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>Cannabis is big news these days. On the political front, Canada’s new government has pledged to legalize marijuana, nationwide. In the U.S., legalization (either for full recreational use or medicinal use) is pushing forward in leaps and bounds, with several more states approving full or partial legalization in the most recent U.S. election.

In equity markets, legal cannabis growers, distributors, and producers of related products/accessories are the newest market darlings. Investors rabidly soak up the latest news releases from these companies; share prices are rising, and market caps swelling.

While legal cannabis companies are rightfully attracting increasing amounts of attention, arguably there is another cannabis story with at least as much long-term importance, and perhaps more: the hemp industry. Archaic criminal laws still prohibit the widespread use of hemp as clothing, despite hemp’s clearly superior properties as clothing fiber, not to mention there’s the plants 50,000 other practical uses and that number is still growing. However, with less regulatory hurdles, hemp-as-food is another exciting cannabis story which appears ready to take off.

Cannabis is big news these days. On the political front, Canada’s new government has pledged to legalize marijuana, nationwide. In the U.S., legalization (either for full recreational use or medicinal use) is pushing forward in leaps and bounds, with several more states approving full or partial legalization in the most recent U.S. election.

In equity markets, legal cannabis growers, distributors, and producers of related products/accessories are the newest market darlings. Investors rabidly soak up the latest news releases from these companies; share prices are rising, and market caps swelling.

While legal cannabis companies are rightfully attracting increasing amounts of attention, arguably there is another cannabis story with at least as much long-term importance, and perhaps more: the hemp industry. Archaic criminal laws still prohibit the widespread use of hemp as clothing, despite hemp’s clearly superior properties as clothing fiber, not to mention there’s the plants 50,000 other practical uses and that number is still growing. However, with less regulatory hurdles, hemp-as-food is another exciting cannabis story which appears ready to take off.

In the form of its psychoactive sub-species, cannabis is now recognized as having numerous medicinal properties. In terms of recreational use, it is now widely accepted that most if not all of the anti-marijuana propaganda used to supposedly justify the criminalization of this drug (and plant) has no basis in reality. While better information is beginning to circulate regarding marijuana, awareness of the spectacular properties of hemp as food has spread more slowly.

When referring to hemp as food, the focus is actually on the hemp seeds. This is where most of the nutrition is hidden away in this miracle plant. The only quality more impressive than the number of nutrients contained in these seeds is the potency of the nutrition which they offer. Enter any supermarket, and hemp seeds will be the most-nutritious food product available on store shelves.

A previous Stockhouse article provided some information here. In terms of just the vitamins and minerals alone, hemp seeds stand out as incredibly concentrated nutrition:

Minerals 

·      Calcium (145mg per 100 grams)
·      Iron (14mg per 100 grams)
·      Magnesium (483mg per 100 grams)
·      Manganese (7mg per 100 grams)
·      Phosphorus (1160mg per 100 grams)
·      Potassium (859mg per 100 grams)
·      Zinc (7mg per 100 grams)

Vitamins

·      Vitamin A (3800 IU mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin B1 (0.4mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin B2 (0.11 mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin B3(2.8 mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin B6 (0.12 mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin D (22.77.5 IU mg per 100 grams)
·      Vitamin E (90 mg IU mg per 100 grams)

However, it’s when we move past the vitamins and minerals that the outstanding nutritional attributes of hemp seeds really shine through. By weight, hemp seeds contain more protein than meat, approximately 25% pure protein. Better still, hemp seeds boast the full spectrum of amino acids, including the 9 amino acids which the human body can’t produce on its own.

Equally important, hemp seeds also contain generous amounts of the essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are the single, richest source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. They are also an abundant source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with hemp seeds containing roughly 20% fiber by weight.

Vitamins, minerals, protein, Omega fatty acids, and fiber: try finding abundant quantities of all these nutrients in any other food product and undoubtedly such a search will come up empty. This is the miracle food which Naturally Splendid Enterprises (TSX: V.NSP, OTCQB: NSPDF, FRANKFURT:50N, Forum) is trying to make a dietary staple – for consumers all over the world.

