Pantry Aims to Elevate the Edibles Experience
When foodies think of Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, two New York City-based chefs collectively known as “The Franks,” the 2014 Vice show “Being Frank” probably comes to mind.
But if Canadian cannabis entrepreneur and financier Paul Rosen – the man behind enterprises like Tidal Royalty and PharmaCan – is successful, Castronovo and Falcinelli could become better known for their cannabis-infused edibles.
The restaurateurs behind Frankies Spuntino Group and the Oro di Sicilia olive oil line recently teamed up with Rosen and cannabis investor Scott Jennings to launch Pantry, a cannabis-infused food company that makes low-dose edibles.
Avoiding what Jennings would consider inferior ingredients – those he believes comprise the culinary cannabis space -- Pantry has set its sights on the high end of the edibles category with chef-driven specialty products free of preservatives or artificial flavorings.
“We want to be known as the most trusted brand in the cannabis space,” Jennings told THCnet, noting that Pantry avoids using processed sugars, preservatives or other artificial flavors.
In doing so, the company has embarked on a partnership plan that will soon include additional well-respected chefs like the Franks, and a strategy of presenting their products in more approachable and elevated packaging.
“We think of this as a centerpiece at the table so instead of someone trying to wiggle out something that looks unsafe from their pocket and somebody thinking, “Oh, my God, put that away,” they say, “Oh, wow, what is that?”
Jennings said the approach of creating low dose edibles is intended to capture a consumer seeking a more moderate buzz.
“We’re really trying to create a social and safe dining experience,” he says, noting that Pantry products retail for between $25 - $40.
“You can easily spend that much at a bar,” he added.
Conceived in partnership with the creative services agency Green Street, which is 50% owned by Gary Vaynerchuk, Pantry currently sells a handful of all-natural products across California dispensaries.
Additional products are forthcoming, but for now the company offers a pair of ganaches, bite-size Keto chocolates, a traditional Italian chocolate, and gummies made with real fruit puree.
Pantry is looking to expand distribution into Nevada dispensaries, and Jennings said he envisions the company working alongside local chefs to cater to other legal cannabis markets.
The Los Angeles-based company is also in the process of developing and expanding product lines for vegans, gluten-free eaters, and those following the low-sugar, low-carb Keto diet, Jennings added. The goal? Fill the current gap forcing health-conscious diners to eat things they wouldn’t normally – cheap chocolate, for instance – just to get a high.
According to Jennings, Pantry’s extensive research and development ensures not only that the best-tasting food makes it to market, but also that consumers have the best possible cannabis experience.
Much like using garlic in cooking, he says, recipe developers have to think of cannabis as an ingredient -- testing, measuring and playing with the ratio of strains, cannabinoids and terpenes. It’s an ever-evolving process as they start to search for ways to tailor to customers’ desired effects.
Jennings declined to share detailed information about investment or current sales, but said the initial product lineup has sold better than expected since its official September launch (initial Pantry items debuted at the Hall of Flowers trade show).
The company is also planning to launch a capital raise in the near future, he added.