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This article was published 17/10/2018 (392 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A startup company hopes the cream really does rise to the top when it brings out a non-dairy hemp creamer developed in Manitoba.
The hemp creamer, formulated by the University of Manitoba’s Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, is scheduled to hit the market next summer.
Natures Hemp, based on the West Coast, plans to set up manufacturing somewhere in Western Canada early next year.
"We’d like to stick with Manitoba. We have good relationships there" and it has the hemp production, said David Parry, Natures Hemp manager and co-founder.
Natures Hemp plans to raise about $5 million before year’s end for the startup of its hemp creamer. Its manufacturing plant will initially employ seven people, Parry said. The company is owned by PUF Ventures, which has ownership in several cannabis companies, including medical cannabis.
"We believe that hemp will be the trendy alternative to milk due to it’s sustainable, its connection to the cannabis plant and its health benefits," Parry said.
There have been various hemp milk varieties on the market for some time but a hemp industry insider maintained that a non-dairy creamer has strong potential.
"It’s a natural outcome from what we’ve seen in other non-dairy creamer replacements like almond, soya or even rice and potatoes," Ted Haney, executive director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, said. "This is a matter of extra-high-quality protein and fat to make a hemp-based creamer."
The market for alternative milk and creamers is estimated at $5 billion and growing, Parry said. Asia is regarded as a massive market for non-dairy creamers that Natures Hemp will focus on, too. It also has pending joint ventures in South Africa and Europe.
Natures Hemp was looking for a creamer "with a list of ingredients you wouldn’t be afraid to eat," Parry said.
"We wanted a creamer that we could really push to the restaurant and hospitality industries, and also the lactose-intolerant market that seems to be growing," Parry said. Natures Hemp creamer is also gluten-free.
Hemp oil used in the creamer has numerous health properties including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, vitamin E and essential amino acids.
"The properties in hemp product will be much healthier than almond, soy or natural milk but it depends on what you’re looking for," Parry said.
Neither does the hemp creamer require refrigeration, though Parry expects it would still be chilled in restaurants because that’s what consumers expect.
U of M is regarded as the leading Canadian university in hemp research, which is why Natures Hemp approached it about product development.
Natures Hemp’s criteria was "a clean product" in terms of healthy ingredients that when "put into coffee, it looked like cream and tasted like cream," Parry said.
Development of the creamer at the Richardson Centre, located in the U of M’s Smartpark, took six months, said Michael Janzen, research development manager at the centre.
Processes involved included hemp seed extraction, milling, ultrafiltration, ultra-high-temperature pasteurization, viscosity testing and sensory testing, Janzen said.
"The Richardson Centre has done a good job with a combination of a number of natural products," Parry said.
Hemp is the cannabis plant without the psychoactive THC ingredient. Neither does the hemp creamer contain CBDs, or cannabidiol.
Natures Hemp says it is talking with provincial governments to find the best fit for its manufacturing plant.
The creamer product will come in the little pods found on restaurant tables but there will also be a half-litre size for an office, and also three-litre sizes for coffee outlets such as Starbucks, Parry said.
There will be sweetened and unsweetened creamers.
Bill Redekop has been covering rural issues since 2001.