Strong Growth in Hemp Food and Body Care Sales Contrast DEA’s Hostility to Farmers Who Want to Grow the Crop

May 13, 2010 – WASHINGTON, — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, released final estimates of the size of the U.S. retail market for hemp food and body care products in 2009. Data supporting the estimates show that retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the U.S. have continued to set records in 2009 despite the sluggish economy.  Strong sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled hemp seed, soaps and lotions have occurred against the backdrop of increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown here for U.S. manufacturers. The new sales data further validates U.S. farmers’ concern that they are being shut out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for over a decade now. The Grange passed a pro-hemp resolution in 2009 while the Farmers Union passed a similar resolution at its annual convention in March 2010.

The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural and conventional food retailers, excluding Whole Foods Market and other establishments not providing sales data ? and thus underestimate actual sales by a factor of at least three. According to the SPINS data, combined hemp grocery and body care sales grew in the sampled stores by 11% or $3.94 million, over the previous year ending December 26, 2009, to a total of $37.9 million.

Due to significant sales excluded from the SPINS data, such as The Body Shop, Whole Foods Market and restaurants, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of suntan lotion and sunscreen products include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care product sales to be in the range of $113-129 million for 2009.

“Farmers who have been hit by drops in crop prices as a result of the economic slow-down want to grow hemp which continues steady double-digit growth in 2009,” says David Bronner, who makes Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and uses hemp oil in all his top-selling products.  “The HIA is confident that the total North American hemp food and body care market over the last year accounted for at least $113 million in retail sales,” adds Bronner, who also chairs the HIA Food and Oil Committee.

“We expect double-digit growth in the hemp food sector to continue through 2010 as retail sales in general have been making a come back and consumers continue to value healthy ‘green’ products,” comments Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director.  “We estimate the total retail value of hemp products in the US at around $400 million when including clothing, building materials and other non-food or body care products,” says Steenstra.

Currently there is legislation in Congress to bring back hemp farming. The chief sponsors of HR 1866, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009,” Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX),  have been joined by 20 other U.S. House members from both sides of the aisle. More information on the bill can be found at:

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 advocacy may be found at and  DVD Video News Release featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

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