Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Manitoba Harvest Adds Unsweetened Hemp Bliss to Award-Winning Line

Healthy hemp foods are one of the hottest trends in the organic marketplace and now, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is pioneering the way once again by offering the first unsweetened organic hempmilk in North America. Unsweetened Hemp Bliss Organic Hempmilk is a beverage innovation that follows close on the heels of the Best New Food Product Award that was recently bestowed on the Manitoba Harvest (www.manitobaharvest.com) line of Hemp Bliss non-dairy organic hempmilks (Original, Chocolate and Vanilla varieties) at the 2007 Natural Products Expo East trade show in Baltimore.

Unsweetened Hemp Bliss Organic Hempmilk provides the powerful nutrition and pleasant nutty flavor of hemp seed in a convenient non-dairy beverage. It is a nutritious and delicious alternative to dairy, soy and grain-based drinks, and the new Unsweetened allows Manitoba Harvest to meet the demands of customers that prefer unsweetened products for health, flavor and culinary reasons. Unsweetened Hemp Bliss naturally provides a boost of 1,200 mg of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), 5 grams of highly digestible protein and 250 mg of powerful Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) 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.

Unsweetened, Chocolate, Vanilla and Original Hemp Bliss varieties are offered in a 32-ounce carton for $4.99 and are widely available at mainstream grocery and natural health stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is rich and creamy and can be enjoyed straight up as a drink or used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. Perhaps most notably, Hemp Bliss is a nutritious boost for smoothies. “Hemp Bliss Unsweetened is ideal for blending into a wide variety of recipes because it has a clean, neutral flavor profile that allows the other flavorful ingredients to really pop out of the mix,” says Kelly Keough, a sugar-free and wheat-free chef that is also a TV host and Author of The Sweet Truth Cook Book (www.kellykeough.com). Two of her favorite recipes that feature Unsweetened Hemp Bliss are listed below.

“Because it is a refreshing and convenient ready-to-drink beverage, Hemp Bliss is ideal for people that try healthy organic hemp foods for the first time,” notes Mike Fata, President and co-founder. “This innovation is inspiring consumers to try other hemp foods,” he adds. In addition to Hemp Bliss, Manitoba Harvest produces a popular line of organic cold-pressed Hemp Seed Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and Hemp Protein Powder. “People are finding out that hemp foods are extremely nutritious - and then they try them and discover that they have a great flavor and gourmet appeal,” says Fata.

Unlike other fortified non-dairy beverage brands that have complex formulas and are loaded with sugar and a myriad of other processed and synthetic ingredients, Manitoba Harvest Unsweetened Hemp Bliss is keeping things simple and wholesome with only 4 ingredients (filtered water, organic hemp seeds, sea salt, and xanthan gum). Unsweetened Hemp Bliss contains no added sugars, synthetic flavors, vitamins, minerals, additives or preservatives. People with food sensitivities will be pleased to learn that it is Lactose-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Rice-Free and Gluten-Free.

Consumer demand for dairy milk alternatives has been growing for many years due to vegetarian preferences and concerns about dietary sensitivities to dairy, growth hormones in dairy milks, and animal rights and other environmental issues associated with dairy production. Some people simply don’t enjoy the flavor of dairy milk and find that they can gain nutrition by tastier means. Hemp Bliss stands out from ‘the herd’ of dairy milk alternatives including soy, rice and almond because it has a strong nutrition profile, a pleasant flavor and texture and it does not raise concerns regarding food sensitivities.

Recent sales data collected by the market research firm SPINs, indicate that sales of hemp foods in the U.S. grew by over 39% from August 2006 to August 2007. Hemp seed exports from Canada grew 300% from 2006-2007, according to Agri-Food Canada (a government agency). Current and projected sales of healthy hemp foods are so robust that Manitoba Harvest is in the process of expanding into a new state-of-the-art food manufacturing facility that will increase their production capacity by at least 500%. “Foods that offer omega-3 essential fats like hemp are hot because medical evidence demonstrating the health benefits of this nutrient continues to grow,” notes Fata.

Nutrition experts have long known that hemp foods are among the most nutritious foods on earth, and now thanks to the wonders of television, knowledge of this omega-3 superfood is getting out to the mainstream population. The latest example of is a February 5 segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show, during which renowned healthy lifestyle expert Dr. Oz presented his Ultimate Anti-Aging Checklist. Hemp is one of only 5 foods highlighted in the Omega-3 Fatty Acids section (and shelled hemp seeds were part of Dr. Oz’s presentation on the show). A NBC Today Show food feature in 2007 highlighted hemp as a nutritional powerhouse that has many convenient culinary uses. NBC’s food editor, Phil Lempert, led the discussion. “These are going to be the hottest products in 2007,” said Lempert, “this is powerful nutrition.”

A Socially Responsible Dairy Milk Alternative
In October 2006, Manitoba Harvest was presented with the 2006 Socially Responsible Business Award at Natural Product Expo East for their work pioneering sustainable hemp agriculture in the 1990s and for spreading organic farming in Manitoba. In the 1990’s, activist and co-founder Martin Moravcik worked with the Manitoba and Canadian governments to re-legalize hemp agriculture. The goal of reintroducing eco-friendly hemp farming came to fruition in 1998 when the Canadian government began issuing hemp farming licenses and he partnered with Mike Fata and Alex Chwaiewsky to form Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils.

Manitoba Harvest is proud to be the largest farmer-owned, vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in North America. The company contracts thousands of acres of hemp seed production in Manitoba with more than 20 farmers that are shareholders. Manitoba Harvest owns and operates a kosher and USDA certified organic facility and their products are distributed to thousands of stores and are also sold as bulk ingredients to food and cosmetic manufacturers. Since Manitoba Harvest is an integrated producer they control production from “seed to shelf,” they are able to ensure optimal freshness and quality. For more information, visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1-800-665-HEMP.

Recipes below are shared by courtesy of Kelly Keough, a sugar-free and wheat-free chef that is also a TV host and Author of The Sweet Truth Cook Book (www.kellykeough.com).

Super Smoothie

10 oz Manitoba Harvest Unsweetened Hemp Bliss
2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen blue berries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds
2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs

In high powered blender place all ingredients except hemp seeds and cacao nibs. Blend on low and then high until smooth. Pour 8 oz in a tall glass and sprinkle half the hemp seeds and nibs. Eat smoothie with a spoon.

Yield: Two, 8 oz servings.

Hearty Hemp Hummus

2 15 oz cans chick peas, drained
1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Butter
2 rounded tablespoons raw unsalted tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon seal salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest Unsweetened Hemp Bliss
1/3 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Oil
1/4 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed for top of hummus
paprika for dusting

In a food processor, place the chick peas, hemp seed butter, tahini, lemon juice, sea salt, cumin, liquid aminos and Unsweetened Hemp Bliss. Blend ingredients until smooth and stream in Hemp Seed Oil. Add more Hemp Bliss if you desire a thinner hummus.

Place hummus in a bowl. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top and then dust with a few pinches of paprika for color. Serve with blue corn chips, baby carrots and your favorite salsa.

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