Hemp is an environmentally sustainable ingredient used to make a wide variety of foods, paper, clothing, body care products, building materials and fuel. The crop originated in Central Asia thousands of years ago and was brought to North America in the 1600s, where Canada now acts as the main supplier to the United States market. Hemp functions as a nutritional powerhouse and contains digestible protein, dietary fiber and vitamin E.
“It is encouraging to witness the growing demand for hemp products,” says Errol Schweizer, global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We have seen a tremendous increase in products made with this nutritious, wholesome ingredient over the last five years. We are committed to offering our shoppers a wide array the highest quality hemp products in our grocery and body care departments.”
Whole Foods Market offers a variety of hemp products, including: hemp milk, cereals, granola, waffles, protein powders, nutrition bars, breads, snacks, chips, pastas, flour, vegetarian burgers and a variety of personal care products including supplements, lotions, makeup and shampoos.
Products will be prominently featured throughout the store and with special displays during Hemp History Week including:
- Dr. Bronner’s – Liquid and Bar Soaps with Organic Hemp Oil
- Living Harvest – Tempt Hempmilk, Frozen Hemp Ice Cream Pints and Frozen Novelties
- Manitoba Harvest – Hemp Hearts, Hemp Pro Fiber and Hemp Protein Powder
- Nature’s Path – Hemp Plus Granola, Granola Bars, Eco Pac Cereal and Hemp Plus Instant Oatmeal
- Nutiva – Bulk Hemp Seeds, Organic Hemp Oil, Packaged Hemp Seeds and Hemp Shake Mixes
Thanks to both product innovation and increased awareness of hemp’s nutritional benefits, shoppers are seeking out hemp products more than ever before, company officials say. According to federal trade statistics, the importation of hemp has more than quadrupled from 2000 to 2011. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimates that the total retail value of hemp products in 2011 was $452 million.
Currently, all hemp products in the U.S. use imported raw materials since is not cultivated in the U.S. However, several states are currently working on legislation to allow it to be grown. “With the popularity of hemp products on the rise paired with the demand for locally grown and produced goods, we’d foresee a very viable market for products made from domestic hemp,” adds Schweizer.
Hemp History Week is a nation-wide education campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of hemp products.