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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
tom@thehia.org

Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
adam@votehemp.com

Strong Growth of Hemp Food and Body Care Sales Continues in 2007
U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Industrial Hemp for Expanding Market

BALTIMORE, MD — As leading North American brands that make hemp food and body care products with hemp seed and oil exhibit at the Natural Products Expo in Baltimore from September 27-29, new retail data released today proves that these brands are racking up record sales. The strong sales have occurred against the backdrop of state-licensed hemp farmers in North Dakota fighting a high stakes legal battle against the DEA to grow hemp seed for U.S. manufacturers. The new sales data lends credibility to U.S. farmers' assertion that they are being left out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for ten years.

The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural food retailers only, excluding Whole Foods Market and mass-market food and pharmacy stores, and thus under-represents actual sales by a factor of two to three. The new report shows that hemp food sales grew in the sampled stores by 39% over the previous year (from August 2006 to August 2007), or by $2.1 million, to a total of $7.7 million. Based on the representative growth of this sample, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) Food and Oil Committee now estimates that the total retail value of hemp foods sold over the past 12 months in North America grew from $14 million last year to approximately $20 million this year. In addition, the SPINS data show that sales of hemp body care products grew 11% over the past 12 months in the sampled stores to $12 million. Due to the large hemp body care line sold by The Body Shop, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of sun tan lotion and sunscreen products include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of North American hemp body care sales to be at least $50 million.

"The hard work we did four years ago to preserve legal sales of hemp foods through successful litigation has paid off with steady double-digit growth year after year," says David Bronner, Chair of the HIA Food and Oil Committee and President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. "The HIA is confident that the total North American hemp food and body care market over the last 12 months accounted for at least $65-70 million in retail sales," adds Bronner.

Over the last three years, hemp food sales have averaged 41% annual growth, making it one of the fastest-growing natural food categories. "Last fall we expected the double-digit growth of the hemp food sector to continue in 2007, especially since hemp milk would finally be available to waiting consumers," comments Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director. "We project that growth in the markets for hemp food and body care will keep pace into 2008," says Steenstra.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Statistics Canada data show that the quantity of hemp seed exports increased 300% from 2006 to 2007. Hemp oil exports kept pace, with an 85% increase in quantity. Hemp fiber exports showed encouraging progress, with a 65% increase in quantity. All statistics represent growth from the period January to June in 2007 versus the same period in 2006. A summary of hemp food and body care sales data is available by clicking here. (PDF File 60K)

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The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp's many uses and hemp legislation may be found at www.HempIndustries.org and www.VoteHemp.com. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

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