CBD Business

Tariq Farid Is Taking Edibles Back With Launch Of New CBD Business Focused On Traceability

Tariq Farid has been in the edible space for 20 years, but it’s not what you think.

His company, Edible Arrangements, which was founded in 1999, sends bouquets of fruit to its customers as gifts as a healthy and condescending alternative to a bouquet of flowers. But about five years ago, he began defending the name of his business, as the word “edible” came to mean the cunning brownie, saturated with cannabis, which was distributed at a home party.

“I started hearing about this concept of edible products in a very different light, mostly related to cannabis consumption, and we had to spend a lot of time fighting it and determining what was edible,” Farid said.

Return of control over food products

After several years of confusion, including calling law firms and lobbyists and defining the word edible beyond those murky connotations, a silver lining appeared in the form of CBD, an extract of the hemp plant known for its soothing properties.

Cannabidiol (CBD), which is also produced in the controversial hemp marijuana, is known for its sedative properties and has gained popularity as a supplement or topical remedy for pain, anxiety and insomnia, among other uses. The 2018 farm bill accelerated that when the federal government declassified hemp as a controlled substance, and today you will notice the growing presence of CBD-containing foods and beverages in cafes, pharmacies and gas stations in major US cities.

“We saw the opportunity in this initial threat to accept the term edible and get ahead of it with a focus on the health of edible products through CBD, not high,” Farid said after starting Incredible Edibles, a CBD business, last week.

“Everyone starts with the shock factor, but then you talk to people and it turns out that a lot of them have tried CBD, they don’t have a problem with it, and there’s no more confusion.”

Farid is not the first or last company to focus on CBD, as demand has skyrocketed. Market research firm Brightfield Group estimates that sales of CBD products in the US alone will reach $ 5 billion in 2019, an incredible increase of 706% compared to 2018. For investors reading this, this is a combined annual rate of growth (CAGR) of 107%. Brightfield predicts that this will increase to $ 23.7 billion by 2023.

What is Incredible Adibles?

Incredible Edibles is an end-to-end CBD product business that will grow, process and sell CBD food products through a franchise model that Farid uses to successfully scale Edible Arrangements to a $ 500 million company a year.

But for Farid, Incredible Edibles is much more than jumping on the latest trend to make money fast. He plans to take the time to launch the first products. First, the company is undertaking a research project with local growers and the University of Connecticut to grow, test and process 20 acres of hemp with a $ 50,000 investment from the city of South Windsor, according to local media.

“We will take the slow, methodical path. “We could easily start selling CBD products and do what everyone else is doing, but we think there’s something good here and a long-term opportunity to prove the right practices and build in the right places,” he said.

This study will include the identification of best cultivation practices, including best seed genetics, that comply with hemp crops that contain less than 0.3% THC – the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant – but also and how to ensure that the product is fully traceable from seed to shelf, exactly the way the product is processed and formed. This is an important step in what Incredible Edibles CEO Ron Reynolds called the “wild, wild west of the CBD.”

Consumers have no idea how much, if any, CBD is in the products they buy, Reynolds said, or whether they comply with federal regulations on THC levels or the presence of harmful chemicals. “The fact is that hemp is extremely absorbent, so any oil obtained from it will reflect what is in the soil, so we have to test the soil, the resulting hemp and many others before we start pouring it into the food.

“When we decided to do that, we went to CBD and found places that advertised their great practices in places like Colorado and Kentucky, but when I stopped by to meet them, it was shocking what they actually do and how they handle the product. Farid agreed. “So when we brought in Ron Reynolds, our chief operating officer, we decided that in Connecticut we had the opportunity to study and then control the whole process, not just the supply of the crop from seed to cultivation, but also its processing.”

“There will soon be a market oversaturation, but consumers will start asking, ‘Are you really providing what you’re saying?’ We want to differentiate ourselves by offering full traceability to consumers and working with experienced manufacturers.”

Turbid regulations

Ensuring end-to-end product traceability will also be important when navigating the regulatory landscape, which is still murky in many ways. Foods infused with CBD are not yet federally legal, as the FDA has yet to give CBD a generally accepted designation as safe away from its pharmaceutical uses in the treatment of epilepsy. This has returned the burden on US states to allow CBD-containing foods, and everyone is reacting differently. (See the latest position for each state here.)

Connecticut does allow CBD to flow into food, and the next phase for Incredible Edibles will be to work on the food science behind it, making appropriate blends and developing shelf-resistant products, according to Farid. The company will then launch its franchise model with plans for wellness-focused locations similar to juice bars. The first will start in Connecticut.

“Given current research and the growing body of knowledge about the quality of the food we consume and its direct link to our health and well-being, I am convinced that high-quality, fully traceable hemp CBD should be as commercially available as any other food, “he said.

But what about the whole competition? “We’re used to this in franchises, but that’s why we’re focused on spending our time doing it right and laying the groundwork for a successful supply chain,” Farid said. “We’re not just going into this space, we’re serious about building a legacy brand, as we did with Edible Arrangements, which consumers are looking for and which takes the lead.”

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