Skyrocketing superfood: Fast growth anticipated for CBD and hemp foodstuff in APAC markets

Skyrocketing superfood: Fast growth anticipated for CBD and hemp foodstuff in APAC markets

This is why in this edition of the FNA Deep Dive, we take a closer look at the CBD and hemp market from a food and nutrition perspective, and how APAC companies are producing items such as drinks, edible oils, meat options, spreads and more.

The quick growth of this industry is anticipated to be propelled by the growing number of vegans in the area and rising health consciousness due to hemp and CBD’s nutritional advantages, and the industry as a whole is expected to grow some 28.6%to hit US$229 bn by 2027.

From a nation point of view, within the APAC area Australia and New Zealand were the first to authorize hemp-related items such as oils and seeds for food purposes, so it comes as no surprise that these nations are the most mature in terms of associated F&B products, with a wide array of hemp-based foods and beverages currently readily available for sale on supermarket racks.

These include hemp-based kombucha and instilled waters, and according to Hemp Oz, among the best-known Australian names in this sector, the pattern for hemp-based foods and beverages is still well on its way up.

” There is a growing pattern for hemp items in Australia, [with] F&B being among the fastest growing sectors in this regard,” Hemp Oz parent company Oz Medicann Group’s CEO and Creator John Leith told FoodNavigator-Asia


” Hemp is ending up being more commonly accepted and is offered in the mass market under major grocery store brand names. [This is especially so with a] concentrate on this as plant-based food, where we have seen a growing use of hemp as a main ingredient in processed foods and meal bundles.

” When it comes to the use of hemp in beverages, we are actually yet to see an ‘explosion’ in this area[by manufacturers] primarily due to the development [and technology] needed to infuse hemp seed oil into water soluble solutions.

” Hemp Oz also launched Australia’s very first hemp tea variety last year, which integrates the health advantages of hemp seeds with the practical advantages of herbs used in traditional medicine.”

Hemp kombucha Hemp Oz

Hemo Oz’s hemp kombucha drink © Hemp Oz

Hemp Oz launched the first hemp beverages in Australia in 2017, the technology for which the firm won an innovation award by Food Innovation Australia.

” Hemp is one of the latest superfoods on the block and has a series of benefits including anti-oxidants, anti-inflammation, the greatest content of healthy and important fatty acids [in its seeds], and a perfect balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9 which the body can not get in any other foods,” stated Leith.

” Hemp is also packed with vital vitamins and minerals including high quantities of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, salt, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc.

” In addition, Our Hemp Kombucha drink, which is packed with 39 billion live probiotics has undergone early phase medical trials and has actually been proven to lower blood sugar level levels and lower the signs of Type 2 diabetes.”

Hemp-based foods

Beyond beverages, one of the biggest hemp item manufacturers in Oceania is Hemp Foods Australia (HFA), which deals not just with standard hemp product formats like seeds, oils and protein powder, however has innovated products such as hemp-based spreads and flavoured hemp oils.


” The COVID-19 pandemic has produced demand for healthy items that people can add quickly to their meals,” HFA General Supervisor Felipe Favaro informed us.

” Hemp is a nutrition powerhouse, including 32%protein and 50%oil, and we at HFA have actually seen growing need for our hemp-based items, so much so that our sales grew 22%in Q4 2020 and we definitely anticipate double-digit development this year even despite the pandemic.

” We see that consumer need exists without any sign of decrease, [and] expect this trend to continue in the next 2 to 5 years as more items use hemp as a key ingredient

View the video listed below for more insights from HFA:

Over in New Zealand, Sustainable Foods has actually also established a hemp-based meat item which will be released later this year, with the firm’s Co-Founder Kyran Rei likewise keen to focus on marketing this as not simply a plant-based product but also to position strong focus on its health, nutrition and sustainable homes.

” We know hemp seeds consist of plenty of protein but a lot more significantly it’s a source of total protein, meaning it consists of all 9 vital amino acids [which the human body is unable to produce by itself and] is typically related to just being found in animal-sourced items,” Rei informed FoodNavigator-Asia


” So the difficulty [really stood out to us] to develop a delicious plant-based meat option that provides the exact same or greater total protein material– plus this will likewise assist in resolving the issues developed by consuming meat.

” H emp has likewise been scientifically proven to absorb more CO 2 per hectare than any forest or industrial crop – One hectare of commercial hemp can soak up 22 tonnes of CO 2 per hectare, [and] its fast development (grows to 4 metres in 100 days) makes it among the fastest CO 2– to-biomass conversion tools offered too, more efficient than agro-forestry.”

He highlighted that the health and wellness benefits are very essential to capture the public eye, and believes that the prospects for CBD and hemp based foods to grow into a mainstream classification exist and this will take place as quickly as policies enable.

” The [hemp and CBD] industry is actually awaiting the guidelines to change– and when they do, we will be ready to progress too,” said Rei.

CBD items and Asian markets

Up until now, in Australia and New Zealand just hemp and not CBD has actually been used in the production of F&B products as guidelines do not yet allow for CBD use outside of medical use – however remarkably CBD-based products are really available in markets like Hong Kong, in spite of the food-related market being in general less fully grown.

Products like Hong Kong’s OH CBD beer which was launched in 2015 can be discovered in stores, foodservice and online, and the business claims that there are also benefits to be found from consuming this.

OH CBD OH5 Company

OH CBD beer from Hong Kong © OH5 Business

” Previous studies have actually suggested CBD usage can decrease blood alcohol levels and lower harmful effects on the liver, and [though more research is needed], our company believe that there is still some restorative worth to integrating CBD and alcohol,” said OH CBD Creator Henry Leung.

