Organic Bulk & Private Label Program to Meet Growing Demand From Manufacturers, Retailers & Consumers
Winnipeg, Manitoba (February 28, 2006) - With sales doubling in the U.S. in each of the past two years, hemp foods and cosmetics are among the hottest categories in the natural products marketplace. Likewise, sales of organic products have been growing consistently in double figures over the past decade. To meet the exploding demand spurred by these two hot trends, Manitoba Harvest(TM) Hemp Foods & Oils has announced a new "Fresh Organic Hemp Service" to expand the organic hemp products and services it provides to retailers, food service companies, manufacturers and consumers.
The new "Fresh Organic Hemp Service" will allow Manitoba Harvest, the largest integrated manufacturer of hemp foods in North America, to provide full service support for the organic ingredients and organic private label products they supply to hundreds of manufacturers. The new Fresh Organic Hemp Service includes new bulk product sizes for their Organic Hemp Seed Nut (5 pound, 25 pound and 200 pound pails), Organic Hemp Seed Oil (1-gallon, 5-gallon and 55-gallon drums), and Organic Hemp Protein Powder (5 pound, 25 pound and 200 pound pails). These are sold to a growing number of food companies that make waffles, bread, frozen desserts, cookies, pasta, salad dressings, protein powders, energy bars and sauces, as well as to cosmetics companies that use the oil in soaps, shampoos, lip balms and other personal care items. These organic hemp raw materials are also sold to retailers for individual sales in their bulk sections, and to restaurants and food service companies to provide them with discount bulk pricing.
"Hemp is nature's best and most-balanced source of omega-3 and omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and that is fueling major interest from nutrition experts, consumers, retailers and manufacturers," says Mike Fata, President and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest. In addition to the high concentration of EFAs, hemp foods are gaining the attention of nutrition experts due to their strong digestible protein profile, soluble and insoluble fiber content, and wealth of minerals and natural antioxidants including Vitamin E, Vitamin C and chlorophyll. "Food manufacturers and people that like to prepare their own healthy meals are figuring out that hemp foods have a pleasant nutty flavor and are an easy nutrition boost to recipes and meals," adds Fata.
To ramp up for the new organic service, Manitoba Harvest has been busy expanding its certified organic processing facility, its annual organic hemp seed crop - and its workforce. The Winnipeg company recently installed new state-of-the-art dehulling and seed pressing equipment and greatly increased its storage and handling facility to accommodate more than a million pounds of raw hemp seed that will be received and processed at their facility this year. To keep up with demand for organic hemp, Manitoba Harvest and the farmers it partners with have increased their organic hemp seed acreage by 500% for the 2006 season. The booming international demand for organic hemp products has also enabled Manitoba Harvest to expand their employment and production line to 3 shifts working 24 hours per day.
Since 1998, dedication to sustainable agriculture has been a key part of Manitoba Harvest's success and the company is thrilled that demand for organic hemp seed is taking off. "Hemp farming is sustainable agriculture at its best," says Fata. "It is naturally pest-resistant, and because hemp plants grow rapidly and close together, they crowd out weeds and don't need herbicides," Fata adds. Hemp is also a soil-building plant that is excellent for crop rotation. Its strong roots anchor the soil to prevent erosion and the leaves return nitrogen to the soil. "Hemp cultivation generates virtually no waste and its byproducts are commercially useful," notes Fata.
To ensure a high-quality and plentiful supply of hemp seed, Manitoba Harvest partners more than 2 dozen dedicated family farmers that share their commitment to the eco-friendly benefits of growing hemp in Manitoba - a leading grain region in the world. Manitoba Harvest provides the farmers with shareholder status and prices above market for their non-GMO seed.
Organic Hemp Seed Nut is in the highest demand as an ingredient. It has a soft texture, attractive sesame seed-like appearance and offers a nutty flavor similar to pine nuts. Although there are many uses, hemp seed nut is especially delicious when sprinkled on salads. It is also used by food companies as an ingredient in bread, cereal, cookies, nutrition bars, muffins and grain dishes. Examples of successful natural food companies that add hempseed to their products include French Meadow Bakery (bread), and Nature's Path (waffles & cereal).
To create Manitoba Harvest(TM) Organic Hemp Seed Oil, hemp seeds are freshly cold pressed to extract the oil. The cold press ensures that valuable enzymes are not destroyed and vitamins, minerals and nutrients remain intact. The oil is primarily known as a tasty base for salad dressings and as a nutritious addition to smoothies. Since hemp oil offers many benefits for the skin, it is gaining in popularity as an ingredient in soaps and personal care products such as lip balms.
Manitoba HarvestT Organic Hemp Protein Powder is emerging as a leading protein powder due to its rich flavor, high content of protein (38%), complete profile of essential amino acids and because it offers 54% of the FDA's daily recommended fiber. It provides a protein and fiber boost to drink mixes, and is used as a nutritious flour alternative in baking products. Unlike the many refined "isolate" protein powders on the market that use additives and processing chemicals, Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Protein Powder is a 100% "whole food" powder that is free of the enzyme inhibitor found in other protein flours and powders that can prevent protein absorption and cause digestive problems.
Because Manitoba Harvest(TM) is the largest integrated producer of hemp food products in North America, they can control production from "seed to shelf" and are better able to ensure price stability, freshness and quality. Their expansion will help them continue to deliver their products fresh on-demand - an approach that allows them to maximize freshness which is important for ensuring the nutritional value and flavor of hemp foods. All Manitoba Harvest products are packaged in containers that are impermeable to light and oxygen to prevent degradation of the nutrients, and the packages
are flushed with an inert gas to seal in freshness.
Manitoba Harvest is an award-winning company with products offered nationwide at more than 2,000 natural food retailers, including Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1-800-665-HEMP (4367).