Producer’s Spotlight: Victory Hemp
Victory Hemp: Tiny Seeds, Big Visions
Hemp could be the delicious and environmentally friendly protein source plant-based dieters have been searching for. It will be if Victory Hemp Foods has a say in the matter! Hemp seeds offer enticing health benefits and adding hemp to farmer’s crop rotations can support environmentally friendly growing practices.
Victory Hemp Foods is a business-to-business primary food ingredient processing company on a mission to help realize the potential of hemp for farmers, brands, and consumers. The company aims to empower growers to add hemp to their rotations and introduce novel hemp seed ingredients that can be used in a variety of food, beverage, and skincare applications.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant in the botanical class of cannabis. This species contains an extremely low level of THC (legal hemp must contain 0.3% THC or lower). It is legal to sell and purchase hemp products throughout the United States and other countries.
“Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant,” explains Aleah Rouse, Director of Marketing for Victory Hemp Foods. “The flower of the plant can be used to make CBD and other nutrition supplements, while the stalk of the plant can be used to make textiles, insulation, rope, paper, animal bedding, even building materials. The hemp seed, which is our main focus at Victory Hemp Foods, is a superfood! It is one of the few plants that are complete protein sources providing all nine essential amino acids, tons of vitamins and minerals, and heart healthy omega fatty acids.”
Hemp Seed Benefits
The nutrition benefits of hemp are amazing. From being a complete plant protein with all 9 essential amino acids to the near-perfect ratio of 3:1 of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids–they really have it all.
Hemp seeds contain 50% more protein, ounce-for-ounce, than almonds, chia or flax seeds. They are a rich source of iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc and are free from the top 9 allergens and have no saturated fats. Not only are hemp seeds more protein-rich than other seeds, they contain all 9 essential amino acids. This means they are a complete plant-based protein. In fact, hemp seeds contain 20 amino acids.
And now, by integrating consumer feedback with better processing technology, Victory Hemp has created products that taste good!
A New Hemp Protein & Oil
Despite the hemp seed’s stellar nutritional profile, Rouse says that products containing hemp seed ingredients have been limited, “Traditionally hemp seed oil and protein have been green, gritty, and have had a strong earthy flavor that has not been popular with food formulators or mainstream consumers.”
So the brand began to look for alternative solutions. “And that’s when we began to focus on the hemp heart,” Rouse told us. Hemp hearts are the inner seeds after the shell has been removed. Using their proprietary process, Victory Hemp developed their two flagship ingredients, V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein and V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil. These ingredients have a near white color, and have a bland, neutral flavor that makes it easy for them to be used in a variety of food product applications. V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein and Victory Hemp Heart Protein (the company’s cost-effective option) contain greater than 70% protein on an as-is basis, making them great solutions for use in meat analogues, dairy analogues, and other products that need a protein boost.
Victory Hemp History & Background
The environment and climate change have always been core issues for Victory Hemp Foods Founder & CEO, Chad Rosen, who sees hemp as part of the solution. In 2014, Chad moved from California to Kentucky. Kentucky had already put together an infrastructure to grow hemp via the 2014 Farm Bill and was already a leader in the industry.
Chad is dedicated to building the U.S. supply chain for hemp. On his mission to fulfill this critical supply chain gap, he began his research selling direct to consumers at farmers markets in Kentucky. He wanted to get a feel for what people thought of hemp foods. What did they like and what did they not?
He went on to form partnerships with Whole Foods Market, Kroger, and a number of health food stores and local grocery co-ops. They began carrying Victory Hemp’s original product lineup, which included Shelled Hemp Seeds (also known as hemp hearts), Hemp Protein 50, and Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Oil.
Shortly after, Victory Hemp Foods changed their business model to business-to-business. Chad realized very few processors were providing high quality, innovative, novel hemp seed ingredients to manufacturers and CPG brands.
Victory Hemp no longer has products in grocery stores. They now sell large bulk quantities directly to manufacturers and brands. Consumers can also purchase smaller bulk quantities from their online shop.
Sustainable Practices & Supply Chain Transparency
In addition to valuing health and wellness, Victory Hemp also advocates for sustainable economic and environmental practices in the agriculture industry. Since founding Victory Hemp, Chad Rosen has been dedicated to promoting the health and environmental benefits of hemp products. “Building a transparent U.S. supply chain for hemp has always been core to Victory Hemp’s mission—to realize the potential of hemp for farmers, brands, and consumers. That’s why we partner with responsible farms to add hemp into rotations that typically include peas, soy, corn, and wheat.”
Victory Hemp contracts with suppliers using regenerative farming techniques. Here are some things that make hemp an environmentally friendly crop:
- Carbon Sequestration—Hemp grows rapidly, creating significant biomass and sequestering upwards of 1.63 tons of CO2 for every ton of hemp grown.
- Increasing Soil Organic Matter—Under minimal-till management hemp roots provide underground biomass to increase soil organic matter, which in turn increases soil water holding capacity and the farm’s ability to withstand drought and disruption.
- Diversifying Crop Rotations—Incorporating hemp further diversifies farm rotations, allowing for a more balanced level of soil nutrients, and disrupting established rhythms of pest development.
Product Diversity: Hemp Has It All
Victory Hemp is positively impacting the food and beverage industry by bringing novel ingredients to market. On top of this, Victory Hemp also serves the personal care and dietary supplement markets. From plant-based protein powders, to omega-rich oils , Victory Hemp provides a wide variety of ingredients. With this diversity, Victory Hemp has the potential to create a powerful movement towards positive economic wellness and environmental change.
Hemp seed ingredients can be used in a variety of food and beverage applications. They work well in protein mixes, nutrition bars, meat and dairy alternatives, and bakery products. Hemp seeds are also good for salad dressings, dips, spreads, pesto, granola, cereal, and sports drinks. They can even be used in craft beverages and distilled spirits. Hemp seed oil is great for skincare and some of the products include lotions, soaps, and lip moisturizer.
The Future of Victory Hemp
Victory Hemp sees a bright future for hemp seeds and the product applications developing around these little seeds.
As Victory Hemp scales, they hope to see hemp seed ingredients compete with incumbent ingredients made from soybeans and peas.
“We are currently working on developments around the hemp shells. The sky’s the limit to what these little seeds can do!” Rouse said.
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