chew it, they want it easy.” Seemingly on cue, Gavigan teased Prima’s upcoming innovation—“an anti-gummy ingestible that’s plant-based” in a chew format—that would make sense for The Vitamin Shoppe’s chewing customers, especially those on the hunt for alternatives to sugar-loaded gummies. 

After two and a half years of development, Prima’s “anti-gummy” is here. Priced at $38 for a 30-ct. bag, Chill Out is its vegan chewable with a patent-pending delivery system and formula composition. At the heart of its formula is 20 milligrams of organic broad-spectrum hemp CBD extract. 

Prima co-founder and CEO Christopher Gavigan says, “Chill Out Chews represent the next level of science-validated innovation in botanical ingestibles. Healing relief without the high or hangover—a better, healthier way to take the edge off your day.” Pine and Palm

Traditionally, CBD gummies are made with CBD isolate contained in a granulated powder coating pervasive in the category. The form is pervasive because CBD oil doesn’t suspend well within a gummy. However, isolate doesn’t contain multiple other compounds from the hemp plant like terpenes and polyphenols that allow for the “entourage effect” or essentially enhanced wellness effects of CBD. 

“It’s basically a carrier for CBD isolate and a lot of other sugar and fillers,” says Prima co-founder and COO Laurel Angelica Myers of the coating. “The gummy format itself makes it hard to pack in other functional ingredients. We knew we needed an answer to the CBD gummy, but do it better and in a way that upholds both the health promise of what people are trying to get out, and, candidly, a better product experience in terms of the benefit that it’s going to provide.”

Along with CBD, Chill Out’s formula features vitamin C, niacin, citrus bioflavonoids, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin, PABA, chromium, biotin and 100 milligrams of magnesium. Doctor and neuropharmacologist Timothy Birdsall, who’s on Prima’s medical advisory council, helped the brand perfect the formula. “It’s a really unique formulation in a really unique form factor that is basically going to kill the end-of-day glass of wine,” says Myers. “It is an instant chill, an instant unwind.”

Prima’s complete assortment has 16 topical and ingestible products priced from $18 to $82. Its products are available on the brand’s website, and at 1,000 stores and spas nationwide. Given persistent uncertainty around CBD, not every Prima stockist carries all its products. Sephora, The Detox Market, Revolve and Nordstrom carry selections of its topical offerings. Thrive Market, Milk and Honey, Standard Dose and Erewhon carry a mix of topical and ingestible offerings. Chill Out is launching at over 600 The Vitamin Shoppe doors in July. In October, Prima entered the health and wellness specialty retailer with its supplements and body care.

“We are delighted to be the exclusive national retail partner for the launch of Prima’s Chill Out vegan hemp CBD chews,” says Leite. “This is an innovative and trendsetting format that brings a new, sweet way for customers to enjoy their CBD. This isn’t a tincture, pill or even a gummy – it brings the fun and deliciousness of your favorite chewy treat to the CBD category. This new option is an exciting addition to The Vitamin Shoppe’s CBD HQ, which is the leading national destination for a comprehensive assortment of quality CBD brands and formulas you can trust.”

Chill Out will launch in 600 The Vitamin Shoppe’s CBD HQ locations in July. © The Vitamin Shoppe 2021

Prima isn’t the only wellness brand elevating the gummy supplement format above glorified candy. Mental wellness ingestible specialist No. 8 launched in November with four nootropic-enriched, low-sugar vegan gummies. Sexual wellness brand Maude teamed up with Asystem on a low-sugar, gelatin-free Libido supplement. Mushroom-packed entrants include Mojo Microdose, Shroomy and Try Troop. The products aim to harness the convenience of the format while improving upon the standard ingredient deck. 

“People are so drawn to the gummy format. They have always been such a big part of the CBD market and in supplements in general,” says Jessica Assaf, co-founder and chief education officer at Prima. “As a health-forward, science-driven brand, we’ve always looked at that format, but could never get behind the animal byproducts, the refined sugar, the colorants. It’s almost something that consumers don’t think about. They keep their standards, but then have this exception product because of the perceived benefits. Chill Out is a beautiful product experience that still maintains the fun of the form factor, yet doesn’t compromise any health standards.”