Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News February 2016

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GOURMET NEWS FEBRUARY 2016 www.gourmetnews.com Naturally Healthy NATURALLY HEALTHY 2 0 Specialty Food Producer High on Hemp Food sourcing can get difficult when finding a seller, with a lot of questions about quality, contamination and farming prac- tices, but Manitoba Harvest is the largest vertically integrated hemp foods producer. The company grows, manufactures and sells its own product lines, so it has control over product quality from seed to shelf and is the largest hemp seed contractor worldwide. In 2012, the company's man- ufacturing facility received British Retail Consortium's Global Standards Certifica- tion, and the products are also certified organic, GMO-free and all-natural. The company is also a certified B Corporation, meaning Manitoba Harvest is held to higher standards of social and environmen- tal performance, along with transparency and ac- countability. That includes taking good care of the team: All employees are paid 20 percent more than living wages, with bonus eligibility. On the sustain- ability side, 75 percent of the company's printed materials use sus- tainable materials while half the energy used in corporate offices comes from renew- able sources. The company also educates farmers about hemp's potential, and en- courages them to grow more hemp acres, which continues its efforts to spread the word about hemp foods. The buzz around hemp-based foods has been about their dense nutritional value, along with taste. A single 30-gram serving provides 10 grams of plant protein, 10 grams of omegas and only three grams of carbohydrates. Hemp hearts also provide iron and vitamin E. Their high nutrition puts them in the superfoods category, even surpassing chia and flax. Not a lot of consumers are familiar with hemp foods beyond what they know about hemp fibers and psychoactive varieties of the cannabis plant. According to Kelly Saunderson, Manager of Corporate and Public Affairs, the best strategy is to let people try hemp foods for themselves. To prove it, Manitoba Harvest sent out 2 million samples. While attend- ing various trade shows, Saun- derson said she's noticed a before-and-after kind of reac- tion to trying hemp hearts. "You pour them in a sample cup, in their hand, and they get this look on their face," she said. "You can kind of see the transformation on their face; they like it." With the company's Decem- ber acquisition of Hemp Oil Canada, Saunderson said to ex- pect further company growth in coming years, along with new and delicious hemp food products. To learn more about Mani- toba Harvest and hemp heart products, go to manitobaharvest.com or call 1.800.655.HEMP. GN BY GREG GONZALES When it comes to hemp-based foods, no company has been as close to the frontier as Manitoba Harvest. With its beginnings in the legalization of hemp in Canada, the company focuses on providing quality hemp foods and consumer education, and incorporates sustainability and forward thinking into its daily operations. After hemp foods helped him lose weight and gain energy as a teen, CEO and Co- founder Mike Fata started Manitoba Hemp Alliance, a pro-hemp advocacy group that helped legalize hemp in Canada. Once the legislation passed in 1998, he and his part- ners began Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, helping to open the doors to an entirely new market and set the standard for the indus- try. Manitoba Harvest products are all made from hemp hearts. These shelled hemp seeds have a somewhat nutty flavor, rich and creamy with a taste like sunflower seeds or pine nuts, and the versatility of the food makes it an easy addition to lax and rigorous diets, and everywhere beyond and between. Manitoba Harvest raw hemp hearts and hemp oil can be added to cereals, ice cream and salads. And the hemp heart bars make a convenient and healthy snack for kids, commuters, hikers or anyone on the go. The bars come in chocolate, vanilla and apple-cinnamon flavors to please mul- tiple palates. Follow Your Heart Cracks the Egg Problem BY LORRIE BAUMANN A story we ran in January's Gourmet News contained errors that have been corrected below. Demand for a vegan product that scram- bles like a real egg has exceeded the ex- pectations of its maker. "We've never had a launch like this on a product. Stores are selling – one sold 700 in the first week. Another ordered 500 and sold out in a week. The volumes are just through the roof," says CEO and Co-founder of Fol- low Your Heart Bob Goldberg about Veg- anEgg. Goldberg is no stranger to product launches. Follow Your Heart products in- clude Vegenaise, an egg-free, dairy-free mayonnaise alternative and Vegan Gour- met cheese alternatives. "But there was a missing piece. No one had come up with a good replacement for an egg, although there were substitutes that could be used in baking," Goldberg says. "A lot of peo- ple made tofu scrambles, which was a way of filling that gap, but not really well.... The challenge was an authentic represen- tation of what eating scrambled eggs was." After several years of thinking about the problem, Goldberg learned about re- search with microalgae three or four years ago. By manipulating growing conditions and feedstocks, scientists were able to ma- nipulate the algae to make a lot of differ- ent effects, from fiber to vegetable oils to complete protein foods. "The particular product that we use does not use geneti- cally engineered algae because that's against our ethic here," Goldberg says. "Everything we do here is non-GMO." VeganEgg came out of that research, in which the scientists found that in addi- tion to creating plant-based foods that did a good job of replicating the experience of eating animal foods, they were making foods that are sustainable in ways that other foods aren't. For instance, 100 Veg- anEggs can be made with the same water that's required to produce just one chicken egg, Goldberg says, adding, "A lot of chemical fertilizer and pesticides are used to grow the chicken feed necessary for egg production. All of that is avoided with a plant based egg substitute. Even the water in the process is recycled.... It's a very sustainable product, leaving aside all of the issues having to do with animal welfare and factory farming, which is an issue for a lot of people." The product appeals, not just to com- mitted vegans, but also to those who are thinking about ways to remain omnivo- rous but still reduce the amount of animal products they're eating for a variety of reasons. Follow Your Heart's target mar- ket for VeganEgg includes people who care about a wide range of issues: people who are looking for a healthier diet, peo- ple who are concerned with animal wel- fare and humane treatment of animals and people who are concerned about the en- vironmental degradation from the way that much of our food is produced, Gold- berg says. He adds that, just as many people who eat meat and don't necessarily have any intention of eliminating meat from their diet have become interested in meat analogs as a way of reducing their de- pendence on meat, he expects that there are those who avoid eggs for health, reli- gious or ethical reasons but who'd still enjoy the experience of a fluffy omelet or breakfast scramble if they could have it without guilt. "People moving from the typical western diet to a diet that's really wholly plant-based is so far down the road that there will be long time in which people in transition will be looking for foods that are familiar," he says. "At that point, they may say they don't need that. But we're a long, long way from getting there." VeganEgg is manufactured in Califor- nia. It's gluten free, allergen free and cho- lesterol free, and it provides both calcium and fiber. It's also shelf-stable with a six- month shelf life. It comes as a pale yellow powder packed in a package made of re- cycled paper that resembles an egg carton. To prepare a scrambled "egg," the user mixes two tablespoons of the powder with half a cup of ice-cold water and whisks it into a yellow batter that's ready for the skillet. "Just adding cold water is easier than cracking an egg," Goldberg says. "Unless you're really good at crack- ing eggs." A 4-ounce package that substi- tutes for a dozen eggs retails for $6.99 - $7.99. GN

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