Hilary Kelsay, CEO of Richland, Wash.-based Humming Hemp, is a firm believer that the once-maligned plant is now poised for stratospheric mainstream popularity. Examples of hemp foods currently on the market include hempseed protein powder, hemp hearts, hempmilk and even Humming Hemp’s protein energy bar, but, if Kelsay is right, these products will soon be joined by any number of new items.
She enthuses that “we think the household adoption rate is going to soar as consumers become more and more educated on, and familiar with, [hemp’s] properties, understanding that it truly is one of the most nutritious superfoods out there, and not something to be wary of.”
The reasons for this? Kelsay puts forward several that dovetail neatly into current shopper concerns.
“Now that the gates are open on the hemp plant, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, grocers are learning of its amazing health benefits and properties: superfood, high-protein, nutrient-dense, plant-based, natural and real — and understand that this is exactly what the modern consumer is looking for,” notes Kelsay. “And we see it only taking off from here as the veil of misinformation and confusion over the plant continues to lift and consumers increasingly seek it out in their food choices, either as an ingredient or as a stand-alone product. CBD is harder to incorporate into food/beverage items because the regulations for its addition to food/bev items are changing so rapidly and vary from state to state — and on the federal level, it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.”
She also describes hemp as “a sustainable, earth-friendly, ‘cleaner’ source for protein, versus, say, meat or soy. And considering the environmental crisis that we are experiencing, conscious consumers will only continue to look for options such as these into the future. Also, with the shifting ideology of consumers looking for more natural, less processed options, and specifically plant-based, hemp is an obvious choice there as well. I don’t see any of this even being a ‘trend’ in the future, but a necessity for the health of the planet, as well as our bodies.”
All of this adds up to an item that’s ripe for widespread adoption by shoppers. As Kelsay affirms, “Hemp has a serious staying power as the most convenient, versatile, shelf-stable and powerful superfood out there, and it’s only at the beginning of its wave right now.”