Naturally Splendid enterprises
There is a great deal of excitement over the emerging hemp food segment in the health and wellness category. Canadian superfood company Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd. (TSXV:NSP) is on the forefront of this market, and, with innovative encapsulation technologies for hemp oil delivery mechanisms, is poised to make a huge impact in the Canadian and international food and beverage sector.
Naturally Splendid Enterprises (NSE) was formed approximately 6 years ago when Craig Goodwin, CEO and Director, and Bryan Carson, Vice President of Operations, aligned to develop and promote the superfood.
It was easy to see why Goodwin and Carson were excited. Hemp is a nutritious, complete source of amino acids and essential fatty acids, containing 35 per cent protein and 45 per cent Omega oil in its dehulled state. Importantly, it offers the most digestible protein of any plant source on earth, and is a suitable complement or replacement for animal based proteins.
Hemp contains all twenty-one amino acids including nine essential amino acids (EAAs), which our bodies cannot produce and must be introduced to our system in the food we eat daily to maintain one’s health.
Hemp is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are essential to the proper development and functioning of the brain, immune systems and metabolism. Hemp seed oil contains the highest amount of EFA’s of any vegetable oil. Hemp contains over 80 per cent essential fatty acids (EFAs), the most compared to all other edible oils on earth.
Studies have shown that it is important to consume Omega 3 and Omega 6 in the proper balanced ratio. Unbalanced or inadequate consumption of Omega 3 and Omega 6 may contribute to health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and depression. Hemp oil is the only edible oil on earth that is perfectly balanced with the 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 EFA’s as recommended by the World Health Organization to maintain optimum health. It also offers a sustainable alternative to marine sources of Omega oils without any risk of contamination from heavy metals from ocean sources.
Goodwin brings over 30 years as a distinguished sales and marketing executive with a venture capital background, which, when partnered with Carson’s experience in health food, distribution, and retail operations created the foundation for Naturally Splendid. “As we started the process, we found that there was a lot of traction and upside potential,” says Carson. “We began to germinate the idea to create a company that was capable of trading publically on the Toronto Stock Exchange.”
“We knew it was vital to build an incredibly strong group of directors to help us grow the company,” adds Goodwin. “Our biggest strength is knowing what our weaknesses are. We built a Board of Directors around us who give us guidance and are very active in the day to day activities of our company.”
One such expert they looked to is Russ Crawford, Director of NSE, President of Agrinomics I.T. Consulting Ltd. and Vice President of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA), the national industry body. Russ authored the Long Term International Strategy 2013-2018 (LTIS) report that built on the CHTA’s National Industrial Hemp Strategy. “The export of hemp and hemp products on the food side has grown 500 per cent in the last five years,” says Crawford. “Acreage of hemp in Canada is around 55,000 acres, which makes it a small crop relative to canola and wheat. The goal of CHTA is to reach 250,000 acres by 2018, roughly 5 times where we are at today, which would represent $85 million in farm gate receipts, or $1.25 billion to the Canadian economy.”
For farmers there is a better return per acre in growing hemp than any other crop right now. “The Canadian government is starting to see the opportunity in supporting the industrial hemp sector. They are providing funding for companies like Naturally Splendid; companies who continue to develop products and create demand for farmers to expand their acreage, economically, sustainably and in an environmentally friendly manner. What is needed going forward is to create consumer demand for hemp-based products.
There is an unprecedented demand in consumer trends for natural, healthy, good tasting food. “What will drive those trends is product demand; what Naturally Splendid is doing in product development is creating products to fill that demand,” says Crawford.
Science and Innovation Behind the Brand
While hemp seed is universally acknowledged as a super food, Goodwin and Carson see beyond just its application as a source of protein powder and Omega oil. “Instead of trying to get into a lot of retail stores up front, we proceeded very carefully and used the first years of operation to gain knowledge and market expertise in the area of hemp.
We made very sure we understood the supply channels, got connected with all the best hemp processors in Canada, and understood what the stores needed – to understand the entire business cycle. Of course this is driven by consumer demand.”
Naturally Splendid initially offered four core products: shelled hemp seed, Omega 369 supplements, hemp oil as well as hemp protein. From the original six stores, Naturally Splendid grew to supply over 300 stores in a short time. Naturally Splendid let the consumer decide whether the product was going to be successful. “This was a live market survey,” says Goodwin.
“We needed a competitive advantage,” says Goodwin. Enter Boreal Technologies Inc., a research and development company recently relocated out of Denver, Colo. to the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Boreal Technologies is on the forefront of research into industrial hemp and applications in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products. “Boreal Technologies secured a 10,000-square-foot space at UBC to conduct research developing pharmaceutical grade industrial hemp products,” says Goodwin. “The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance was instrumental in introducing Boreal Technologies to Naturally Splendid, and within five minutes of our initial meeting I realized what they were developing was a breakthrough application for hemp seed oil.”
HempOmega ™ and H2Omega™
By developing and using a proprietary, patent pending process Boreal Technologies is able to convert hemp oil into aqueous and water soluble powder forms through nano-encapsulation without changing the composition of the oil. It is still a natural product which is the most amazing part. In May, 2013, Naturally Splendid secured an exclusive sales agreement for these Omega products: HempOmega ™ and H2Omega™.
“Boreal Technology’s scientific discovery for the Omega nutritional food market is truly remarkable. Converting an edible oil, which has limited applications, into soluble powder and aqueous forms has significantly increased the commercial potential.”
HempOmega™ and H2Omega™ are two innovative Omega-based ingredient products with the potential to be used in an extensive range of existing retail products. Product opportunities include, but are not limited to baked goods, energy and meal replacement bars, protein and meal replacement powders, dairy products and non-dairy substitutes, as well as nutritional supplements. “Essentially we now have a methodology to include an extended shelf life Omega benefit as a supplement in any prepared food or base ingredient – liquid or powder,” offers Goodwin.
Still in a marketing phase, Goodwin says the response to the products has been “overwhelming”, and unlike anything he’s ever experienced in sales before.
In September, 2013, NSE announce they have entered into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Calico Food Ingredients Ltd., a leading distributor of quality food ingredients to the Canadian Food and Beverage manufacturing industries, to test the products. “We continue to look for other opportunities,” adds Goodwin. “One of the advantages of being a public company is you can grow through acquisition. NSE is currently looking at a number of opportunities that would enable the company to grow through acquisition.
In line with growing the company, Naturally Splendid works with Martyn Element, founder and President of Element and Associates. Element’s vast experience includes public financing and the food and beverage industry, including overseeing premium sparkling water brand Clearly Canadian grow to 1 billion bottles and a valuation increase from $0.54 a share to $31.
“When I came across Naturally Splendid, I thought that they were bringing a certain element of professionalism from many points of view,” says Element.
“The ramifications of the HempOmega™ and H2Omega™ technology are unbelievable from a numbers point of view,” continues Element. “The growth potential is huge for commercial applications.” One teaspoon of this solution goes a long way for your recommended daily Omega requirement, so we are dealing with a tremendous product.”
Naturally Splendid is rebranding their existing retail hemp superfood line under the name Natera™. The existing shelled hemp seed and hemp protein powder, as well as the new product lines, flavoured seeds and powders, announced in a previous news release, will now be marketed under the Natera™ brand.
Goodwin states, “The Natera™ brand will be unveiled at The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) East trade show, Canada’s largest conference and trade show for the natural health and organics industry, in October.”