Processing, Manufacture, Packing FAQs
Ok, so I have grown industrial hemp, I've harvested the seed, its been declared fit to enter the food chain, what next?
It all comes from the seed......the most important consideration to make is related to shelf life and storage. Hemp seed for the food industry (as apposed to the animal feed, fuel, paint/varnish industry) should be treated gently, stored in a cool, dry and dark place. Once its is stored correctly and unprocessed, hemp seed should last for a number of years.
Of course no one wants to grow hemp seed and just have it in storage, it needs to be processed and sold. Clearly the best strategy is to manufacture from your seed as and when the market demands, bearing in mind that our protein powder, hulled seed and seed have a shelf life of 18 months, the oil has a shelf life of 12 months. Only process what the market demands in the next 2 months.
The first process is cold press oil extraction. The seeds (typically 30% oil) are fed into a vertical hopper where gravity feeds them through a screw which turns extremely slowly; in this manner the oil is pressed out of the seed. It is important that the oil does not heat during this stage. We have two processors that we work with, one in the Midlands and one in the North of England. Both of them are fully accredited and have vast experience of the process. It is tempting for people to think that its a good idea to buy a press and make your own oil but experience and accreditation count for a lot in the food supply industry, and if you want a 12 month shelf life, properly filtered and bottled oil that is ready for supermarket shelves the most efficient way is for you to use our services to get these processes carried out. The factories that we work with are accredited to ISO9001/2015, ISO22000/2005 or GMP/BRC and Soil Association.
We can supply you at any time with hemp seed oil pressed in the same factory - organic or conventional as well - so that if you sell out after spending loads of time and money building a brand we can step in to provide continuation of supply.
The second process for oil is to utilise it as an ingredient in the manufacture of skin care products.
We work with the factory that manufactured (and grew, incidentally) the first hemp oil for the Body Shop in the 1980s. Through them we can produce a complete range of products in comparatively small batches with EU approved manufacturing and testing protocols, all carried out to ISO9001/2015, ISO22000/2005 and Soil Association Organic Skincare accreditation.
The third process for oil is refinement. We can refine hemp seed oil down to a odourless, colourless and tasteless product which has multi applications in a variety of industries both food related (for instance to use as a carrier oil in CBD products) and non food industries - lubrication, specialist fuel oils etc.
Ok so after the seeds been pressed for oil what next?
The by-product of seed pressing is a protein rich cake. We take this cake to a different factory (again, fully accredited) where it undergoes a number of processes which end up with it having the constituency of flour, and indeed there is a market for gluten free hemp flour so this product can be packaged and sold immediately. The remaining product is then sent to a third factory that specialises in protein powder. Hemp seed provides the full amino acid spectrum and so is an extremely important source of plant based protein. Some people like the taste and add it to smoothies etc but others prefer to have a flavouring added, chocolate or vanilla are particularly popular. Our blenders and packers specialise in just that. Blending and packing. They can incorporate cacao, fortify with minerals and salts, vitamins etc making your protein powder unique. Fully accredited to GMP/ISO standards meaning that the product is suitable for sale at any outlet.
We also work with another factory that manufactures vegan/vegetarian food products. They can manufacture and pack snack bars, burgers, ready meals, butters, spreads, hemp milk etc all made from your hemp seed and powder. Minimum order quantities are around 10,000 items with a shelf life of 12 months. They are also fully accredited and their products are regularly found on supermarket shelves throughout the country. Hemp seed has become extremely popular not only among vegans but also for people with allergies and intolerance. Please click here for more information.
Anything else we can do with seeds?
The other process that we have available to us is to "peel" the seeds meaning that you can have a "hulled hemp seed" product to go into manufactured food products or for sale as is.
The base product for all of these products are Hemp Seeds. We work with suppliers throughout the EU to ensure a consistent supply so that if you run out of seed for your products we can step in to fill the gap.
All the manufacturers we work with have a range of different packaging options available including biodegradable, recyclable etc.
This seems like a lot of products! Anything else?
Hemp seed oil can also be used in the paint, varnish and wood treatment manufacture. Hemp seed oil can also be used as a diesel fuel alternative. Obviously these products dont require the same degree of accreditation as they are not food products so any marginal quality product does not go to waste.
We like to remind people that every time a hemp product is bought and sold the transaction contributes to the reduction of global warming through the capture of carbon. Once we get to the point where we are producing hemp based packaging in the country we will be on the way to a carbon negative future. Hemp can help.