Hemp Horizons is one of the largest hemp contract manufacturing companies in India and was one of the first to enter the industry in 2017 when the first Ayurvedic regulatory approvals for hemp were passed.
According to company founder Rohit Shah, the industry has already seen significant growth in recent years. However, he expects more progress when the Indian Food Safety and Standards Agency (FSSAI) adopts regulations on the use of hemp as food this year.
“We expect 10x growth for the industry, driven by regulations linked to the medical cannabis side and increased awareness of CBD,” Shah told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Hemp Horizons is happy to be in the right place at the right time. We also just received our seed funding round last year and we would like to use the funding to capitalize on that growth by increasing current capacity, not just for current first generation products (hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp powder), but also Second generation products.
“We’ll be considering a lot more innovations in hemp food products, from flavored protein powders to hemp butter to hemp milk, energy bars, pasta, and more.
“The prospects for the hemp market are huge right now as the possibilities are endless. I believe that after that no industry will remain unaffected by hemp, both in the food sector and in other areas, from cosmetics to textiles and automobiles to construction and so on. ”
Hemp Horizons is also currently the largest white labeling company doing contract manufacturing for the hemp industry in India. Over 90% of Indian hemp brands are currently using their services, which enables the company to capitalize on the hemp boom.
“The company has its own production facility with a capacity of over 15 tons of hemp, which nobody in the industry currently has. We manufacture all seed-related products, from powders to oils to hearts, for over 90% of the Indian hemp industry, ”said Shah.
“We want to go one step further and also look at cultivation to ensure traceability for people, especially since we also have plans to get into the medical cannabis industry. I expect we can start using our own cannabis in late 2021 through early 2022, and we’ll have seven to ten medical cannabis SKUs this summer as well. “
Regulations and Challenges.
Shah added that FSSAI regulations on hemp have finally come into effect as the Indian government has recognized the significant financial and economic losses if it failed to bring them forward.
“The government has started recognizing hemp and cannabis as particularly important to the economies of India and that they must legalize them or lose about $ 5 billion over the next five years,” he said.
“Without the new regulations, there are many listing and marketing restrictions that are preventing the industry from flourishing. For example, Amazon and other e-commerce channels do not want to list hemp products because the FSSAI did not approve unclear regulations, but the AYUSH ministry said yes; Also, we’ve seen a lot of problems trying to market on social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
“It has been an ongoing learning process to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but these new regulations will open all doors for hemp foods to be listed in all retail stores, platforms and restaurants, etc.”
With both regulations opening up and COVID-19 spiking the demand for hemp food, Shah has set the next decade as the time to watch the industry.
“The next 10 years will be very interesting for the industry, especially since hemp is so versatile. Already now, the three core first generation products are used as the main ingredients for many products, adding more innovations as well as second and third generation products. This year is a really exciting time to be in this room, ”he said.