Vice President or Product Development
As Cresco Labs’ Vice President of Product Development, Stephanie Gorecki leads R&D for Food & Beverage and Flower-based development. She co-developed the Stage Gate process for new product introductions and works cross functionally to ensure best-in-class product launches for Cresco Labs. Her team ensures that products meet certain chemical and physical properties and they conduct the technical research needed to adopt the technology that is essential to be a disruptor in the cannabis space. She also helps build and launch food & beverage manufacturing operations in legal cannabis states and uses existing manufacturing equipment to accelerate time to market and reduce the need for additional capital investments.
She reformulated Mindy’s Edibles' gummy line around new and innovative cooking, depositing, set up and demolding processes--an effort that resulted in the line’s expansion to California, Massachusetts and Michigan. Under her leadership, Cresco Labs shifted gummy production from a labor intensive, small batch, tabletop process to a system with advanced confectionary production equipment, which enabled the food & beverage department to increase production output to serve state demands. Ms. Gorecki also helped increase production capacity to serve increased demand from the new adult-use cannabis market in Illinois and spearheaded the development of a non-infused products pilot lab and dedicated product development space at The Hatchery Chicago in Illinois. This R&D center is utilized to formulate, test and scale before conducting infusion trials that take place in Cresco Labs' production facilities nationwide.
Ms. Gorecki previously served as a Sr. Food Scientist, Innovation & New Technology at Newly Weds Foods, where she was recognized for product innovation for developing a breakthrough new product category using existing manufacturing equipment technology that resulted in minimal capital investment. She also developed new product formulations using co-extrusion food manufacturing technology that was owned and implemented by many of the organization's customers. Before Newly Weds Foods, she spent six years in flavor R&D and applications roles, working for Prinova Group and Flavorchem Corporation.
In 2021, she was recognized by Crain’s Business Chicago in its 2021 Class of 40 Under 40. In 2020, she was recognized by Crain's Business Chicago in its Most Notable Women in Manufacturing list. She is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and a member of the Illinois Women in Cannabis (IWC). In addition, she is a frequent speaker at industry events, including Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network's Cannabis Innovation conference and Cannabis Industry Journal's the 3rd Annual Infused Products conference.
Ms. Gorecki obtained a master’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.
Consumer demand for a variety of quality cannabis product offerings continues to grow. As cannabis product development processes begin to look more and more like everyday CPG product development, the technical need continues to shift. Teams are becoming more focused and technical in nature, and the equipment and laboratory setting in which cannabis products are developed are being designed to support this work. This session will look at the competitive market and how science and technology is evolving and how new technology and research is being applied to cannabis product development.