Interview with Andy Duckworth CEO of Naturecan

auf September 25, 2020

By: Elements of Green

Andy Duckworth - Naturcan

Andy, you’ve been in the consumer health business before, as CEO of Myprotein.  Tell us a little bit about your dedication to consumer health and how that led you to CBD.

Happy to! In my previous life I ran Myprotein for 5 years and were able to grow that business to the global online wellness leader with a great team. I started to use CBD to help me wind down at night and get a good night’s sleep. It worked so well for me that I knew I wanted my next project to bring CBD to more people. I am fortunate to be able to apply the supply chain, fulfilment and ecommerce learnings from the previous journey into building the global CBD leader with the team.

Naturecan quickly became a large company.  You are in 20 countries now.  How did you build so quickly?

Through a great network and a team from the previous Myprotein journey all hungry to build a global leader again. We know how to execute a successful market entry from previous experience at Myprotein, so it’s allowed fast growth while still delivering excellent customer service.  I’m fortunate to be part of a team that believes that the best way to build a great company is to start with great products and then deliver an outstanding experience for the customer. Without customers, you have no business. We obsess about the customer, and this is reflected in our Net Promoter Score.

One thing that stands out about Naturecan is the vast number of different products available.  Oils and lotions, of course, but nut butter, beauty masks, massage oils, and more.  Many of these treatments are combined with more traditional natural health ingredients, like vitamins, menthol, and the like.  

Yes, we take great pride in our global leading product selection. We have an excellent supply chain network available to us from the Sport Nutrition, Wellness, and Beauty spaces and we have made every effort to use it quickly, selecting from the highest quality suppliers. My experience at Myprotein meant that I knew who to connect with and who to avoid.

naturecan brownie

The quality of CBD products is a key issue for consumers. A UK study found that over half of the products it tested had less CBD than advertised.  What is Naturecan is doing to ensure that its customers get the best possible quality?

We fixate over quality, supply chain, transparency and testing of our products. We want our valued customers to believe in our products. We offer full visibility of the independent lab Certificates of Analysis (CoA) of the distillate used in our finished products, and on the finished products themselves. Every batch.

The oil we use from the West Coast of the USA is immense with regards to its specifications – high CBD, other desirable cannabinoid minors, and zero THC.

We also are putting all our finished products through the Novel Food process. This is in effect a safety study on every product, and it’s the best thing to happen to CBD in the UK.

I’m glad you brought up the Novel Foods licensing for CBD.  You’ve been a big proponent of better CBD not just from your company, but all companies.  Tell us a little more about that.

The UK Food Standards Agency have been clear on what they require to remain on the UK market after March 2021. The Novel Food Application dossier requires Naturecan CBD Distillate to undergo toxicology testing, very similar to that of a pharmaceutical product, as the first measure of safety of usage. I was part of the industry group helping the Food Safety Agency put together the standards because I believe that consumers should be able to trust the products they buy.

A further set of studies called ADME must be undertaken to assess absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of CBD in the body after consumption. It is also essential to submit stability studies, so that the consumer can be assured of the validity of the expiry date on Naturecan products.

The dossier includes Naturecan Broad-Spectrum CBD Distillate and all other Naturecan CBD finished products – from tinctures and capsules  to nut butters and cookies, so whichever product our customer chooses from the Naturecan range, they are assured of its safety and quality. 

And Naturecan also does the value-add Third-party testing for purity and low THC, how the CBD is absorbed, when it expires, and the like.

Correct. As mentioned, our source of CBD oil from the west coast of the USA has the lowest levels of THC we have seen from any supply source, due to the chromatography used at the start of the refinement process. We then test the distillate, at every stage of manufacture, and on the finished goods at a batch level, to prove our products are 100% compliant and have an accurate label. This means our valued customers can have full confidence in our products.

The THC levels in your products are incredibly low – lower than other broad-spectrum producers and less than 1 percent of what is allowed for CBD.  Why did you decide to do that?

A few reasons.

