A U.S.-based hemp trade group dormant for more than two decades is being reborn to advance “hemp’s first billion-dollar segment” – seed-based food, organizers announced this week.
The Hemp Food Association (HFA) said the hemp seed’s potential to meet pressing challenges in the food supply, for environmental renewal and to spawn new businesses make this the right time to raise the profile of the sector, noting it does not suffer from problems of hemp extract and fiber producers where progress remains slow.
Stakeholders can take advantage of clear legal and generally constructive laws and regulations for hemp seed in major global markets, HFA said. Such foods are 100% legal and Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) under the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. They also do not require certification or approval from any agency in the U.S., Canada, or the EU, where they are exempt from safety rules governing new or “novel” foods. Also, academic research and technical industrial advances in the sector continue to move forward, HFA said.
The association “is meant to be a resource to help hemp companies and entrepreneurs succeed,” said hemp food pioneer Richard Rose, who is re-animating the group he first started in 1998.
“It’s a woefully under-appreciated segment, despite having been the only hemp product sold in tens of thousands of stores around the world for years, and with tens of millions of frequent customers as well as the most potential future retailers, customers, and products,” Rose said.
Hempseed for food is not only a commodity proven in the global marketplace for more than 25 years, it is also the best hemp product to fight climate change and addresses several of the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations, HFA said.
“Since everyone eats, it has a potential market of 100% of consumers and is the easiest for new or existing companies to add to their offerings,” according to the HFA announcement. “The total wholesale market is potentially tens of thousands of businesses, and it has the potential to diversify and democratize the hemp industry for motivated entrepreneurs.”
HFA said roughly 100 companies currently make hemp foods in the U.S. alone, a few of which are publicly traded. Globally, the hemp food sector extends to Asia and Europe, with many governments that once opposed hemp foods now educating on it, including the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Membership in the HFA is free to consumers, hemp food marketers and manufacturers.