Hemp, an immensely versatile plant and nutritional powerhouse, is on its way to an epic comeback. With a long history as a staple crop around the world, hemp has a long history as a staple crop around the world. Not only is it naturally sustainable, requires little water, pesticides or herbicides but it also helps to replenish the soil.
In early America, hemp was used to make flour, oil, paper, cloth, rope and animal feed. In fact, in many states hemp was considered so valuable and stable that it was used as common currency. As the laws and perceptions of hemp’s cousin, cannabis sativa, have undergone a rapid shift in society, so hemp is gradually regaining its place in our everyday lives.
The hemp renaissance is reflected in the numbers. Consumers embrace it as a nutritionally superior, environmentally sound and ethical choice. In only one year from 2016 to 2017, the total retail value of hemp products sold in the US jumped from $688 million to an estimated $820 million and are expected to continue to grow at a double digit pace. Hemp foods accounted for roughly 17% of that total ($137 million), personal care products for 22% ($181 million) and supplements for another 5% (45 million). Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, pointed out that the hemp market has essentially tripled in the last 5 years and that “Few other industries can so clearly prove the market demand for their products.”
Everyone from athletes to health-conscious moms and natural beauty aficionados are embracing the hemp phenomenon. In the functional food and beverage industry, hemp is processed into various formats including hemp oil, protein powder and protein flour. Hemp products have a rich, nutty flavor which is derived from the healthy oils and minerals found in the plant.
Hemp protein powder may be the highest vegan source of simple protein available on the market, with an average 15 grams of protein per serving. Hemp protein is also easily digestible and contains 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids. Hemp protein powder is becoming increasingly popular both as a drink mix and in pre-made protein drinks and energy bars.
Hemp protein flour is a healthy gluten and nut-free alternative in baked goods and cereals. High in protein and with a fiber content of 40%, higher than most flours in the market, hemp protein flour is ideal for use in blends with other flours that contain gluten, to create innovative bakery and pastry products.
Hemp oil is another popular use of this amazing plant. Hemp oil contains a perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 and may help support a healthy immune system and healthy cholesterol levels. Hemp oil contains a range of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, zinc and iron. It’s also a great source of vitamins A, B, C and E and may help reduce tissue inflammation. Hemp oil is a potent moisturizer and anti-wrinkle agent and has numerous benefits for the skin, hair and nails. In addition to being used as a health supplement, hemp oil is rapidly gaining popularity in a wide range of personal care products including body lotion, balms, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, face creams and cleansers and even sunscreen.
As consumers increasingly make choices guided by environmental and ethical concerns as well as taste and nutrition, hemp will continue to hold up as the most environmentally sustainable and ethically produced choice. Hemp is a long distance runner in the plant world, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it!
NP Nutra® offers three premium certified organic hemp products: Hemp Protein Powder (45%), Hemp Seed Oil and Hemp Protein Flour. For free samples and more information, please contact your account manager or request a sample.