Learn a bit of hempstory...

It starts with this...
De-hulled or shelled hemp seed which you then run through something like a Niro Inc. spray dryer, 

and "voila"
hemp protein isolate powder (hppi) pops out the other end.

Now, if it were that simple, which it is, there would be hemp protein powder isolate in all the health food stores around the country by now. Right? Wrong!

Protein powder can only be produced economically on a large scale. It is a modern day food commodity. The human is omnivorous, and used to get its protein from animal flesh, good fats, bad fats and all. But now, we know better. So we've refined our diet for maximum results in professional sports as well as everyday life.

The protein powder market is cornered by soy and whey. Bodybuilder kitchens and gyms are filled with tubs of the stuff. The number one cause of malnutrition in the world is protein deficiency. Hemp could feed the starving masses. Richard Rose of the Hemp Industries Association says: "Hemp protein can be processed and flavored in any way soybean protein can". And he should know, he worked for the soy industry for years before he switched camps.

But the bummer with hemp is that it's been illegal to grow in the US since World War 2 and you won't be able to find funding for large scale production of hemp products anywhere until the ban has been completely lifted. So it's still a cottage industry made up of well-meaning hempsters who produce limited runs of charming things, with little or no chance of ever bringing prices down low enough to meet mainstream market demands.

This may all be about to change very rapidly as more countries are making it possible again to cultivate hemp in industrial quantities. In Japan, Toyota is sponsoring the return of this staple of human agriculture. China has plans to flood the West with affordable hemp. The evil, greedy and short sided prohibition is over around the globe, but in the US resistance lingers on...

Ever since the dawn of civilization hemp was the poor man's cloth and the poor man's food. Tabloids are called rags, because in the 1800's hemp fabrics too dirty and torn were recycled into newspapers. Then came pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, making cotton, the rich man's cloth, a lot easier to grow in large enough quantities for the masses to enjoy. How ironic that today hemp is the luxury item!!!

When scientists invented synthetic fibers, something had to give, Dupont and Hearst, the tycoon of  "yellow journalism" (so named because his new tree paper turned yellow as it got older), got together to convince the US Federal government that hemp and marijuana were the same, resulting in a global ban on the plant. Just read Jack Herer's book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes".

In May of 1998, I wrote a feasibility study for Hemp Magazine about the potential of hemp protein powder, and since then a lot of people have gotten on the hemp protein powder band wagon. But still no product in stores. Both Hemp Magazine and Hemp World who supported the effort folded because of delinquent advertisers. New and surviving hemp publications have not picked up on the idea yet.

I had hoped that the seed cake left over from oil pressing would be good enough to isolate protein from, cutting cost. That initially proved to be impossible. Hemp seed has a very hard shell, and it needs to be removed first before you can make the milk which is then evaporated into a powder.

But Shaun Crew at Hemp Oil Canada Inc., urged on by Victor Sagalovsky in Hawaii, worked around the problem. Shaun became the first person to produce a hemp protein powder concentrate. A few samples were distributed. We were waiting for more, and then, nothing... dead air.

Victor's exclusivity contract with Shaun expired, and Victor failed to advise me of this. Shaun then refused to work with me because he got vexed I called him on his inability to deliver on his promise to produce HPPC for commercialization after Victor and I spent 6 months developing a market. Those are the breaks! See the HPPI list for the whole lousy flame war.

But there's a twist to this story...  Shaun was never really producing this powder all by himself...

Update: December 16th 2002: In the meantime, in a parallel universe... on the same time line... Ken Holmes of Wild Harvest Organics in Vancouver, meets up with the farmer in Saskatchewan who was physically making this powder. Shaun Crew, unbeknownst to us, was only providing the seedcake. Ken became the one to invest in this farmer's machine. Everything has come around full circle, and this powder is finally reaching market through Ken's company Living Harvest. (The name Ancient Harvest was changed in September 2003 due to a trademark conflict in the US.) Ashley Webster, who works with Ken and his son Charles, re-discovered this website, and asked me if I was still interested in selling their powder. I said hell yeah!

First on the Market!

In 2000, Shaun Crew has since received a $18,500 grant from the Manitoba Government to develop an actual isolate, and pilot scale work is now underway at two Universities. 

March 13th 2003: Greg Herriott of Hempola claims he first introduced a similar milled powder at the Baltimore Natural Expo in 1998 and started marketing it in 2000 as hemp flour with 41% protein content. Greg challenges the 49% protein content claim made by Ancient Harvest and is pursuing independent third party testing. He is consulting with the Guelph Food Technology Centre (University of Guelph) concerning isolate development.

(Hempprotein.com stands by Shaun Crew and Living Harvest
test results of 49% protein content)

June 7th 2003: Greg Herriott writes to say his own test on the Ancient Harvest powder clocked at 45.8% protein... The protein content wars have begun... May the best protein win! :) In all honesty, 49% - 45% it's academic. The Ancient Harvest powder is carving a nice market niche in the raw foods community, and stands on its own. Instead of arguing about how much protein LH's rarified hemp flour contains, the hemp food community should be collaborating on the development of a true isolate!

