(NaturalNews) A Canadian hemp growing and products company called Manitoba Harvest is introducing a new "hemp milk" non-dairy beverage in an attempt to compete with other milk substitutes such as soy, rice and almond milk.
The product, called Hemp Bliss, is sweetened and flavored only with natural and organic ingredients. It is beige in color and, like all Manitoba Harvest products, certified kosher and USDA organic.
The market for dairy alternatives in North America is approximately $1 billion, and Manitoba Harvest hopes that the health benefits of hemp can help its new product become a major player in this field.
"We see hemp growing as big as or bigger than the flax or soy categories in terms of functional food ingredients," said Mike Fata, company co-founder.
Hemp seeds are high in protein, ranking second only to soybeans among oil seeds in terms of complete protein content. The seeds are approximately 25 percent protein; Hemp Bliss contains 5 grams per serving.
Unlike soy, hemp is high in alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. According to Manitoba Harvest, hemp is also a superior choice for those who are allergic or sensitive to soy or nuts. In addition, the company says, hemp agriculture is much less ecologically destructive than that used for other dairy-alternative plants such as soy. Hemp requires little water and no herbicides to grow, and has even been said to enrich the soil.
Although the sale of hemp products is legal in the United States, its cultivation is still banned, because U.S. politicians and law enforcement leaders feel it's better to control the U.S. population through police state fear campaigns than to set farmers free to grow lucrative, sustainably-harvested crops like hemp. Commercial hemp does not contain appreciable levels of the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada estimates that 90 percent of Canadian hemp is sold in the U.S. market.
Manitoba Harvest calls itself "the largest vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer" in the world. Its other products include hemp butter, oil, protein powder and seed.