Recent months have seen a surge in hemp-based food products as consumers become more aware of the plant's benefits.

Long overshadowed by society’s love-hate relationship with marijuana, non-intoxicating hemp has often been judged “guilty by association.” But this is changing as consumers interested in health and sustainability become more aware of the plant’s benefits. Recent months have seen a surge in hemp-based food products, such as hemp seeds, hemp oil, and hemp powder.

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Several hemp products were on view at the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. They included hemp seed snacks from Just Hemp Foods and a new hemp milk launched at the show by cold-pressed juice brand Daily Greens.

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More launches can be expected: US sales of hemp food and body care products reached $200m in 2014, with annual sales growth of over 20% in 2013 and 2014, according to the trade group Hemp Industries Association. Sales growth in conventional markets topped out at 26.8% in 2014, suggesting the plant’s widespread mainstream appeal.

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High in nutritional value, hemp seeds contain up to 20 different amino acids. These can supplement those not found in the body and help to strengthen the immune system. Hemp oils are commonly used in skin-healing processes to nourish and restore dry, damaged skin; as well as found in many beauty products such as acne scar treatments and concealers. These soaps and powders act as mild exfoliators, giving skin a youthful look.

As interest in natural health grows and laws change to permit cultivation, expect to see more hemp-based products on grocery store shelves.

Image source: tasteforlife