Edible Innovation: Hacking The Future of Cannabis

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Edible Innovation: Hacking The Future of Cannabis

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe.

With the increase of legal cannabis market (market is predicted to grow at a compound annual rate 17%), there is no wonder lots of food makers are increasingly starting hacking around it. In the last weeks we met a few of them: here an overview.

Want to try the chocolate that contain cannabis in it? Trust me, it’s becoming more and more easy to find. Karlee Eichenberger, co-founder of Serra has the primary mission to make a product containing high quality ingredients and cannabis. “We aim for the normalization of cannabis, offering a refined experience for all”. That’s how Karlee started designing the bars: now the THC Bars are made with ethically sourced Peruvian beans from the Cajamarca region and 5mg of THC per serving. The approach here is to take a really well-known food product and hack it, in order to bring it to a different level: this could happen changing ingredients’ sources, adding new ingredients and even providing a different sensation to the final user.

Karlee is not alone in this journey, quite the opposite.
Mark Englestead is the mind (and hands!) behind Pot O Coffee. It is a coffee with the infuse of cannabis. The amount of the cannabis is the legal amount, so people can use it wisely.
The process took a while to be polished, reiterating a lot: “the technical process”, he explains, ”is CO2-based, leaving few terpenes behind. The resulting oil, is already decarboxylate, and adding an emulsifier, he has been able to dry it out, creating, a powder, which is mixed into the single servings”. Now Mark has a company doing that, they raised money from friends and family and they are ready to get to Colorado, Washington and Oregon in May. It seems that business is speeding up for this food maker!

Finally, the team behind Incredibles represent another interesting food makers story. When they started, 8 years ago, their main struggle was the inconsistency they were funding in the few cannabis food products they tried. That’s why they started hacking: “to create an edible product with the standard quality everybody would look for”. They knew the countless challenges they waiting for them along this path, but they are the proof of a great team able to bring an idea to the market. Starting with edible chocolate bar, now they produce the extract in a consumable dosage, as well as candies, creams and oils.

These three cases are showing how much this field is evolving, opening opportunities for makers to hack, prototype and enter a new market. These examples show also how innovation is often the result of a tweak an existing concepts, through experimentation and constant testing. There are always sweet spots where to hack and innovate, it is all about being hungry enough to find them!


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Chiara is fascinated by food as a means to impact bodies, minds, and environment. She has studied international business in three different countries, and is an alumni of the Food Innovation Program and US Director at the Future Food Institute.

Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, working on building the first comprehensive Internet of Food to enable food care through food systems semantics. She is a selected member of Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future, Board Member at Maker Faire and selected member of the Global Shapers, a young global network of innovators promoted by the World Economic Forum.

She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and aims to leave her mark on society.

View more articles by Chiara Cecchini