” We do think that CBD beer will ultimately come to be on pattern here in Hong Kong, and ideally this will reach other Asian countries too.”

Japan likewise has a number of foodservice outlets serving CBD food and beverages, typically made by blending CBD oil with these items which can range from sugary foods to beverages to lasagne.

Remarkably, CBD foods are not yet allowed China, which is well-recognised as one of the most fully grown markets regulations-wise in Asia.

” Hemp-based foods can be discovered just about anywhere in China, but CBD is not allowed in foods here yet– we believe this will be enabled later on, however not yet,” China-focus hemp and CBD firm Asia Horizon CEO Brian Sheng informed us.

” The story for hemp is far more innovative though – China has the most innovative commercial hemp supply chain and for processing this into making all sorts of hemp-related things, more than any country in Asia by far.

” That stated, I ‘d say that the customer market is not at the very same level yet– though it looks like it will accelerate. All it takes is just one crucial opinion leader (KOL, basically an online influencer) utilizing the products or promoting these to make the entire thing take off.”


Asia Horizon is introducing its own consumer trademark name Ouma in March 2021, and in regards to edible SKUs will first focus on CBD tinctures (concentrated extracts), capsules and later on gummies, and appropriately the strategy is also to work with KOLs to promote these to the marketplace.

” There aren’t many CBD items available in China, however customers are learning fast and the big online platforms like Tmall and JD are also interested as they are always on the lookout for brand-new and emerging categories,” said Sheng.

” Over the past 12 months, we’ve absolutely currently seen an extreme increase in entry to the CBD classification, and in the next 12 months I make sure we’ll be seeing even much faster development. [This not only applies to Mainland China], but also in CBD foodstuff where they are readily available like in Hong Kong.”

Over in India, the Bombay Hemp Business (BOHECO) is one of the most established hemp-related firms in the market and believes that hemp and CBD have ‘endless capacity’ as F&B products in the Indian market as these are able to connect present local F&B patterns.

” India is a reasonably late entrant in the APAC hemp and CBD market, [with such] edible products just beginning to go into the Indian market,” BOHECO Co-Founder and Director Yash Kotak informed us.

BOHECO hemp products

Some of BOHECO’s hemp edible products. © BOHECO

“[That said], the capacity is unlimited [especially due to] the versatility [which] makes it possible for it to be plugged in not only existing industries but also be a category in itself.

“[These] items fit completely provided the present times, coming on the back of 2020 that has really increased the importance of health in individuals’s lives [as it fits] some onseting trends in India such as resistance structure, mental health, vegan/vegetarian food options, organic food [and so on].

Laws and obstacles

A lot of misunderstanding still exists relating to cannabis, hemp, CBD and their psychedelic properties and usages, leading to regulatory approval hold-ups in most APAC nations.

The chief worry is that marijuana flowers, fruits and leaves are commonly smoked for leisure functions as a psychedelic drug due to the presence of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC) which triggers a ‘high’– despite the fact that in reality, hemp comes from a various cannabis range which has low levels of THC however high levels of CBD, which does not cause a high.

According to Kotak, this lack of awareness remains a difficulty in India, and it will take time, possibly years, before the complete capacity of hemp and CBD as an active ingredient can be realised.

” In India, the illiteracy and R&D efforts for the purpose of the crop’s commercialisation stays a difficulty,” he stated.

” Customers and patients need to get the best sort of basic material which can just happen with the right type of clinical efforts. There is a broad space that is not yet checked out with hemp here in India.

” Owing to the absence of info in the mind of customers integrated with the widespread false information that individuals have about hemp, it’s imperative that the air around hemp is cleared and the focus is on the variety of benefits it needs to provide rather.”

Hemp and CBD

Much misconception still exists around hemp and CBD. © Getty Images

In China, guidelines are well laid out for hemp and CBD by making sure that the most governance takes place at the processing phase of hemp, and not producing unneeded market pressure by over-regulating.

” Hemp and CBD are normally controlled in 3 methods– planting, processing and when sold as an item– many markets like the United States and Canada have pretty open regulations for the first two, and there has been a lot of oversupply in the domestic market,” stated Sheng.

” In China, focus has been on regulating processing, so as to manage any THC that may appear in products at this stage. This indicates farmers can plant as much as they like for use in a variety of sectors just like any component, and the consumer product makers who purchase the processed hemp can make and sell their items as long as aligned with the product regulations.

” So here hemp and CBD are not viewed as ‘bad’ components, and this has helped the industry to grow.”

That said, Sheng added that at a worldwide level, perception challenges still exist.

” The United Nations reclassified marijuana and its derivatives from the strictest control schedule in December last year, but still regulations are yet to totally open,” he said.

” This would have a major impact, as it goes together with regional policies– just when the UN makes these legalisations will countries worldwide be comfy to do the very same.”

Leith concurred, saying that guidelines in different APAC countries remain the primary challenge for the market to truly flourish.

” The major difficulty stays the regulative environments within each country. While these are changing there have actually been restrictions put on the import of CBD and hemp Products into [various] APAC nations,” he stated.

” In Australia using hemp in consumables is limited to hemp seed oil production or the use of hulled hemp seeds in numerous products.

” That said, I predict that the hemp market will continue to grow and broaden globally in 2021, mostly driven by consumer demand and the recognition that consumers are searching for health alternatives to existing items.

The increase in plant-based food as a classification ought to likewise increase hemp sales, and the focus of ‘food as thy medication’ and natural option treatments will see CBD grow exponentially throughout the markets in the area that are legal.”

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