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The term “superfood” is relatively broad, but it often describes a nutrient-rich whole food that may provide health benefits. Superfoods often contain generous amounts of nutrients like fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, and antioxidants.
For this reason, hemp is also seen as a superfood. One standard serving of three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds contains roughly 165 calories, more than 14g of healthy fats, and 10g of protein. Hemp is also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, making the seed highly attractive to healthy eaters.
For this reason and among many others, numerous countries are beginning their venture into the hemp industry, and the latest is India, which just approved hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, and seed-based flour as a food and food ingredient.
The new approval by India’s food and safety authorities mark a bright future for the vast hemp market, now targetting about 1.4 billion consumers in the country. The Food Safety and Security Authority of India (FSSAI) signed the regulations last week. Now the country is looking at the potential of hemp grain in its food and beverage industries.
Nivedita Bansal Shah, co-founder and consultant at Shah Hemp Inno-Ventures, told Hemp Today that the new regulations partially resolve a lack of rules that have kept India’s hemp industry from moving, but it’s still too early to tell how quick the market will develop.
She said it’s a “significant milestone” for the hemp industry in India, and it’s the first “victory” the country has seen to make way for future developments. She added how there are still numerous questions that must be answered before we begin to see hemp seeds “readily selling in the Indian market.”
Firstly, Shah said seeds for planting are in short supply, adding that the availability of planting and the genetics for planting seeds to produce hemp food grains still need development. However, the Indian subcontinent is known for having many indigenous varieties and strains of cannabis, so we should expect much demand for hemp seeds once the market makes them available to the public.
That said, cultivating specific seed types that can perform consistently still need development within local hemp varieties. Additionally, India isn’t familiar with the process of bringing hemp and cannabis products to the market, meaning that there needs to be more knowledge and shared understanding regarding how to begin and execute this process.
On the consumer’s side, stakeholders say consumers must be informed and educated about hemp, what they’re buying, and why they’re buying it. These kinds of developments are required to normalize and regulate the budding hemp industry.
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