A Terpene Aromas Guide For Food and Beverage Companies

author: Sequoya Team

Are you a Consumer Packaged Goods’ company looking to learn about terpene aromas and how they are redefining today’s food and beverage industry? This quick guide will come in handy.

The food and beverage industry got its fair share of the change heralded by the global reformation that swept through the CBD market in Europe and around the world. Now more than ever before, CBD-infused products as well as food and beverages containing hemp-rich extracts such as terpene aromas are available on store shelves. This article contains valuable information and actionable insights for food and beverage companies considering to create new products for this growing market.

Everything you Need to Know About Terpene Aromas

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are scent molecules in plants. These scent molecules give plants their unique aromatic fingerprint. Also known as isoprenoids, terpenes, are highly diverse chemical compounds that help plants to attract pollinators, stay protected from predators and pathogens, and also offer some enhancement benefits to food and beverages.

Although terpenes are more popular today, they have been in use since the 11th century and have found application in the production of everyday products like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cleaning agents, and food flavorings. Terpenes have been listed as one of the key ingredients for successful products in today’s food and beverage flavoring industry. Many chocolates, drinks, and vape companies are leveraging its taste and aroma enhancement benefits to develop brand-new food and beverage products.

What do terpenes look like?

Terpenes can be extracted in small quantities from lavender, citrus rinds, black peppers, and other fruits, flowers, vegetables, and herbs. However, the resin glands of cannabis flowers (hemp plant) house an enormous amount, of over 100 different terpene flavors. Hence, the popular association of terpene aromas with cannabis. Amazingly, all 100 terpene strains in cannabis have unique aromas and enhance the nutritional value and therapeutic effects of food differently.

Terpenes are isolated through extractive laboratory processes, but the quality is determined by the production standard employed at facilities where extraction takes place. This why Sequoya uses an ultra modern facility equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to extract, formulate, and test terpene aromas before they are shipped to clients. Using the very best facility guarantees consistent results and quality levels of terpenes. When it comes to industry-compliant and customer-specific production of terpene aromas, Sequoya is a pacesetter.

Some common terpenes

Consumer packaged goods companies have many terpenes to choose from. In hemp plants, there are over 100 of them, all of which have different compositions that enhance the taste, flavor, and nutritional content of food uniquely. The varying percentage of different molecules which make up each terpene flavor gives it a unique terpene profile. A list of terpenes would include pinene, camphene, humulene, caryophyllene, linalool, myrcene, limonene, and others. But the 3 most common terpenes are:

Pinene terpenes

Apart from cannabis, pinene is also found in pine needles, rosemary, hops, and basil. This hardy herb terpene is a great addition when infused into butter or paired with roasted potatoes, steak/roasted chicken, and other meat dishes.

Linalool terpenes

Linalool terpene is commonly associated with floral spices, especially lavender but can also be found in cannabis, lemon, and mint balms.  Linalool makes an excellent addition when infused in cookies, lemon-based dishes, and desserts.

Myrcene terpenes

Making up 65% of the terpene profile in cannabis, it is the commonest terpene. Apart from cannabis, this earthy scent can be extracted from mangos, verbena, thyme, basil, and bay leaves. Examples of great myrcene foods include; curry, salsa, rice dishes, or fish toppings.

Effects and Uses of Terpene Aromas

Effects of terpenes

Terpenes have a spectrum of effects, each, determined by the specific terpene profile of any particular strain. The ability of terpenes to influence neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin by modifying their rate of production and availability to receptors results in a calming, soothing, energizing, or sedating effect. Terpene-rich foods and beverages offer more health benefits because as bioactive substances they interact with natural body fluids to bring about positive physical and mental effects.

Also bioactive substances, they emit vibrant smells which are used in essential oils to deliver alternative medical care known as aromatherapy. From stabilizing moods to tackling sleeping disorders, pain, anxiety, and depression, terpene aromas are reputed for many excellent benefits that are also obtainable in foods rich in terpenes. However, like many people, you may wonder whether foods or beverages rich in terpenes get anyone high. No, they can’t because terpenes do not contain psychoactive substances.

Uses of terpenes

Did you know that natural maple syrup tastes so good because it contains about 300 terpenes? Most sweets, chocolates, herbal pasta, and drinks contain terpene aromas. This is not just because foods rich in terpenes are safe and offer potential health benefits, but also because they serve as organic preservatives.

The antimicrobial effect of terpenes can combat foodborne microbes, thereby making them beneficial as preservatives and not just as flavoring additives. Terpenes are a better substitute for standard fungicides and bactericides used to prolong shelf life in the food industry.

In addition, many Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies in the food and beverage industry are turning to terpenes aromas because they can get really innovative with them and create a line of new products. However, here are other industries where terpenes are used:


In alternative medicine, terpenes are used to manage depression, anxiety, mood, and sleep disorders via a procedure called aromatherapy. In addition to this therapeutic use, terpenes can also be used for spasm relief, anti-bacterial/fungal treatment, pain relief, anti-inflammatory treatment, and also in the manufacture of dietary supplements.

A 2022 study in Food Chemistry: X Journal reveals that terpenes are capable of antimicrobial activities against bacteria, both the most susceptible and highly resistant to regular antibiotics. This is because they possess the ability to promote cell rupture and inhibition of proteins and DNA.

Cosmetics and beauty

Whether in perfumes, body creams, hand lotions, shampoos, and other beauty products, terpenes are used in the production of many cosmetics in the beauty industry. As a Consumer Packaged Goods company in the beauty market, you can create a line of products in different fragrances just using different terpene aromas.

Aside from the variety advantage, terpenes also provide excellent and safe regulation of sebum levels in the skin, which is required for supple and healthy skin. In addition, lotions with terpenes have more skin-penetrating power which guarantees adequate moisturization, and detoxification of different skin types. Generally, cosmetics with terpenes are known to be more protective.

Cleaning agents

Terpenes are used in the manufacture of detergents, degreasers, washing gels, and disinfectants because of their quick solvency and ability to remove stains easily. Cleaning agents made with terpenes, not only get the dirt off, but they also leave behind a nice scent and sanitize the cleaned surface as well.

The best part of this is, using high-quality terpene cleaning or treatment agents would not predispose surfaces or tools to rust and corrosion. They are also safe to handle and get the job done with little effort.

What are food grade terpene aromas?

Food grade terpenes are specifically extracted and refined for infusion into food, drinks, and beverages. CPGs in the food and beverage industry need a supply of high-quality food grade terpene aromas to create unique products that offer all the benefits of terpenes without falling short of regulatory standards and legal compliance. This is what sets us apart, at Sequoya.

With strict production standards and a GMP Food Grade Certification, we are a highly compliant producer and supplier of food grade terpenes. Boasting a 99.5+% purity rate, we are a great hemp extract company to collaborate with for unique food grade terpenes when you are ready to launch a new product.

At Sequoya, we invest in the best resources and equipment to ensure we are developing top-quality biomaterials for use in food and beverage products. We have successfully collaborated with over 250 clients in 22+ countries; thanks to our in-house Quality Assurance & Control department that monitors the compliance of every product batch 6-8 times to guarantee precision in customers’ specifications, for utmost satisfaction.


From terpene-infused toothpicks to cheese and pasta, new Consumer Packaged Goods are making it to the food and beverage market every day and yours do not need to be just another one of those. We can help you launch products that stand out from the competition. Whether you need white-label products or unique formulations for mass production of a new product, we’re delighted to walk you through the process.

Get in touch with our terpenes and bio extracts consultants today – we would be happy to answer any questions you have and help formulate custom terpene aromas for both new and existing food and beverage products.