August 18th 2002: Another Canadian hemp food producer - Kenex - claims it will have commercial quantities of 70% hemp protein powder isolate available within three months, but they would not reveal who their distributor will be. Currently they sell hemp meal, hemp nut fines & hemp flour. I'm in touch with the company and will report more details as they volunteer them to me.

De-hulling equipment for hemp seed is not quite up to par yet with other seeds, cereal and grains. Richard Rose's HempNut and Paul Roulac's Nutiva, both pictured above, still have quite a bit of hull in the mix, something that needs to be totally absent if we are to make butters, powders or hemp candy bars like UK Paul Benhaim's 9 Bar once voted best hemp bar by Hemp World magazine and a favorite of Princess Diana. Paul is looking for a 9 Bar distributor in the USA and claims to have produced 100% hemp protein isolate powder samples, although nobody I know has seen or tasted them. Paul says that unless he gets a 50 tons order up front, he's not interested in going into production. In other words, he's like everybody else on this list, waiting for the Donald Trump of hemp foods to come forward and give HIM the money to build a pilot plant instead of making this an industry wide effort.

In July 2000, Both Nutiva and HempNut announced imminent production of hemp protein powder isolate.

Richard Rose of HempNut says: "We have over $50,000 invested in developing hempseed protein, with a lot of original research already done. Within a month or 2, we'll have samples of 92%+ hempseed protein, made from organic hempseed, using a process with 7 patents pending, at a relatively low cost of production. A technical note: spray-drying shelled hempseed wouldn't yield a protein powder, since there is little water in it. First remove the oil, then the carbs, THEN you would have what could be called a hemp protein powder (needs to be 70%+ to be so considered)."

John Roulac of Nutiva says: "We have been working on hemp protein powder for awhile and have a process to make it. We plan to introduce this in 3-6 months."

     July 27th 2003: Nutiva introduces a 37% hemp protein powder

     May 1st 2004:
Manitoba Harvest introduces a 50% hemp protein powder

July 20th 2005: I was introduced to Sequel's Vega meal replacement formula by a phone call from company President Charles Chang who formulates his supplement recipe using either Living Harvest or Manitoba Harvest HPPC.

         June 24, 2004: I heard back from Linda at Higher Ground Health Products who wrote: "It is our own label. We are claiming 45% protein because that is what the Certificate of Analysis states."

Aug 18th 2004:
Ruth's Hemp announces New Certified Organic 50% Protein Powders! Comes in 3 flavors:
Plain, with Flax & Maca, or with Sprouted Flax.


         Jan 14th 2005: Nature's Way Hemp Efa Gold Protein & Fiber (Organic), 16 fl oz. (484 g) Powder - 13 g Fiber/11 g Protein.

(No leaders in the US hemp food industry, to my knowledge, have yet to deliver commercially available isolate powder, either simply as test samples or full fledge retail product.)

January 2nd 2004: I discovered the OmegaKaire proTN hemp protein powder brand on the market, with a very well designed website and finally gunning for the supplement industry! They must have gone through extraordinary lengths to avoid hempprotein.com on the way... check'em out! http://www.hempprotein.net, yes dot net! This powder is the exact same powder as the one sold by Living Harvest, sold under an agreement with Shaun Crew preceding the exclusive distribution deal with Living Harvest.

June 25th 2006: Nutiva introduces HempShake, all-organic ingredients, great taste, smooth blending, the most progress towards a genuine isolate since hemp protein powder was first introduced on the market. A wonderful new product this website aims to support. "These are on fire at Whole Foods in the North East. I want to rock NYC as a focus." says John Roulac. Check out: http://nutivahempshake.com

August 15th 2007: This new powder from North Coast Naturals came to my attention via the author of the Hemp For Victory book Kenyon Gibson's blog... They claim: "50% protein that is 56% more protein than other hemp proteins, which contain only 32-37% protein." which is a lie. But it's a nice canister!

December 20th 2001: Another company called Chii, makers of the Zima Crisp hemp candy bar, is now in the running for HPPI. Eric Hughes of Chii writes: "We do have hemp protein powder in the works and within the next few months we will have a sample. Our delays are with securing the patent to make it a proprietary product, not one for public knowledge. If it is public domain we cannot get the funding we're after."  

Contacted again August 20th 2002, Eric's reply as to whether or not he had samples now was: "No time to talk, Ian Hunter has passed away and we need to honor him." ???

Despite the US ban & prohibition on hemp food, Denis Cicero's restaurant Galaxy Global Eatery in Manhattan continues to have a complete line of hemp food dishes, but sadly, still no hemp protein on the menu! If you'd like more answers to frequently asked questions about hemp prohibition in general, I suggest John Dvorak's Hempology, Nol van Schaik's Hemp City and Brian Julin's Hemp Channel.

I'll do my best to keep you informed on the progress of hemp protein powder developments on these pages. Do you want to invest in this new food venture? Do you want to find out how you can get involved producing and marketing hemp protein powder? Then contact me.  

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