hemp natural foods, Exclusive: Hemp foods are a natural fit in the wellness space, says Manitoba Harvest founder Mike Fata

The wellness trend has taken hold among consumers, creating ample opportunities for hemp entrepreneurs.

But what does this trend mean for foods made from hemp grain, and how can business leaders capitalize on consumers’ increasing interest in their health and wellness?

Hemp Industry Daily caught up with Mike Fata, who founded Manitoba Harvest, a Winnipeg company that makes foods from hemp grain including hemp hearts, hemp protein, hemp seed oil and hemp extract.

Manitoba Harvest started in 1998 with one farmer producing $50,000 of hemp products sold at one health-food store. Today the company sells more than 50 million bags of hemp hearts a year, produced by 500 employees and farmers on 150,000 acres of hemp, sold in 16,000 retail stores, for more than $500 million in sales.

Fata moved on from Manitoba Harvest in 2019, when he sold the company to Tilray Holdings for $319 million. But he continues to be involved in the natural-products industry as an investor and entrepreneur interested in health and wellness.

In this exclusive interview, find out about:

  • How the market for hemp foods has grown over the past two decades.
  • Food systems and wellness trends that could affect opportunities for hemp-based foods.
  • Why hemp companies may want to consider B Corporation and other certifications.
  • Why hemp companies can benefit from collaboration instead of competition.
  • Investment opportunities in the hemp and natural-foods sector.

Laura Drotleff can be reached at [email protected]