Hemp foods are one of the hottest health food trends in North America, and a fast-growing Canadian company is demonstrating that there is a healthy appetite for nutritious hemp foods overseas, too. Due to a vigorous international sales initiative over the past few years by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils (www.manitobaharvest.com), exports of their hemp foods beyond North America have skyrocketed more than 500% over the past year. So far in 2009, the company has exported products to eight nations (in addition to the United States) including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.
Now that medical researchers, nutrition experts and chefs in the U.S. and Canada are demonstrating that hemp is a nutritious and eco-friendly superfood with vast culinary applications, the company is using this backing and their eleven years of experience educating consumers to cultivate interest in markets around the globe. Their success has not happened by chance. Manitoba Harvest employees have been busy traveling overseas to research market opportunities and to meet with retailers, food manufacturers, distributors and consumers.
This week, Manitoba Harvest is off to yet another major food event in Europe. The Food Ingredients Europe show held in Frankfurt, Germany from November 17th to 19th is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The Fi Europe show will be the fourth overseas international food show attended by Manitoba Harvest in 2009. Fi Europe is held once every two years in a major European city. The show brings together production and marketing specialists from the world’s leading food and beverage suppliers to showcase new and innovative ingredients and services.
“Our early discovery efforts indicate that there is great potential for further hemp foods sales growth in the environmental- and health-minded European marketplace,” says Mike Fata, co-founder and President. “We are a hemp foods ingredients supplier to manufacturers and we have our own line of branded products, so our export business is a two-pronged approach,” he adds.
In addition to exhibiting at major international food events, another of the co-founders of the company, Alex Chwaiewsky, has been a hemp globetrotter over the past month visiting with retailers in several cities in the European Union (EU) including London, Glasgow (Scotland), Cologne (Germany) and Amsterdam (Holland). “The Anuga Food Fair in Cologne is the world’s largest food show and it is truly a gathering of the global village,” said Chwaiewsky. “At the event and during my other travels, it was exciting to discover that although many people in the EU were not aware of the many culinary and health benefits of hemp foods, they quickly grasped the concept and were eager to learn more and to purchase our products,” he added.
An international food policy issue that might benefit Manitoba Harvest is the recent controversy over exports of flax, a grain that competes with hemp due to their mutual high content of omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. Canadian flax foods are increasingly made from genetically modified seeds (GMOs), an engineering concept which the European Union marketplace is opposed to using in food products. So it appears that this GMO health and environment issue might open up even more opportunities in the EU for Manitoba Harvest hemp foods.
During the past 5 years, Manitoba Harvest’s sales have grown more than 1,000% earning them a spot on the Profit 100 list of the fastest growing businesses in Canada. Growth in exports has helped the company reach new heights, with average monthly sales of nearly $1 million.
“Foods that offer omega-3 essential fatty acids like hemp are hot because medical evidence touting the health benefits continues to grow,” says Fata. Hemp seed also offers an impressive digestible protein profile and an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Manitoba Harvest produces Hemp Bliss – an award-winning line of organic Hempmilks, organic cold-pressed Hemp Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and a line of innovative Hemp Protein Powders.
Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is the world’s largest vertically-integrated, farmer owned hemp food manufacturer. The company strives to create the healthiest hemp foods, to educate the public about healthy lifestyle choices, and to support sustainable and organic agriculture. Manitoba Harvest is proud to partner with Renewable Choice Energy to reduce their environmental impact through wind power and carbon offsets. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com.