Robert Holland_Tempo CrackersRobert Holland, founder of Tempo Crackers

With confectionery offerings dominating the edibles category, Robert Holland aimed to create a product that stands out.

Launching in California in 2020, Tempo Crackers offers bold flavors and pieces that are precisely dosed to create three specific effects. They’re packaged in bright, slim-fit boxes designed to illustrate the product experience, as well as promote joy and inclusivity.

Our sister magazine, Cannabis Products Insider recently spoke to Holland about Tempo Crackers’ mission, its approach to product development and its support for and representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

CPI: When did you launch Tempo Crackers? What was your mission when building the company?

RH: Tempo launched in June 2020 based on a simple question: why can’t edibles be savory instead of sweet? I grew up in the Texas snack belt, next to the headquarters of Frito-Lay, and spent my early life enthralled by the intense flavor profiles and out of this world texture of modern snacks.

After moving to the West Coast in 2019, I was surprised to find that in all the innovative confections on dispensary shelves, there were no snacks and a lot of skepticism that there ever could be. Our mission was to develop a precision-dosed edible snack that would allow you to get high and stay high without the sugar rush of edible sweets.

CPI: Why choose crackers over other edible formats?

RH: Tempo Crackers rivals the plethora of sweets on dispensary shelves and is an alternative to consuming infused desserts. The cheese crackers come in delicious, innovative flavors, including vegan options, with different effect profiles, and they don't melt unlike traditional edibles.

Crackers have a unique advantage in the snacks category in that they’re identical in weight and size when produced at scale, making it easier to achieve a uniform dosage per piece. Our crackers are the only precision dosed snack on the market, meaning every individual cheese cracker is the exact same dosage. This gives consumers the power to snack exactly to their desired high, a functionality that allows our product to compete directly with gummies and chocolates.

A savory edible also presents customers with an opportunity to enhance how they’re enjoyed. Some of my personal favorites: making a mini pizza bite with our two flavors, Chili Limon and Black Pepper; customizing a personal canna-charcuterie board; and sprinkling crushed Truffle Parmesan crackers on top of a kale salad.

CPI: How do you approach developing the flavor options?

RH: Each of our delicious flavor profiles are brought to life by fresh herbs and spices that have high concentrations of terpenes to enhance the effects of our THC and CBD ratios, mirroring the effects of the cannabis plant.

As an example, black garlic’s myrcene-rich umami flavor is used in both our Sour Cream & Onion and Truffle Parmesan flavors to augment the relaxing effects of their 5 mg THC / 5 mg CBD dosage profile. On the other hand, the chile de árbol and lemon zest that gives Chili Limon its kick is full of caryophyllene and limonene, similar to citrus-forward sativa strains. After identifying our target terpene profile, each of our flavors were blind-tested for spice level, texture and snackability.

CPI: How does Tempo approach sourcing ingredients? How does the company source the cannabis?

RH: The infused crackers are hand-crafted in Los Angeles, California by a dedicated team of bakers at Punch Edibles & Extracts. We infuse unsalted butter with cannabis distillate and CBD isolate at different ratios to produce our three effects: Awake, Create, and Transcend. In line with our values, half our flavors use vegan butter and vegan parmesan (Chili Limon, Salt & Vinegar, Sour Cream & Onion, and Rosemary Sea Salt) to produce their signature crunch.

CPI: How did you approach developing the packaging?

RH: Tempo’s a LGBTQ-first and inclusive brand all year round, and our goal was to create packaging that was full of joy. Each flavor of Tempo Crackers has a motivational mantra on the bottom of the box. My favorite of which is “I hope you know how loved you are.”

We designed each wave pattern to help illustrate the experience and effects of its unique dosage and terpene profile. For example, you’ll find that our Awake 5 mg flavors have a sharp spike followed by a high frequency wave, while our Transcend 2 mg flavors have a slowly rising and falling wave pattern.

Additionally, the compact design of our slim boxes fit perfectly in a purse or backpack for snacking on the go.

Tempo Crackers pride box

CPI: What was the inspiration behind launching the Pride Pack?

RH: We are focused on improving queer representation in retail. The high-value bundle is not only a great way to celebrate our community, but an opportunity to celebrate the daily cannabis consumers and medical patients that are not often represented by the majority low-dose offering of queer products on shelves today.

Our limited-edition Pride Pack allows customers to mix and match any selection of six Tempo flavors for $30 and build their own rainbow.

CPI: Can you describe wayOUT LA’s impact? Why did you decide to support the group with Pride Pack proceeds?

RH: Tempo is committed to championing for an inclusive space, and a portion of the proceeds from the Pride Pack sales are being donated to wayOUT LA, a non-profit empowering LGBTQ+ youth to feel safe. They sponsor an annual grant to LGBTQ+ youth centers and organizations across the country, primarily in conservative areas.

Supporting queer youth across the United States hits close to home for me. I grew up in a majority conservative town in Texas, came out as gay at a young age, and found community and acceptance in the cannabis industry.

This year's wayOUT grant recipient is Capital Tea, a trans-first organization based in Tallahassee, Florida. Its mission is to support and unify TLGBQ+ people through education, advocacy, and empowerment, and to build an equitable future for our community.

Tempo Crackers new flavors

CPI: Are there any recent or upcoming flavor introductions you’d like to highlight?

RH: Tempo Crackers just recently launched three new flavors:

  • Buffalo Cheddar (5 mg THC | 5 mg CBD per cracker)
  • Truffle Parmesan (5 mg THC | 5 mg CBD per cracker)
  • Salt & Vinegar (5 mg THC per cracker, vegan)

And our existing line features five flavors:

  • Black Pepper (2 mg THC | 6 mg CBD per cracker)
  • Chipotle Honey BBQ (5 mg THC | 5 mg CBD per cracker)
  • Chili Limon (5 mg THC per cracker, vegan)
  • Rosemary Sea Salt (2 mg THC | 6 mg CBD per cracker, vegan)
  • Sour Cream & Onion (5 mg THC | 5 mg CBD per cracker, vegan)

We’re currently planning research and development for a rosin or live resin-based snack, as well as exploring snacks outside of the cracker.

CPI: Do you have any plans to expand beyond California?

RH: Tempo will definitely be available nationally as the snack category continues to grow. We just recently closed a fresh round of financing to support our rapid expansion and are working on developing partnerships in new states. We are very open to inquiries from manufacturers who are expanding their assortment.

Related: Tempo Crackers introduces Pride Pack