NutraCast: Scott Mandell on the ‘Free-From’ market

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By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

NutraCast: Scott Mandell on the ‘Free-From’ market

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When you’re out grocery shopping, you probably noticed there are now entire sections dedicated to ‘free-from’ products.

These products are made without specific ingredients like gluten, dairy, nuts and other things that many are allergic to or cant tolerate.

Scott Mandell, founder and former CEO of Chicago-based Enjoy Life Foods has been credited for "revolutionizing big food" by creating this free-from category and now he’s taking those skills and applying them to cannabis.

“I was a bit conflicted before I kind of jumped in, especially back then. I mean, it's even evolved in the last five years, but in 2016 and 2017, it was still kind of, not a taboo space, but it was still kind of crossing the lines a little bit. So I had to give it some thought on whether or not this lined up with my own personal beliefs and I felt good about doing what I would be doing. I went from not sure, to feeling OK, to actually feeling great because the more I thought about it, the more, I got into it. There was a lot of similarities to Enjoy Life Foods in the sense that Enjoy Life had a true reason for being and was really there to help people live a better life,”​ explained Mandell, president of Cannabistry.

There are a number of brands and products under the Cannabistry name, including the Root of it All and Mistifi. Mandell said one of their current tasks is the creation of a cannabis-infused beverage, a project that came with a few challenges.

“Taste is definitely one, stability of the cannabinoids in the product so that they don't degrade--That's one of the biggest problems in the space, that segregation of the cannabinoids due to oxidation. Another big issue is that when the beverage is ingested, metabolizing it often takes up to an hour to start to get some type of activation of the product, the effect. We've been able to literally bring that down to five ten minutes, which is quite significant,”​ said Mandell. “It’s been years in the making and something we're really excited about launching.”

“It wasn't rocket science to say hey, research and development is going to be important in cannabis. I mean, it's important in food, it's important in beverage, it's important in cosmetics and it's important in any industry and we kind of felt like it was a step missed in this space, as there was this great rush to get products to market.”

To hear more on the ‘free-from’ movement and how it translates from food to cannabis, listen to the NutraCast.

You can also subscribe on iTunes​, Spotify ​, Stitcher​ and Google Podcasts​.

NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA​. Music by Kevin Macleod.

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