(Winnipeg, Manitoba) – Manitoba Harvest™ Hemp Foods & Oils announced today that the company has entered an agreement with Select Nutrition Distributors to distribute their hemp food products throughout the U.S. The arrangement will help Manitoba Harvest™, the largest integrated producer of hemp foods in North America, manage their rapid growth and service even more retail outlets than the 1,500 stores that they already supply.
The hemp food category is one of the hottest in the booming $43 billion natural products industry - growing by 66% over the past year. During this same time period, Manitoba Harvest™ secured their position as an industry leader with annual sales in excess of $1 million. The success of their business recently earned Mike Fata, one of the company’s co-founders, the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) 2004 Young Entrepreneur Award.
Select Nutrition carries and distributes over 14,000 products from more than 450 manufacturers, to approximately 5,000 customers nationwide. Founded in 1975, Select Nutrition distributes branded vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids to health food stores, pharmacies, practitioners, sports clubs and spas. "Partnering with Select Nutrition is a big plus because it helps reach more stores and some new channels,” says Mike Fata, Manitoba Harvest’s North American Sales Manager.
Hemp foods are gaining more and more 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, vitamins and minerals. Chefs and consumers are seeking hemp because of its pleasant nutty flavor.
Manitoba Harvest™ contracts hemp seed production on more than 2,000 acres by 20 Manitoba farmers who are shareholders in the company. The raw hemp seed is processed into hemp seed oil, shelled hemp seed, nut butter and protein powder at the company’s 6,000 square foot certified organic processing plant in Winnipeg.
Major Legal Victory in 2004 is Boosting Hemp Food Sales
A major milestone for Manitoba Harvest™ occurred in 2004 when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) lost its case to ban hemp food sales in the U.S. The final chapter of the battle took place on September 27, when the deadline passed for the Bush Administration’s lawyers to attempt to overrule a unanimous decision from February 2004 by the U.S. Court of Appeals. “It was a long 2 and ½ year struggle, but the favourable decision and all of the media attention it gained has helped to drive our sales even further,” says Fata. “The legal victory straightens out the false “drug” stigma about hemp foods and eliminates regulatory uncertainty for consumers and hemp industry farmers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers and investors,” he adds. Manitoba Harvest’s new arrangement with Select Nutrition is a good example of how hemp foods are becoming more attractive to business partners in the industry.
Manitoba Harvest™ offers four categories of hemp foods: Hemp Seed Nut (shelled hemp seed); Hemp Seed Nut Butter; Hemp Seed Oil; and Hemp Protein Powder. Hemp Seed Nuts (shelled hemp seeds) have a soft texture, attractive sesame seed-like appearance and offer a nutty flavor similar to sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Although there are many uses and recipes, Hemp Seed Nuts are especially delicious when sprinkled on salads. Emerald green Hemp Seed Oil is “cold-pressed” from the raw hemp seeds. The oil is a tasty base for salad dressings. Made from ground shelled hemp seeds, Hemp Seed Nut Butter is a creamy spread for breads, bagels, crackers and croissants. Manitoba Harvest™ Hemp Protein Powder is made from cold milled hemp seed cake, a by-product of the hemp seed oil extraction process. Hemp Protein Powder is a power-packed addition to smoothies, juices and shakes.
Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest™ is dedicated to quality from “seed to shelf.” “Unlike our competitors, we are able to promise that because we are integrated and control our process from the growing of the seed right through to our end marketplace,” says Fata. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1-800-665-HEMP (4367).