International: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods Announces New Distribution Partners in the UK & European Union
The Fast-Growing Canadian Company Exhibits at Leading Organic Shows in Germany & United Kingdom
By Food Biz Daily
Winnipeg, Manitoba – One of the fastest growing private companies in Canada is fueling its growth by expanding further into the vast organic food marketplace in the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). Today, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is announcing its new partnership with Re-Action Sales (www.reactionsales.com) of Middlesex, UK to distribute their hemp food products throughout the UK. Earlier this year, Manitoba Harvest forged a partnership with Hempro International (www.hempro.com) to distribute their nutritious foods in Germany.
“We’re capitalizing on more than a decade of experience as a hemp foods pioneer and innovator in North America to penetrate organic markets in Europe with innovative hemp products like our organic hempmilk,” says Mike Fata, President and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest (www.manitobaharvest.com). “We began selling hemp foods in Europe in 2006, and our sales have doubled in each of the years since,” says Fata. “People everywhere are finding out that hemp foods are extremely nutritious - and then they try them and discover that they have a delicious nutty flavour and gourmet appeal,” he adds.
Hemp has been cited recently in the Wall Street Journal as the fastest growing new food category in North America. Industry sources indicate that the category has exceeded $350 million in annual sales in the U.S. Because it is still illegal to grow industrial hemp in the U.S., the surge of demand for hemp foods by American consumers has created a favorable economic situation for farmers and processors in Canada that supply consumers in the U.S. To keep up with demand, Manitoba Harvest recently moved into a new state-of-the-art organic processing facility in Winnipeg that expanded their capacity by more than 500%, some of which is targeted for products going to the UK and EU. “The robust sales of hemp products on this continent indicate that there are also many opportunities in the huge environmental- and health-minded European marketplace,” says Fata.
So, how does a company make a splash into a vast marketplace across the ocean? Fata and his team believe that exhibiting at leading international trade shows is a great way to spread the buzz about hot new imported products. “Over the past month, we have exhibited at the two leading natural and organic trade shows in Europe: Biofach, the largest organic trade show in the world, held in Nürnberg Germany February 19-22; and the Natural and Organic Products Europe, April 5 and 6 in London,” notes Fata. “At the shows, and during business meetings associated with the trips, it is amazing how many industry professionals and consumers we meet and impress with hemp’s nutty flavor and superfood nutrition profile,” says Fata.
With more than 600 exhibitors, Natural & Organic Products Europe is a leading showcase for natural and organic foods from around the world. “The show attracts key buyers from the UK and all over Europe,” says Fata. BioFach celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and is the world’s largest organic trade show. The Biofach show floor in Germany had more than 2,744 exhibitors, and more than 46,000 industry professionals visited the Nürnberg exhibition centre during the event! The international organic market is growing by approximately $5 billion (U.S. dollars) per year. Its volume in 2007 topped $40 billion (U.S. dollars) for the first time, reports Organic Monitor.
“The first time we exhibited at the Biofach show in 2008, we noticed that the hemp foods category was under-developed in Europe and now we are seizing the opportunity by offering consumers there the highest quality hemp foods including our innovative and award-winning Hemp Bliss organic hempmilk,” adds Fata. Hemp Bliss is a nutritious and delicious alternative to dairy, soy and grain-based drinks and is the first line of organic hempmilks. It naturally provides a boost of 1,200 mg of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and 5 grams of protein per serving. Overall, it contains more Omega 3, 6 and 9 EFAs than any milk including dairy and other alternatives such as soy, rice and almond. Hemp Bliss is offered in Chocolate, Vanilla, Original and Unsweetened varieties in 946ml (32 Fl oz) cartons.
“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, a bunch of healthy fiber and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. In addition to Hemp Bliss, Manitoba Harvest produces organic cold-pressed Hemp Seed Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and a line of innovative Hemp Protein Powders.
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. But of more importance to the founders is the recognition they earned in October 2006 when the company was presented with the 2006 Socially Responsible Business Award at the Natural Products Expo East show for their work pioneering sustainable hemp agriculture in the 1990s and for helping to spread organic farming in Canada ever since. The co-founders refer to hemp seeds as “seeds of change” and ever since the company’s humble beginnings, they have been inspired by a belief that this natural resource can be a shining example of sustainable agriculture and can drive social change. Not only is hemp good for human health, it is also good for the planet. Hemp is naturally pest-resistant, and because hemp plants grow rapidly and close together, they crowd out weeds and don’t need herbicides. It is also a soil-building plant that is excellent for crop rotation.
Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is the largest farmer-owned, vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in the world. The company mission is to create the healthiest hemp foods, to educate the public about healthy lifestyle choices and to support sustainable and organic agriculture. In February 2009, Manitoba Harvest partnered with Renewable Choice Energy to offset 100% of their facility's electricity with wind power offsets, and all of their facility's natural gas usage through carbon offsets. The program demonstrates Manitoba Harvest's strong commitment to sustainability, their support for wind power and renewable energy, and their dedication toward the fight against global climate change. To learn more, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com.