Monday, May 12, 2008

Hemp Milk Products Fueled Growth of Hemp Food Market in 2007

Mars needs Cannabis...for food, clothing, paper products and medical therapies.

Here is a March 2008 press release from the Hemp Industries Association.

Portland, OR — As leading North American brands that make hemp food and body care products with hemp seed and oil exhibit at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA from March 14-16, new retail data released today proves that these brands are racking up record sales once again. Hemp milk is the main driving force behind this accelerated sales growth. The strong sales have occurred against the backdrop of state-licensed hemp farmers in North Dakota fighting a high stakes legal battle against DEA to grow hemp seed. The new sales data lends credibility to the assertion by U.S. farmers' that they are being left out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for exactly ten years. Canada re-legalized hemp production on March 12, 1998.

The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural food retailers only, excluding Whole Foods Market and mass-market food and pharmacy stores, and thus under-represents actual sales by a factor of two to three. The total hemp foods market is estimated to be $20-30 million. The new report shows that hemp food sales grew by 55% over the previous year (from December 2007 to December 2008), or by $3.4 million, to a total of $9.7 million.

Hemp milk is a refreshing alternative to nut- and grain-based beverages as well as dairy beverages. Grain-based beverages are often lacking in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), protein and minerals, unless they are fortified. Nut-based milks and dairy beverages are nutritionally better, but more and more people, especially children, are developing allergies to dairy products and tree nuts and groundnuts.

"We wanted to offer a great-tasting, healthy product that we can feel good about giving our own kids," says Christina Volgyesi, President of Living Harvest ( "As more and more consumers begin searching the shelves for alternative dairy products that are enjoyable to drink and contain unprocessed ingredients, we thought that early 2007 was the perfect time to introduce Hempmilk, a real essential and balanced nutritional beverage that the whole family can enjoy."

"We expect the double-digit growth of the hemp food sector to continue in 2007, now that hemp milk is finally available to waiting consumers," says Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director. "I tried all of the flavors available last year at Expo East in Baltimore, and they were just amazing, as were their nutritional profiles. In 2006 we predicted that the double-digit growth of the hemp food sector to continue through 2007, especially since hemp milk would finally be available to waiting consumers, and we were correct" says Steenstra.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Statistics Canada data show that the quantity of hemp seed exports increased 300% from 2006 to 2007. Hemp oil exports kept pace, with an 85% increase in quantity. Hemp fiber exports showed encouraging progress, with a 65% increase in quantity. According to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance farmers are expected to grow 10,000 to 15,000 acres of hemp this year.

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