AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE:AGRA) (OCTMKTS:AGFAF) indicated Wednesday that construction at its 51,500-square foot edibles-manufacturing facility and research lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba, would be completed in the next 60 days, with 75% of the work already finished.
AgraFlora’s GMP-certified Winnipeg edibles facility, at the heart of the company’s manufacturing strategy, is undergoing a retrofit which should be completed in early 2020.
Vancouver-based AgraFlora expects the Winnipeg edibles facility to submit its Health Canada affirmation of readiness and video evidence package after rounding out construction. The company is working with industry experts to manage the timing and quality of the evidence package submission. It expects the standard processing license to be granted for the Winnipeg edibles manufacturing facility by summer 2020.
“Completing the construction and licensing of the Winnipeg edibles facility is a strategic priority for AgraFlora in 2020,” said AgraFlora Organics CEO Brandon Boddy in a statement.
Once activated, the Winnipeg edibles facility will be operated by chocolatiers and confectioners producing an assortment of cannabinoid and terpene-infused products for medicinal and adult use.
Delivering consistently dosed edibles
“Edibles have only been broadly available to Canadian consumers starting in 2020 and the industry is still struggling to manage quality and inventory levels. Our team in Winnipeg has a century of candy making experience, and our facility is designed to produce high-quality, consistently dosed edibles using smart automation investments to reduce costs as much as possible,” pointed out Boddy.
“Once licensed, we expect to be disruptive in the edibles space,” he added.
The company said the facility’s initial focus will be the production of THC and CBD infused cannabis gummies which management believes will be the largest category of cannabis edibles in Canada. The facility is designed and operated by the company’s joint-venture partner holding nearly a century of confectionary manufacturing experience.
In addition, strategic investments in automation will allow the Winnipeg edibles facility to reduce operating costs. Some key facility highlights include:
- Automated Manufacturing: The custom-developed confectionary line utilizes automated mixing, cooking and depositing systems to allow cannabis edibles to be produced from raw materials and cannabis inputs with little human intervention. This process reduces labour costs versus more manual manufacturing systems, increases throughput and increases product consistency.
- Smart Recipe Management: The facility’s manufacturing equipment is all computer-controlled with each recipe custom-programed to the exact required specifications. This ensures that recipes are followed exactly, increasing the consistency and predictability of the final product. In addition, the smart recipe management facilitates faster recipe changes, increasing the flexibility of the production line.
- Pharmaceutical Grade Dose Management: Consistent dosing of the cannabis edibles is vital to maintain regulatory compliance and consumer confidence. The equipment utilized by the Winnipeg facility is pharmaceutical grade, meaning it is capable of precisely dosing the edibles with cannabinoids.
- Robust Clean-In-Place Systems: The equipment has been fitted with an automated clean in place system that utilizes advanced systems to rapidly and effectively clean and sanitize the production equipment without disassembly or transportation to a cleaning bay. This will greatly reduce the labour required to maintain a sanitary production environment and increase daily throughput by reducing equipment downtime due to cleaning.
“We have seen in the data from the United States and the early sales in Canada that gummies are the preferred edible form factor, and our joint venture partner has 100 years of experience producing candy confectionaries such as gummies,” said Boddy.
Strategic investments in automation
“We’ve been strategic in our investments in automation to ensure our line is industry leading from a cost perspective, but also very flexible to accommodate different sizes of production run, flavours and cannabinoid contents,” he said.
Boddy said that over time, the facility’s equipment will allow the company to branch out “beyond gummies into chocolates, caramels, hard candies and more complex infused confections.”
The company said that Edibles and Infusions Corporation holds a cannabis research licence from Health Canada.
A diversified cannabis company, Vancouver-based AgraFlora owns an indoor cultivation facility in London, Ontario, as well as the edibles manufacturing facility in Winnipeg.
The company is also a joint venture partner in Propagation Services Canada Inc, which operates a 2.2 million-square-foot greenhouse complex in Delta, British Columbia.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive