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Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods expands with new facility in Winnipeg

March 25, 2008

By: NPI Center
Posted: 03/25/2008

Winnipeg, Manitoba (March 26, 2008) – Sales of healthy hemp foods are skyrocketing, so much in fact that Winnipeg-based Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils is in the process of expanding into a much larger state–of–the–art food manufacturing facility. The company has begun the challenging process of moving their operations across the city to a new 20,000 sq. foot space on Eagle Drive that will increase their production capacity by at least 500%.

Manitoba Harvest plans to hire 5 more employees in 2008 and more in the future as they expand production to meet demand from rapidly growing domestic and international markets. The company is in the process of purchasing new processing and packaging equipment to be installed at the site. The leased facility will also provide an abundance of office, warehouse and shipping space, as well as a full–scale laboratory for in–house product quality testing. Manitoba Harvest has completed Phase 1 by moving their offices and warehouse operations and plans to have Phase 2 & 3 (Packaging & Production) complete by the end of summer. A Grand Opening celebration will be held that is timed to coincide with the hemp harvest season.

“For each of the past several years our sales have been growing at least 50%, so each year the production and shipping areas here at the obsolete Notre Dame Ave. site have been getting tighter and tighter,” notes Martin Moravcik, Co–founder & Vice President of Operations that oversees the production side of the company. “The new, larger space represents a big milestone for us, things are really rolling along now and this will help us be even more efficient and further ensure optimal quality,” adds Moravcik, whom was one of the hemp pioneers in the early 1990s that worked with the government and other advocates to make hemp agriculture legal again in Canada in 1998.

Manitoba Harvest’s work pioneering hemp agriculture and helping to spread organic farming helped earn them the 2006 Socially Responsible Business Award at the Natural Products Expo East trade show, the largest event of its kind in North America. Not only is hemp good for human health, it is also good for the planet. Hemp is naturally pest–resistant, and because hemp plants grow rapidly and close together, they crowd out weeds and don’t need herbicides. It is also a soil–building plant that is excellent for crop rotation. In line with the Manitoba Harvest mission, the facility offers many energy conservation and environmentally–friendly features. For example, the facility will include energy efficient lighting, R20 insulation to lower heating and cooling costs, energy efficient HVAC heating and cooling systems which is approved by the Manitoba Hydro Power Smart Program.

“Hemp Foods are Hot!”

Hemp seed exports from Canada grew 300% from 2006–2007, according to Agri–Food Canada (a government agency). During the past 5 years, Manitoba Harvest’s sales have grown more than 500% earning them a spot on the 2007 Profit 100 list of the fastest growing businesses in Canada. “Foods that offer omega–3 essential fats like hemp are hot because medical evidence demonstrating the health benefits of this nutrient continues to grow,” notes Mike Fata, President and co–founder of Manitoba Harvest.

Last year, Manitoba Harvest launched Hemp Bliss (the first organic non–dairy hempmilk), which earned the 2007 Best New Food Product Award at Natural Products Expo East. Because Hemp Bliss is a convenient and delicious source of balanced omega nutrition, it is already fueling the next round of rapid growth. This month the company is extending their line of organic hempmilks by launching Unsweetened Hemp Bliss.

In addition to being among the best sources of omega–3 and omega 6 essential fats, hemp seed is an impressive source of whole protein, healthy fiber and it offers an abundance of vitamins and minerals. In addition to Hemp Bliss, Manitoba Harvest produces organic cold–pressed Hemp Seed Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and Hemp Protein Powder.

Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest is proud to be the largest farmer–owned, vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in North America. Manitoba Harvest contracts thousands of acres of hemp seed production in Western Canada with dozens of farmers, many of which are company shareholders. The company owns and operates a kosher and USDA certified organic facility and their products are distributed to thousands of stores worldwide and are also sold as bulk ingredients to food and cosmetic manufacturers. Since Manitoba Harvest is an integrated producer they control production from “seed to shelf,” and are therefore able to ensure freshness and quality. For more information, visit www.manitobaharvest.com or call 1–800–665–HEMP.