The slow and steady rise of hemp food and beverages

By Natalie Moubarak. Published at Sep 6, 2019, in The 420 Report

This November, it will be two years since hemp was legalised as a food in Australia, but the scepticism of its benefits and effects still runs deep.

In 2016, I began tracking the legislative journey for hemp-based foods following a positive experience I encountered using a hemp and moisturiser concoction to help with my psoriasis. After thorough research, I personally banked on my belief that hemp would soon be legalised as a food and came up with an idea to create the first-to-market hemp water in Australia, called +hemp to make it more accessible for Australians to consume. +hemp is an all-natural hemp beverage made using high-quality, Australian-grown hemp seed oil, which has been filtered into the water using a reverse-osmosis process.

Initially, I embarked on an 18-month journey to develop the product and I’ve invested more than $260,000 of my own funds into creating Australia’s first hemp water. The business is performing strongly – now 11 months on since the launch of +hemp – considering that we’re a small business in the hemp space. The success can be seen given that we’ve sold more than 100,000 units to date, and are stocked in more than 427 retailers in Australia and internationally.

So, why are people still hesitant into consuming a perfectly legal and healthy food source?

Having interacted with various people in the hemp market, there is still a long way to go in educating Aussies on the benefits of hemp products, particularly hemp food.

Although it hasn’t impacted our sales greatly, it would do better if the stigma and presumptions around hemp were no longer there, as people are still wary of trying the product. This is seen across the whole hemp industry – not just hemp foods or beverages.

The misconception and lack of public awareness that hemp differs greatly from its illegal counterpart are the biggest challenges facing the sector. The key differentiation factor between hemp and marijuana is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive ingredient. As long as the food product contains less than 0.5 per cent of THC, it is legal to distribute and consume. +hemp water contains neglible traces of THC, making it safe for people all ages to drink.

However, the legislation in Australia around hemp in general is still evolving compared with international markets such as the US and Canada, where legislative reforms have occurred to overturn the illegality of growing and using hemp. Several political campaigns, along with big pharmaceutical companies have an anti-hemp stance, which does not help invoke confidence in consumers. After years of total prohibition of hemp as a food source in Australia, it would take some time for Australians to fully adjust to this ingredient as a normal food source.

The strict advertising policies on social media platforms are also a hindrance to the growth and development of hemp products in Australia. Given the reach that social media has on its users, there is potential to educate through this way. Instead, +hemp has been doing mini campaigns, promotional giveaways and partaking in sampling opportunities to combat this hurdle.

If people see that advertising policies are not accommodating hemp products, while pharmaceutical brands and political parties frown upon them, Aussies will be even more reluctant to open up to the possibility of incorporating hemp products in their day-to-day lives.

Given our current position, I believe it will take around another five years for hemp to pick up in the Australian market. Following the decision to overturn the consumption of low THC hemp, it is no surprise that the Australian hemp production is forecasted to be valued at $3 million by 2023. The growth of hemp products is undeniable and is coming up slowly, yet steady.

Unlike the UK and the US markets, Australia has only been introduced to it in recent years. Although it is pleasing to see the international markets’ receptiveness towards +hemp, we have more work to do for Australian consumers to be less hesitant towards the unconventional.

Once the nutritional benefits of hemp become widespread knowledge – such as the antioxidants, amino acids and high levels of omega-3, omega-6 and Gamma Linolenic Acid found in hemp seeds – people’s perception will change and will see that it is just like any other natural ingredient, resulting in them being more open to consuming hemp products.

It is challenging for a small beverage start-up to compete with large, established brands, especially when the benefits of the unique selling point are still unbeknownst to most. +hemp will continue to increase awareness for hemp through the expansion of our range and being stocked in more and more retailers.

About Natalie Moubarak

Natalie Moubarak is the founder and director of +hemp. She began tracking the legislative journey for hemp-based foods in 2016. She personally banked on her belief that hemp will be legalised as a food and when it was, she spotted an opportunity to launch Australia’s first true hemp water – which has since been a huge success. +hemp now has two products in its line: Hydrate, a lemon and lime flavour, and Restore, a natural raspberry and coconut flavour. Natalie aims to make health and nutritional benefits of hemp accessible for more Aussies through +hemp.

Social links

View Our Investment Portfolios

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (CAR No.433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information only. Any advice is general advice only. Neither your personal objectives, financial situation nor needs have been taken into consideration. Accordingly you should consider how appropriate the advice (if any) is to those objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.

Conflict of Interest Notice

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd does and seeks to do business with companies featured in its articles. As a result, investors should be aware that the Firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this article. Investors should consider this article as only a single factor in making any investment decision. The publishers of this article also wish to disclose that they may hold this stock in their portfolios and that any decision to purchase this stock should be done so after the purchaser has made their own inquires as to the validity of any information in this article.

Publishers Notice

The information contained in this article is current at the finalised date. The information contained in this article is based on sources reasonably considered to be reliable by S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and available in the public domain. No “insider information” is ever sourced, disclosed or used by S3 Consortium.

Australian ASX Small Cap stocks | Why is Australia’s leading small cap publication

Founded seven years ago, is Australia’s leading and longest standing website for investor and finance news, education and expert opinion.

Published by StocksDigital, Finfeed was created to report daily on the comings and goings of ASX listed stocks in the small cap market.

As the first digital publication dedicated specifically to this space, Finfeed soon became the most trusted publication in the market, quickly garnering over two million page views – a number that continues to rise. provides its readers with informative articles that tackle the latest in market moving #ASX small cap news, plus exclusive content you won’t find anywhere else. It is aimed at those with an interest in investing, market education, company performance, start-ups and much more. is the only media organisation operating under the strength of a Financial Services License and is backed by leading journalists and analysts all with brands of their own.

The website aims to inform, educate and entertain with content that drills down into the heart of financial matters.

Finfeed is a leading source of investor and market information, with everything investors need to know about how to invest written in a way that anyone can understand. 

Over the years, the website has expanded beyond exclusively reporting on small caps, to profile Australia’s leading ASX listed small, mid and large caps as well as some of the country’s most successful CEOs and business leaders to find out what makes them tick.

Every day you will find fresh content covering:

Fast Facts

Over 4,000 articles published

Over 2.3 Million Page Views and counting

Over 10,000 followers on social media

Subscriber list growing by 2% monthly

Thanks for subscribing!