Hemp Food Australia CEO Paul Benhaim.
Hemp Food Australia CEO Paul Benhaim. Marc Stapelberg

Bangalow’s Hemp Foods Australia gets $600k grant

UPDATE 11.06am: RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has congratulated Bangalow based Hemp Foods Australia for receiving $589,337 in federal funding towards building their $1.178 million state-of-the-art processing plant to extract unique hemp seed products.

Ms Elliot said Hemp Food Australia received the funding through the Australian Government's Entrepreneurs Programme.

The Entrepreneurs Programme enables innovative ideas to be taken from the drawing board to the global marketplace.

"Congratulations to Hemps Foods Australia for their success in receiving this funding which will be used to buy new state-of-the-art machinery to help process hemp seed products," Ms Elliot said.

"I've toured the Hemps Foods Australia factory and seen first-hand the very successful business they have at Bangalow.

"They export all over the world and are growing at a remarkable rate.

"Hemp Foods Australia is the largest Hemp food wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer and exporter in the Southern Hemisphere. 

"Hemp is cultivated worldwide, including in Australia and New Zealand (under strict licensing arrangements), and is currently used in Australia as a source of material production and building products.

"Hemp is a legal food in most countries, including Europe, Canada and the United States.

"It is used in a range of foods including health bars, salad oils, non-dairy milk, non-dairy cheeses, and as an additive to baked goods.

"Australian food laws are currently under review to allow hemp, which has no psychoactive properties, to be used as food ingredients like flour, oil and protein powder. 

"I would like the review to result in hemp products being approved as a food in Australia.

"I'll always fight to get our fair share from Canberra.

"This funding is part of the more than $2 billion that I've delivered for local roads, schools, health and community resources."


INITIAL REPORT: BANGALOW based Hemp Foods Australia has been awarded a federal government grant of almost $600,000 although its products are illegal to sell in Australia.

Hemp Foods Australia finance manager Felipe Favaro said the $589,337 grant will be used to purchase state-of-the-art processing facilities to produce new hemp food products.

"We are going to buy new processing machinery to create new products," he said.

Despite it being illegal to sell Hemp Foods Australia's products as a food for human consumption, Mr Favaro said a change was coming.

"It is still illegal to sell hemp products as a food in Australia but we anticipate a change by July next year," he said.

Over the least three years, Mr Favaro said the company had grown 105% each year.

He said the new processing equipment, when installed would result in 10 new direct jobs at Hemp Foods Australia.

Hemp Foods Australia founder Paul Benhaim, who is overseas until late November said his business would continue to grow.

"That is what we want to get across," he told Fairfax media.

"Hemp foods are not just another hippy idea from Nimbin.

"We are a serious business and industry.

"In North America the turnover of the industry is in the hundreds of millions."