Cooking with Cannabis: Infused Products Manifest on Menus Nationwide - Food & Beverage Magazine

Cooking with Cannabis: Infused Products Manifest on Menus Nationwide

National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB)

How often does a broad new slate of ingredients come to the market? That’s exactly what’s happening as legalization of cannabis-infused edibles, concentrates and beverages expands. Cooking with cannabis has become a thing.

One case in point is CBD having been cited as the No. 1 food trend on global hospitality company BENCHMARK’s top dining trends for 2020. And, front-liners apparently concur. According to a National Restaurant Association Culinary forecast, in a “What’s Hot” survey among American Culinary Federation chefs “nearly 77 percent ranked cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend, and 76 percent of them tapped cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular.”

Amid so much F&B buzz around the now-legalized bud, cannabis-infused menus are gong mainstream, exponentially extending beyond specialized cafes and other boutique eateries that were the first adopters.

However, as the trend takes flight, there’s concern that a safe and scalable supply chain will present as a key challenge for foodservice and other hospitality decision-makers. Appreciating the extent to which this is already becoming a concern in other industries, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) established and recently enacted National Standards for production, process safety controls and storage of cannabis-infused products.

“There’s been little in the way of standardized control for production, safety and storage as cannabis-driven products become available in the food and beverage sector,” said Adrienne Uthe, NACB’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’ve collaborated with industry experts, including but not limited to NACB organization members, to formalize a series of best practices into National Standards that we hope will lead to improved quality and safety in cannabis-infused products—both when utilized in a professional context and personally.”

The NACB’s National Cannabis-Infused Product Standards, which may be accessed online, cover such areas as licensing, quality of raw materials and ingredients, processing and storage requirements, manufacturing operations and product testing, complaints and recalls.

The NACB has also adopted National Standards for cannabis product packaging and labeling, advertising, lab testing and product integrity and security.

“We strongly believe that establishing National Standards and best practices to ensure consumer safety and business responsibility are essential to the future of cannabis establishing and sustaining itself as a respected, ethical industry,” notes Uthe. “Whether you’re a licensed cannabis business, a five-star restaurant or luxe hotel, people need to be able to trust your brand. National Standards can be the benchmark starting point for building that trust in an emerging industry with tremendous upside potential.”

Not just focused on food and beverage, the NACB is a B2B membership organization dedicated to providing licensed cannabis businesses of all types and sectors—including   ancillary businesses along the supply chain—with the tools to grow and thrive in their respected industries. As the organization’s industry-specific National Standards are drafted and adopted by NACB members, compliance with these Standards is required for ongoing membership.

When it comes to consumables, however, there’s an understandable sense of urgency and need. “Transparency, for one, is an imperative for those serving cannabis-infused edibles and beverages on their menu,” urges Uthe. “Foodservice operations need to deliver a new depth of information to their dining customers and, for a successful outcome, consumers need trust in the businesses and products being extended.”

As new ground continues to break for cannabis-infused products amid tremendous innovation and burgeoning consumer acceptance, NACB’s efforts to standardize and enforce safety and responsibility in the F&B ecosystem will ultimately benefit us all.


As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her prolific cross-media platform work that reaches multi-millions each month via broadcast TV (her own major market/network TV show “Savvy Living” and copious other shows on which she appears) as well as print and online publications. Connect with her at / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIN

Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.



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