Making marijuana-infused foods is not a new approach to consumption. Cannabis consumers have been making canna-butter and infusing oils for as long as they have been cultivating the plant. However, making edibles for yourself or a dozen of your closest friends is much different from producing edibles in a commercial environment for thousands of consumers.
In 2014, Bob Eschino, CEO of Medically Correct – the producer of incredibles brand edibles, told Cannabist reporter Ricardo Baca that their facility was producing nearly 40,000 candy bars per month. And yet, according to recent data from Headset, marijuana edibles sales increased more than 20% over the last year alone, reaching $1.38 billion in 2021.
Scaling to meet the booming demand for cannabis-infused consumables requires that producers meet all the regulations of the cannabis industry and all the requirements for long-standing food production laws and regulations.
Food Safety Regulations
While heritage cannabis growers may struggle with the new state regulations for cultivating, processing, and extracting cannabis for commercial sale, food safety regulations are anything but new. In 1202, King John of England enacted the Assize of Bread law, which prohibited bakers from using alternative ingredients such as beans and peas in their bread. American Colonists adopted a similar law in 1646, and the Massachusetts Act Against Selling Unwholesome Provisions became the United States’ first food safety law in 1785.
According to CDC statistics, 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses every year, nearly 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Globally, the numbers are much worse, with an estimated 420,000 people dying annually from foodborne diseases. Food safety laws are in place to protect consumers from unsanitary practices and prevent, reduce or eliminate foodborne illnesses and death.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed in 2011 has been called the most significant food safety reform in the last seven decades. The FSMA solidifies standards and principles in safe food production, including sanitary equipment design, which means all tools and equipment that touch food during the production process must be easily disassembled and cleaned.
Scaling Starts with Choosing the Right Equipment
In his book, The Psychology of Science, Abraham Maslow paraphrases a Kaplan quote by stating, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Regardless of the product, having the right tool for the task is critical for efficiency.
In a recent Food Processing article, Ken Langhorn, vice president of sales at Ross Mixers stated,
“Scale-up is a common processing challenge, especially for products developed using kitchen mixers and blenders. A reliable and scalable R&D mixer is often one of the most crucial tools that a company first acquires when considering to develop cannabis-infused products. A laboratory high-shear mixer, for instance, is very convenient for making small batches of emulsions and solutions in standard beakers and containers up to 4 gallons at a time.”
Fortunately, with the rise in cannabis legalization and the growing acceptance of cannabis consumption, equipment manufacturers are stepping up to address the needs of the industry.
Cannabis Tech Edibles Manufacturing Equipment
If your cannabis business is searching for the right equipment to scale cannabis edibles production, the Cannabis Tech Marketplace features several reputable equipment manufacturers. These producers bring innovative solutions and a wealth of experience to the cannabis space.
Advanced Integrated Robotics
A Canadian company, A.I.R. Inc., represents automation equipment designed for food production, specifically cannabis edibles. Offering both automated and semi-automated equipment, this company specializes in a wide range of cannabis edible equipment:
ABM Equipment is no stranger to food production and brings decades of experience creating automated solutions for USDA and FDA-Certified processing facilities operating at an industrial scale. According to ABM, one of their most popular cannabis industry solutions is their automatic depositor, which can produce up to 13,000 edibles per hour.
Other solutions offered by ABM Equipment include:
One of the most critical factors in edibles production is consistency in dosing. BEE International offers high-pressure, industrial homogenizers to help edible producers create a consistent product. Bringing experience and technologies from outside industries, such as pharmaceutical, chemical, and food and beverage production, BEE provides cannabis producers with mixing/blending/grinding capabilities for a range of applications.
BEE International Homogenizers are available in several sizes to suit cannabis producers as they scale:
● Pilot & Industrial Homogenizers
For these and other cannabis production solutions, browse the Cannabis Tech Marketplace. We are partnering with some of the leading cannabis and hemp industry ancillary businesses to offer strategic information for industry decision-makers.
Do you offer specialized equipment to the cannabis industry? Would you like to be featured on Cannabis Tech and listed in our marketplace? Contact us to find out how!