The Hatchery Chicago welcomes a panel of experts addressing the current state of cannabis in the food & beverage space! We’ve recently seen a “green wave” of product development sweeping the nation, welcoming marijuana and hemp CBD into recipes and formulations from cosmetics to cookies. Following two important bills recently signed into action in Illinois (the opioid-marijuana exchange bill and the Illinois industrial hemp bill), what trends will materialize in the local food & beverage industry? We’ll discuss cannabis legal & regulatory matters, health & wellness applications, and of course, commercial culinary creations!
About the panelists:
Carmen Brace is a consumer insights and strategy executive. Carmen founded Aclara Research in 2016 to bring user centric insights to the cannabis, consumer goods, and healthcare industries. She developed patient and consumer research panels across the US, and collects valuable insights from cannabis and hemp product users to inform public policy and business strategy with data on the drivers of usage and purchase behavior. Carmen’s experience spans consumer insights, client strategy, sales and analytics across the leading manufacturers in the US food and beverage industry including ConAgra Brands, the Mars–Wrigley Company and the Campbell Soup Company. Most recently, she testified as an expert witness for the Illinois State Senate in support of cannabis legalization.
Jason Erkes is the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) at Cresco Labs, which is a multi-state cannabis operator in the cultivation, processing and dispensary business. Jason is a seasoned communicator, an Emmy Award-Winning journalist, and successful entrepreneur. He has helped many brands, including Cresco, build their reputation and communicate their key messages through creative media strategies. He currently oversees all messaging and is a spokesperson for Cresco across all their markets and brands.
Scott Mandell is the President of Cannabistry Labs, which provides out-sourced product development, scientific research, regulatory compliance, manufacturing process engineering, quality assurance programs, branding and market activation to state-licensed cannabis growers and producers. Scott was also the Founder and CEO of Enjoy Life Foods, manufacturer and marketer of allergy friendly and gluten-free foods.
Chef Manny Mendoza and Field Guide Company are the creative forces behind Herbal Notes, a series of culinary cannabis experiences: dinner parties, brunches, workshops and a variety of collaborative events across the country, educating through the application of CBD into the dining experience. A priority is also working to understand and address the injustices affecting POC found at the intersections of race, capitalism, discrimination and the failed and destructive war on drugs. A native of the south side of Chicago, Chef Mendoza graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with supportive coursework in music, nutrition, and business. Chef Mendoza’s work is driven by the desire to help people understand mental, physical, and spiritual wellness through food & music. His mission with food and cannabis is the same: shared community, food equity, and cannabis as a natural medicine for all.
Katie Thompson is Head of Sales at Bluebird Botanicals, a world leading manufacturer of high-quality hemp extracts and CBD oil. Katie began in foodservice marketing in Chicago before moving to Colorado for cannabis. She supported many large brands and manufacturers on strategy and insights, market research and product development, working hand-in-hand hand with chefs, helping to move their menu ideas into restaurants. Bluebird Botanicals played an integral role in creating the hemp-CBD industry, has one of the industry’s leading quality control systems, and runs several Assistance Programs aiding those who may not otherwise be able to purchase their products. Bluebird was awarded the #1 Hemp CBD Company at the 2016 Cannabist Awards, and continually helps pave the way for the industry at large.
*This event, hosted and coordinated by The Hatchery Chicago, is for informational purposes only. Opinions expressed during and in reference to this event are not necessarily reflective of or shared by The Hatchery Chicago as an entity or organization.