Naturally Splendid has amassed a wide variety of hemp seed food products, spread across several different brand lines. The Company’s Natera brand is its line of retail hemp food products. The CHII brand line is geared more toward on-line sales of hemp foods. Simpli Superfoods is Naturally Splendid’s bulk foods division. And Pawsitive FX is the Company’s innovative line of retail pet care products, designed to deliver lasting benefits of hemp to our four-legged friends.

As Naturally Splendid was looking to raise its corporate profile both with respect to hemp nutrition in general and the Company’s own product lines, it encountered an additional obstacle. In looking to penetrate North American markets with its retail products, NSP butted heads with a larger competitor who had already achieved broad penetration with its own hemp seed products – Manitoba Harvest.

As “the elephant in the room”, Manitoba Harvest was a marketing problem which was not going to go away. However, rather than allow themselves to be discouraged by such competition, Naturally Splendid’s management rose to the challenge. The Company formulated a two-pronged strategy to permit it to fast-track its own growth and build shareholder value, while not attempting to compete head-on with Manitoba Harvest.

Penetrate new markets, where its competitor was not already established, thus allowing Naturally Splendid to compete on a level playing field.
Create a better hemp-as-food company.

When it came to finding new markets, CEO (at the time) Craig Goodwin did what greater and greater numbers of Western-based companies are doing: he looked East. In 2016; the Company announced its first Asian purchase order with South Korea-based Korean Beauty & Health Care Co. Ltd.  

Through this initiative, Naturally Splendid found a market for both its Natera® and bulk exports . By mid-2016, the Company announced that NSP’s Korean purchase orders had already exceeded $5.7 million.

In looking to build upon this momentum, Naturally Splendid’s management was pleased to be invited to be part of an international trade mission to Asia. This was sponsored by the provincial government of British Columbia, and took place in May of this year. The three-nation trade mission began in Seoul, South Korea, before moving on to stops in Manila (Philippines) and Tokyo (Japan).

While the Company has forged ahead in opening up new Asian markets for its product lines, it is in the second part of NSP’s corporate mission where management has produced its most significant achievements. In building a better hemp food company, Naturally Splendid focused on vertical integration.

The Company’s efforts here have yielded impressive results in three areas:

Industry-leading biotechnology has produced HempOmega™, a homogenous, microencapsulated powder derived from hemp seed oil.
Acquired its own production facility.
(LOI) to acquire its own packaging facility.

In April 2015; NSP announced the custom formulation of HempOmega™, a food additive which can be used to produce HempOmega™ infused food products. HempOmega™ opens up an entirely new avenue for this integrated hemp foods company: fortifying a potentially infinite number of food products with the stellar nutritional benefits of hemp seeds.

This biotech breakthrough was pioneered in partnership with POS Bio-Sciences (“protein”, “oil”, “starch”). POS Bio-Sciences is a biotechnology research company which has been in operation for 38 years. It hosts a 54,000 sq ft facility which includes 5 pilot plants, 11 laboratories, as well as warehouse and shipping facilities.

It was in working with POS Bio-Sciences that management became aware of an enormous business opportunity for Naturally Splendid. Along with its research facility, POS Bio-Sciences had its own production facility and was looking for a partner who could utilize and benefit from its usage. NSP was able to secure a 51% controlling interest in the POS production plant, for the fractional purchase price of only $2 million, the cost to build the facility was estimated at $20 million CDN.

POS-BPC Manufacturing Corp is Naturally Splendid’s production enterprise. This 12,000 sq ft processing and manufacturing facility is capable of bulk production ranging from a single metric tonne up to 100’s of metric tonnes. The facility’s versatility will not only meet many of the Company’s in-house production/manufacturing requirements, it is also available for toll processing services for third parties – producing an additional revenue stream from NSP’s operations.

