Manitoba Harvest™ Adds Equipment, Staff and Work Shifts at Their Certified Organic Facility
(Winnipeg, Manitoba) – The booming international demand for healthy hemp foods has enabled award-winning Manitoba Harvest™ Hemp Foods & Oils to expand their employment and production line to 3 shifts working 24 hours per day. The busy Winnipeg company has also added a new oil press machine and other manufacturing equipment to increase the capacity of their operation, which has been certified organic.
Although Manitoba Harvest™ earned less than $50,000 in sales in its first year in 1998, a combination of factors has sparked major interest in Manitoba Harvest™ products boosting sales to $1.4 million in 2004. Now that their products are sold in over 2,500 retail locations, sales are on pace to explode to more than $2.5 million in 2005.
A 2004 court decision in the U.S. ended a 2-year legal struggle by ruling in favor of the Hemp Industries Association, finding that hemp foods are legal because they do not contain THC, the drug found in marijuana, - a distant “cousin” to hemp. Increased coverage in newspapers and popular trade and consumer magazines on the many nutritional benefits and rich nutty flavour of hemp foods is helping to grow their customer base. Manitoba Harvest’s grassroots marketing approach is also boosting sales. “Educating consumers about the health benefits of hemp foods and the fact that healthy foods can be delicious has been our focus from day one,” says Co-Founder Mike Fata.
Manitoba Harvest™ has been receiving impressive accolades for their excellence in the food industry. In May 2005 Manitoba Harvest™ was honoured by Food in Canada Magazine as one of the Top Ten Emerging Food & Beverage Entrepreneurs. Fata was featured in the April 2005 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine, a leading business publication with a readership of more than 2 million and in October 2004, he was presented with the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) 2004 Young Entrepreneur Award. In February 2005, Manitoba Harvest’s meteoric sales growth was recognized with a 2004 Business Achievement Award from the Nutrition Business Journal – a leading natural product trade publication.
Hemp foods are gaining recognition from nutrition experts due to their well-balanced and high concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), strong digestible protein profile, soluble and insoluble fiber content, and abundance of vitamins and minerals. “Products that offer omega-3 EFAs are hot right now because medical evidence touting the health benefits continues to grow,” notes Fata.
Freshness is Important
Since Manitoba Harvest™ is the largest integrated producer of hemp food products in North America, they can distinguish themselves from their competition by controlling production from “seed to shelf.” Because of this advantage, they are better able to ensure price stability, freshness and quality for their customers. Their new processing 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. Unlike standard oil refining processes, their “FRESH PRESSED™” process that their new oil press features does not subject the oil to poisonous chemicals or destructive heat and the exclusion of oxygen and light during manufacturing helps to prevent oxidation and rancidity.
One of the key attributes of Manitoba Harvest™ hemp foods is the innovative “Packaged On” and “Best Before” window of freshness found on every product. All Manitoba Harvest™ products are packaged in containers impermeable to light and oxygen to prevent degradation of nutrients, and the packages are flushed with an inert gas to seal in freshness.
Manitoba Harvest™ contracts more than 4,000 acres of hemp seed production with 20 local farmers that are shareholders in the company. They process the raw seed into hemp seed oil, shelled hemp seed, hemp seed nut butter and hemp protein powder at their 6,000 square foot state-of-the-art kosher certified and USDA certified organic facility. Manitoba Harvest™ products are distributed to more than 2,500 stores and 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).