Because our network of production is global (US / EU / UK), we needed to be able to move distillate all over the world, and to do this, zero THC is needed at a distillate level. Paul Finnegan, Naturecan Co-Founder deserves all the credit here, he found the source in Oregon. We think that Paul found the best CBD in the world and we’re thrilled to be able to bring it to UK and EU customers exclusively. That CBD is the center of all of our products, whether it’s an oil, a gummy, or anything else. It all goes back to a few dedicated farmers on some of the best CBD-growing land on the planet.

We also generally believe if you want zero THC, you really do want zero, so this oil source is a key advantage for our us and our customers.

Naturecan nut butter

When one looks at your products, it is clear that you are a supporter of broad-spectrum CBD. Explain the differences among full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD-only products and why you believe in broad-spectrum.

Full spectrum includes THC, and as mentioned, we have the lowest levels on the market. No THC is detectable at a finished goods level, so we are not full spectrum. We respect the need in some instances for full-spectrum product, but it’s not viable if you aim to build the global leader, offer a consistent product, and stay on the right side of local laws.

Broad spectrum gives the benefits of the entourage effect, and our Broad-Spectrum distillate has other minor cannabinoids present like CBG, although the distillate is generally 95% CBD. CBD is a natural product from an amazing plant that can be offered globally.

CBD Isolate is not for Naturecan given our belief in the above benefits of the entourage effect.

Some people may not be familiar with the entourage effect. Could you explain that?

The entourage effect is when cannabinoids work together to create a better response than any one cannabinoid alone.  You wouldn’t want a soccer team with 11 strikers, even really good ones, and we believe that CBD is the same. CBD works better when there are some of the other cannabinoids as part of the mix. Broad-spectrum CBD contains dozens of compounds, some in tiny amounts.

What attracted you to work with Elements of Green? 

I know the founder of Elements of Green, Danny Brody from his excellent previous work in this space and in the corporate finance space.  We share values when it comes to product quality and doing right by our customers, and I know his projects are high credibility because of that dedication, so I got back in touch. The website is excellent and Naturecan are aligned with what Elements of Green stand for in the industry.

For example, Elements of Green insists that all of the products it makes available utilize lab testing to confirm the potency of the product and to ensure that there are no contaminants.  We have always done that testing, so we’re happy to be aligned with someone who shares that commitment to quality and transparency.

Earlier you mentioned that you discovered CBD while looking for a better nights’ sleep.  What kind of product did you start with?  Are you still using the same kind of application now, or have you switched to something else.

I started with the oil and I now use our 40% formulation with MCT in a tincture. I‘ve not yet seen another 40% 30ml Broad Spectrum tincture on the market. This is 12,000mg of CBD in a single vessel. The UK has a rule that there must be 1mg or less of THC per container.  Most manufacturers can’t hit below that low level of THC. We can, due to the chromatography deployed at the start of the refinement process.

The MCT oil is important to all of us at Naturecan, too.  MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and it is a natural component of many vegetable oils such as coconut.  MCT is a small molecule and it helps the body absorb CBD better. I learned about MCT at Myprotein because many people take it straight up because it is so easily digested.  More CBD more easily processed by the body is our route to the best results for our customers.   

Of all the new products you’ve introduced to the UK and European CBD markets, which are you most enthusiastic about?  What should the adventurous CBD customer try out today?

I am excited about our JV with Aquanova in Germany – together we developed a high bioavailability CBD combining Novasol technology to the Broad Spectrum CBD Distillate. The end result is a CBD that is 16x more bioavailable in the first hour and is backed by a Charles River report. You can read more on either website.

There’s a lot to like about Naturecan.  What do people not know about you? What’s one thing that would surprise Naturecan customers?

Thanks! I spoke about this before, but I can’t emphasize enough the strength of our team.  Every company says that, but this same team built a health products company before, so I know personally how much they care about doing things right.  Everything a company is, ultimately comes from its people. For me it’s the people and their passion who shape and drive a business model, not the business model that drives a business.

Something else about Naturecan that people might enjoy is that Andy Flintoff is a big Naturecan customer, in fact he liked Naturecan so much and what we stand for, he has since invested in the business.

He’s an authentic guy who myself and Co-Founder Paul Finnegan got to know from Gym and Cricket respectively, and then from Charity Football matches. We know CBD will really help athletes and former athletes now and in the future as the authorities understand CBD more and catch up with its benefits.

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