According to the history books, hemp has been used for thousands of years all around the world in everything from the construction of English battleships, rope and textiles. Now for the first time in Australia hemp has been allowed to be grown and sold as a source of food.

After changes were made to the Australian Food Standards Code back in 2017, allowing the sale of low-psychoactive hemp seed as a food, it was bound to pique the interest of young entrepreneurs who suddenly saw a future in hemp; the latest in a long line of superfoods.

Most Australians would be aware of the best known superfoods; those being blueberries, salmon, kale and acai. Now this is not because of great marketing and PR spin, but actual scientific studies have shown those nutritionally dense and protein rich foods have great health benefits for all.

“Hemp seeds are a naturally high source of plant based protein.”

— CADE TURLAND

Since the change in legislation there have been a number of proactive start-ups looking to capitalise on this new and unexplored territory of hemp entrepreneurship. One Bondi born hemp brand making its mark in the health food isle is Hemple, founded by entrepreneur and personal trainer Cade Turland and marketing expert Georgia Branch.

Turland is no stranger to seasonal food manufacturing, having grown up in country NSW, and Branch is no slouch either, having previously worked as a copywriter on campaigns for major food brands. The two entrepreneurs found their passions aligned, and being health conscious individuals Branch and Turland saw a gap in the market for hemp to fill and to produce and sell a whole new category of superfood.

“Branch and Turland saw a gap in the market for hemp to fill and to produce and sell a whole new category of superfood.”

“When starting, I knew about the health benefits of hemp and I’d tried hemp seeds but that was about it. I’ve always been a very open minded person, so for me there was no stigma associated with entering the cannabis business, but I know that’s still a hurdle for a lot of people despite the public perception continuing to change,” Branch says.

What Branch and Turland found most impressive with hemp seeds was the incredibly diverse health benefits. Not only are the seeds rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), they also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to health benefits such as anti-inflammatory effects and regulating the immune system. They’re not just good for you, they’re great for you.

As Cade sees it, “Hemp seeds are a naturally high source of plant based protein. So, unlike a pea, soy or brown rice protein, hemp protein needs no chemical or acidic isolation – it’s simply cold pressed and milled meaning you get the full benefits of the plant.”

Of course, even after much research, the decision to start making hemp food products was not taken lightly. According to Branch, there is still the difficulty of marketing the product when consumers still confuse hemp with marijuana. Yes, it’s true, hemp is part of the cannabis species of plant, but unlike marijuana hemp contains virtually no levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the stuff that is needed to get you high.

Both Turland and Branch also went the extra mile to make sure they were onto a good thing, spending months meeting farmers around Australia, learning what variety of hemp grows best in what climate as well as tasting the varieties of hemp seed so they could determine the best taste for their products.

Speaking of products, in a short space of time Branch and Turland have grown their range to not only include Hemple High Fibre and Hemple Raw (a cold, sifted protein with a higher protein content), but also Hemple Divine Vanilla and they have launched a sister company called Soul Seed, which focuses on high quality hemp seeds and hemp seed oil. The brands are available in major Australian retailers and health food stores across the USA and UK.

The future looks very bright for Cade Turland and Georgia Branch, both of them joining a growing chorus of hemp manufacturers educating the public about what hemp really is and the immense health benefits it has.

Truly, the main take away and lesson from Branch and Turland’s Hemp journey so far is to discover what you’re passionate about, surround yourself with others who share that passion and find a way to turn your ideas into reality, because in the end it can clearly pay off.

By Robert Tompkins