The Edibles Industry Today
The cannabis edibles industry in the United States is growing rapidly. According to a recent report, the market for cannabis edibles is expected to reach $4.1 billion by 2022. This growth is being driven by many factors, including the increasing legalization of cannabis, the rising popularity of cannabis edibles, and the growing acceptance of cannabis as a medicinal product. As the cannabis edibles industry continues to grow, it is important to understand the different types of products that are available. Cannabis edibles come in many different forms, including candy, baked goods, beverages, and even pet treats. Each product contains a different concentration of cannabis, which can be customized to meet the needs of each consumer. With the continued growth of the cannabis edibles industry, even more, innovative and delicious products will likely become available in the years to come.
And herein lies the challenge. As the industry continues to experience robust growth and newer brands/products enter the space, many smaller manufacturers are still unfamiliar with government-mandated food-safety requirements or quality standards, assuming that the onus of safety lies elsewhere. This combination of insufficient knowledge and a lack of quality-specific systems and processes coupled with a severe dearth of training for employees to properly control quality and safety is a major hindrance to the large-scale growth of the industry.
Bringing About Transformative Change
The way forward is to start looking at edibles and their ingredients like any other product. Today every product we can buy on supermarket shelves or online, from soft drinks to pasta sauce, adheres to stringent quality control and food safety norms that are the norm regardless of where the actual manufacturing takes place. These norms are religiously enforced by both dedicated teams within the organization and external testing agencies whose validation is required for the manufacturer to continue operations.
To their credit, the cannabis edibles industry is starting to establish similar quality and safety protocols and practices that are on par with other food industries with periodic checks by external agencies to ensure quality. This means investing in comprehensive quality management systems, instituting regulatory compliance programs, conducting regular product testing and audits, and providing employees with the necessary training to operate effectively within these new frameworks.
While there are already a few standout companies in the industry that have done this – Colorado-based Dixie Brands, for example, was one of the first cannabis companies to be certified by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), a globally recognized food safety standard – it’s important to note that these isolated efforts will not be enough to bring about transformative change in the industry. What is needed is a more coordinated and concerted effort from all stakeholders involved in the edibles supply chain – growers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and regulators – to improve the quality and safety of cannabis edibles.
One way to do this is by investing in material testing and inspection services. Cannabis edibles manufacturers who are serious about quality and safety should consider investing in these services, as they help ensure that the raw materials used in cannabis edibles are of the highest quality and meet all applicable safety standards.
How Material Testing & Inspection Helps
As a core component of the manufacturing process, material testing and inspection ensure that quality assurance is a key component of the entire manufacturing process and that issues with the raw material such as microbials’, mold, ingredient degradation, expiry, and other factors are caught right at the beginning.
These external factors range from raw material sourcing (when raw materials are sourced from outside the United States where government rules and regulations are not strictly enforced for example, or where soil conditions are less than ideal, contaminants may very well end up in the plants and the raw extract too) to consistency in the raw material supplied by partners.
At the end of the day though, quality and safety should be the top priority for any cannabis edibles manufacturer. By investing in material testing and inspection services, manufacturers can help to ensure that their products meet the highest quality and safety standards. This, in turn, will help to build consumer trust and confidence in the cannabis edibles industry as a whole.
To achieve this, companies in the cannabis edibles industry need to have comprehensive food safety management systems in place, at both the manufacturing level and the retail level. These systems should be designed to address all aspects of food safety, from growing and harvesting to manufacturing and packaging. By doing so, companies can help to ensure that their products are safe for consumers and meet all applicable food safety standards.