Food in Canada’s May Issue Features a Review of the Top 10 Food & Beverage Entrepreneurs
(Winnipeg, Manitoba) – Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils has been honoured by Food in Canada Magazine as one of the Top Ten Emerging Food & Beverage Entrepreneurs. The feature story on the Top 10 Entrepreneurs is the cover story in the May 2005 edition of the magazine. Over the past seven months, Manitoba Harvest has been reaping a great deal of attention and accolades from business experts on both sides of the border.
The only nationwide magazine that specifically targets Canada’s $60 billion food and beverage processing industry, Food in Canada is recognized as The Voice of the Canadian Food & Beverage Industry. “We’re proud to have that powerful voice speaking for us, and we’re excited that they recognized our hard work and commitment to healthy food by selecting us in their Top 10,” says Manitoba Harvest Co-Founder Mike Fata, whom is featured in the segment “Growing in Green” along with Co-Founders Martin Moravcik and Alex Chwaiewsky.
Seven years ago, Mike Fata was a 22 year-old pressing oil from nutritious hemp seeds and selling it to four local health food stores. With hemp agriculture just emerging from a long prohibition due to its misunderstood and distant relationship to marijuana, the odds for economic success seemed a stretch and the need for consumer education was daunting. The dedication of Fata and his business partners has paid off now that the hemp food industry is skyrocketing in North America - growing by 66% in 2004.
Fata was featured in the April 2005 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine, a leading business publication with a readership of more than 2 million business-savvy people. The Entrepreneur article, in the “SELL” section, features Manitoba Harvest’s knack for using upbeat product demonstrations to drive sales.
In October 2004, Fata was presented with the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) 2004 Young Entrepreneur Award. More recently, in February 2005, the company’s meteoric sales growth was recognized with a 2004 Business Achievement Award from the Nutrition Business Journal – a leading natural product trade publication. In March of this year, Natural Foods Merchandiser, another leading industry trade publication, featured the company in an extensive article on the growing demand for hemp foods.
The Food in Canada feature highlights Manitoba Harvest’s strong commitment to educating consumers about healthy hemp foods. With no real market for hemp food when they started in 1998, Fata and his partners invested heavily in direct interaction with customers through consumer shows and in-store demos. “Educating consumers about the health benefits of hemp foods and the fact that health foods can be delicious has been our focus from day one,” he says.
Fata and his partners have overcome regulatory strife, international challenges and the usual headaches a start-up company endures to become a leader in the natural product marketplace. Now that regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. has been resolved in favour of hemp food companies, business is booming. A fledgling business that earned less than $50,000 in sales in its first year of 1998, sales at Manitoba Harvest jumped to $1.4 million in 2004 and are on track to explode to $2.5 million in 2005.
Hemp foods are gaining recognition from nutrition experts due to the high concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids, strong digestible protein profile, soluble and insoluble fiber content, and the array of vitamins and minerals. “Products that offer omega-3 EFAs are hot right now and as the medical evidence touting their benefits continues to mount demand is going to go through the roof,” notes Fata. Chefs and consumers are seeking hemp seed products because of their pleasant nutty flavor.
Manitoba Harvest™ Hemp Foods & Oils is the largest integrated manufacturer of hemp foods in North America. Dedicated to quality from ‘seed to shelf,’ Manitoba Harvest™ contracts hemp seed production on more than 4,000 acres by 20 farmers who are shareholders in the company. The raw seed is processed into hemp seed oil, shelled hemp seed, hemp seed nut butter and hemp protein powder at the company’s 6,000 square foot kosher and certified organic processing plant in Winnipeg. It is then distributed throughout North America to over 2,500 stores. Their products are also sold in bulk to manufacturers of bars, cereals, cosmetics and other products. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1-800-665-HEMP (4367).
Mic LeBel, 207-563-7695