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Hemp in the Food Industry: a New Future?


Hemp may be the hottest trend in the farming, industrial, and spa world, but what about hemp in the food industry? Can you eat hemp, and not get high? Let’s find out...

After the legalisation of hemp products in recent decades, it’s now becoming a more popular investment by the second! From massage oils, to medicine, and even to cement and bricks, it really is everywhere.

At the Leisure F&B Expo we like to stay in tune with all the latest food trends. But has the food industry kept up this time around? The big question is, is it even possible to consume hemp without getting high? With your FREE tickets to the show, you'll find out the answers to these questions, and more, but, for now, let's discover more about hemp in the food industry...

A cocktail of cannabis, which is nice and frothy, is a good way to get hemp into your diet

An Introduction to Hemp in the Food Industry

When you think of hemp, what do you imagine? College kids and a bong? Well, here, you’d be wrong.

What you may be thinking of is marijuana. Hemp is a different strain of cannabis which contains much lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (find out more about THC, here). THC is the element of hemp which gets people high.

The main compound of cannabis, which is often used commercially for medicine and relaxation purposes, is the sativa leaf, or CBD. This only includes 0.2 percent THC, making it a non-psychoactive departure from the stereotypical ideas of hemp.

In the Leisure F&B world, this is the type of cannabis we’ll be focusing on. So, is hemp a good market trend to capitalise on?

Food Products Made Using Hemp

Let’s start with the biggest question - what exactly can we consume, in terms of food, that includes hemp?

Hemp isn’t necessarily a food you can consume on its own. Instead, it’s better in a powder or seed form, to put inside your protein shakes or smoothies. You may also be able to find hemp oil, hemp milk, and hemp cheese substitutes on the shelves. Some recipes for hemp include:

  • Protein shake

  • Smoothie bowl

  • Burger

  • Pizza

  • Pasta

  • Hummus

Discover more recipes to get inspired by, here.

A woman wearing a glove and holding a hemp leaf, so that it's visible to the camera

Nutritional Breakdown of Hemp

Now that we know the versatility of hemp in food, why should we bother with including it in our diet? Well, hemp actually has a number of really amazing benefits, which pits it above the rest as something to include in your daily diet.

Some of these beneficial vitamins and minerals include vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, folate, and more! Let’s take a look at some of hemp’s best qualities:

Contains Healthy Fats

Hemp is a fantastic plant-based source of omega-3, a fatty acid normally found in oily fish, which can’t be produced naturally within our body. Despite its slow conversion rate within the human system, hemp is a really high source of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA). This makes it ideal for people who don’t consume eggs or fish, which are the key sources of this fatty acid in the average diet.

That’s not all, though, as hemp also contains a number of other healthy fats. These include, omega-6, as well as phytosterols, which aids in reducing cholesterol. Oftentimes, these fats are actually over-consumed, so by consuming them through hemp promotes a healthy balance.

High in Protein

Like many meat protein sources, hemp contains all 10 essential amino acids (EAAs), which are the building blocks of all proteins within the body. EAAs are known for their aid in building muscle, and curbing fatigue, amongst many other properties. These EAAs are required through our diet, as they aren’t naturally produced in our bodies.

Hemp seeds contain nearly as much protein as soybeans, so for every three tablespoons of the seed, there is around 9.46 g of protein. Most vegan products won’t contain the complete array of protein, which makes hemp the ideal addition to a diet like this.

To top it off, hemp doesn’t contain phytates, which are commonly found in vegetarian protein sources. These normally block the effective absorption of essential minerals, so this makes hemp a fantastic alternative.

Great Source of Fibre

Hemp is a great source of fibre, containing around 1.2 grams per three tablespoons. With the seed hulls intact, this value grows massively, so if you’re looking to reduce your appetite, boost your gut health, and manage your weight, bare this in mind!

A dark green cannabis plant, in the rain, may help the food industry out

Health Benefits of Hemp

Due to these fantastic nutritional benefits, it may come as no surprise that hemp actually has some fantastic health benefits. These include:

Protects the Brain

Studies published in the Food Chemistry journal have shown that CBD may actually help with some neurological conditions. Because of this, consuming hemp in your day-to-day diet could help with:

  • Childhood seizure disorders

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Neuropathic pain

Boosts Heart Health

Due to the high level of fatty acids, like omega-3, in hemp, hemp can aid heart issues. This is compounded by the inclusion of the EAA, arginine, within hemp, which turns into nitric oxide within the body (find out more about arginine, here). This is an essential factor in the dilation of veins and arteries, keeping blood vessel walls flexible and elastic.

Overall, this helps to promote a good blood pressure, which is key in reducing the risk of heart disease, and other heart related illnesses.

Reduces Inflammation

These high levels of healthy fats also promote the reduction of inflammation within the body. This could have positive effects for women who suffer with extreme premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and may help with:

  • Bloating

  • Insomnia

  • Weight gain

  • Leg swelling

  • Breast tenderness

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Arthritis

  • Skin conditions

A single cannabis plant in a field shows that hemp grows abundantly

Is Hemp Hip and Happening?

It’s clear that hemp has some brilliant qualities, which make it an ideal product to invest in. So why not get your FREE tickets to the Leisure F&B Expo, on 6th and 7th November, at the NEC Birmingham, to see what innovative products and ideas you can get your hands on.

Or, perhaps you have a hemp-based food product you wish to exhibit at the expo? Don’t hesitate to get in touch, and you can increase traction to your business like you’ve never seen before! Simply get in touch with our Event Director, Oliver Hayes, at, or call +44 (0)117 929 6087, and we’ll see you there!

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