But management wasn’t finished yet. Completing its vertical integration business model required one more ingredient: a packaging operation to compliment the Company’s manufacturing capabilities. In September 2016; Naturally Splendid announced it had signed a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire Eat Real Snack Foods packaging line, that also includes a packaging contract worth a minimum of $504,000 CDN over a 3-years.
 
This packaging line provides the Company with a broad spectrum of equipment and packaging capabilities which include:

A fully automated, stand-alone zipper bag manufacturing and packaging system
A fully automated jar manufacturing system
A fully automated jar packaging line
A fully automated dry food packaging system
An automated seasoning packaging system
An automated powder packaging system
A box-making line
An overwrapping system

With the pending acquisition of Naturally Splendid’s packaging division, the Company’s vision of building a better hemp food company is materializing. However, one more task remained for management: fine-tuning the management team itself.

Here NSP reached out to an industry professional with a long track record of management-level experience in the food industry as the Company’s new Chief Executive Officer: Dave Eto. Eto’s 30+ year resume boasts a wealth of credits which include: Executive Director and CEO of the BC Dairy Association, President and Chair of the BC Food Processor’s Association, and a senior corporate position with Premium Brand Holdings, a producer/marketer/distributor of specialty food products.

With Dave Eto taking the helm at NSP, this has allowed former CEO, Craig Goodwin to move into a new role as President. In this new capacity, Goodwin will be able to focus on his own forte: sales and marketing.

In taking over at Naturally Splendid, Eto brought a new mantra with him: “first, best, different.” The Company is already well advanced in exemplifying this corporate slogan. As the first hemp foods company to begin penetrating Asian nations (and their huge populations), NSP is positioned to be the industry leader in servicing this gigantic market.

With its cutting-edge biotechnology division, Naturally Splendid is striving to produce the best and most-diverse line of hemp food products available anywhere. As the Company looks to infuse HempOmega™ into a multitude of food products and add hemp seed nutrition to (potentially) most/all of the foods we eat, it has taken a different approach to marketing hemp-as-food.

Naturally Splendid has already established a growth profile built atop innovative biotechnology, vertical integration, and the penetration of new-and-large markets for its products. What else does the future hold for NSP? In a word: cannabinoids.
When most people hear the word “cannabinoid”, they associate it with the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant, and more specifically the psychoactive compound, THC. Cannabinoids are found not in the seeds of the cannabis plant, but rather in its leaves and flowers.

The cannabinoids in hemp plants (the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana) contain no THC or other psychoactive compounds but do possess a plethora of nutritional properties just waiting to be brought to the marketplace. At present, legal barriers prevent Naturally Splendid from introducing cannabinoids into its consumer products.

However, as the legalization juggernaut moves forward, the Company is already anticipating the day when the regulatory hurdles for cannabinoids have been eliminated. NSP is positioning itself to be an industry leader when another (literal) branch of the hemp plant is legally authorized for sale.
 
Naturally Splendid CEO Dave Eto comments, “Imagine taking a trip without a destination in mind – while it would be exciting and full of adventure, it’s not how I guide an organization towards reaching its goals. Our road map, aka strategic business plan, is a critical tool to defining to all stakeholders the what, when, how and who will manage the business to success.  I believe that when people know where they are to focus their efforts, there’s no doubt it will be accomplished.  So, by practicing critical thinking, curiosity and a focus on continuously improving how we work, NSE will be nimble in responding to customer needs.  This is what will differentiate us from our competitors and create loyal customers. It’s by these core principles that Naturally Splendid aims to capitalize on the this new and remerging industry filled with opportunities, our goal is to add shareholder value and confidence by executing effectively and accordingly. ”
 
For investors looking to capitalize on the nearly limitless blue-sky potential of hemp as food, Naturally Splendid Enterprises is providing you with an opportunity as appetizing as the food products themselves. Further information can be found here.
Read more at http://www.stockhouse.com/news/newswire/2016/12/15/feeding-hungry-world-with-concentrated-nutrition#OWXRssyLVsdJsHMo.99

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