Over the past six years, hemp has crept into the top five protein ingredients added to beverages, meal replacements and health-positioned food launches making a protein claim in Europe.
While milk-based proteins such as whey still dominates with an impressive 70%, followed by soy at 16% and pea at 6% with rice and hemp holding joint fourth place with 4% of launches.
However, Mintel believes that hemp is well-positioned to grow from this small base given that 16% of Brits say they are avoiding dairy and soy.
French manufacturer Sojade has a range of hemp-based dairy alternatives. Its hemp yoghurt is made with 95% hemp juice and has added hemp seeds for texture while UK manufacturer Bioglan adds hemp to its cold-pressed, raw energy bites.
Hemp is also increasingly being used in savoury meal options such as Spanish Biogra’s azuki and hemp burgers or Danish supplier Møllerup adds whole, hulled or roasted hempseeds to cheese, cured sausage and biscuits.
“Hemp seeds have been ignored for a long time, but the ingredient is said to contain a complete set of amino acids and a similar total protein content to soybean, it also contains micronutrients such as vitamin E and omega acids.
“As a result, hemp is emerging as a clean label plant protein ingredient that could thrive in plant-based, free-from and high protein innovations.”