“We knew that the marijuana market is going to grow bigger and bigger since we started the company around four years ago, but there is a lot of delivery methods that surpass just smoking marijuana,” Posner said. “[Good chocolate] would make intake easier for people.”
Prior to launching Nutritional High, which now mainly manufactures its FLI brand in Colorado and California, Posner worked in the beverage industry in Canada. His experience selling hemp seed-infused beer made him interested in cannabis.
US cannabis-infused chocolate sales totaled $34.34m for the past 52 weeks through September this year, growing at 28% year-over-year, according to cannabis consumer insights provider BDS Analytics. While units sold were 1.88 million during the same period, growing at 15%.
“This suggests prices are inching up. The average retail is $18.22,” BDS Analytics said.
Additionally, chocolate bars make up 87% of the US edibles market with total sales of $30m during the same year.
“We are the first Canadian [edibles] company that has US operations,” Posner told ConfectioneryNews. “We bought a facility in Colorado and work with a local manufacturing partner, Palo Verde, because state law requires the marijuana license has to be 100% owned by state residents.”
“What Nutritional High did was we helped bring technology, packaging, branding etc. to Palo Verde, but they are the actual owner of the Colorado business,” he added. Then the company profits by loaning real estate and equipment to the manufacturer.
However, in Oregon where Nutritional High is building another facility, the profit will be all under its own brand because there is no residency restrictions, according to Posner. “It’s different corporate structures by state,” he said.
Ethanol extraction process
Nutritional High is currently selling cannabis-infused dark chocolate with sea salt, and milk chocolate because “they are the most popular chocolate in the market place right now,” said Posner.
What makes its products unique is a “cold-ethanol extraction process” the company uses to produce cannabis oil, Posner claimed. However, traditional edibles such as cookies and brownies “are simply mixing marijuana flower and butter,” he said.
To ensure the quality of chocolate, Nutritional High also hired a chocolate veteran who spent over 20 years in the confectionery business, Jim Frazier, as its CEO. Frazier was previously the CEO of Florida-based Grimaldi Candy Company, according to his LinkedIn.
“[Frazier’s] experience of making chocolate works perfectly with our [cannabis] oil technology,” Posner said.
He mentioned that Nutritional High had tested its infused products for a few years before bringing them to the market. “In Colorado’s recreational market, Palo Verde can only produce chocolate bars (each of them has 10 pips) that have 10mg THC maximum,” Posner added.
“[Edibles] is a high margin business in general,” he said. “We hope to generate a fair amount of revenue next year by introducing new specialized products such as gummies.”