Mark Reinders: HempFlax has a full 'seed to stamp' approach, by way of a vertically integrated supply chain. In the Netherlands and Germany, this takes the form of our contracting local farmers to grow hemp, whereas in Romania we run our own 800ha farming operation. In both cases, we conduct the harvest ourselves, with harvesting equipment designed and operated by HempFlax.
The vision is that the quality of the final product starts in the field, not in the factory. This approach also enables us to guarantee full traceability, which is very important, especially for nutraceutical products.
Another aspect that makes the company unique is the full use of the crop. This approach is in full compliance with EU policies advocating a 'circular' economy, and thereby contributes to a more sustainable world.
HempFlax serves many different sectors as a consequence of its multiple uses of the hemp plant. The strongest growth in recent years has been in hemp food, and supplements based on cannabidiol (CBD).
Consumers are discovering more about the health benefits of these products. A few years ago, you could only buy hemp health products in specialised shops or online, but now they can be found in most major retail chains in the Netherlands.
All HempFlax products are produced under the quality system secured by ISO 9001. A certificate we are really proud of is the ISCC Plus certification of our feedstock.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company will be audited for the ICCI science GMP cultivation and manufacturing certificate. This guarantees that our feedstock is produced in a sustainable way without resorting to the use of either pesticides or deforestation. HempFlax will be the first company to receive this highly appreciated certification for hemp feedstock.
Although sustainability is embedded in the DNA of the company, it is not its most important unique selling point. HempFlax strives to bring products to market that can outperform other non-sustainable products; their inherent sustainability will be an additional, positive bonus.
A nice example of this is the use of hempfibres in the door panels of the Bugatti Veyron. The fibres are not being used to make a 1,000hp car look more sustainable; rather, using hemp achieves a weight reduction of 30% compared with glass or carbon fibre.
HempFlax has recently introduced several CBD-based products, including an acid-resistant capsule. This releases CBD in the intestines - rather than in the stomach - resulting in maximum bioavailability for the body.
Another great product is a food supplement based on a mix of hempseed and coconut oils, and whole-plant-based hemp extract. This has a great taste and combines the great health benefits of hemp and coconut. We will see further development of sophisticated CBD offerings; the tincture drops that we are mostly known for at the moment are considered to be among the first generation of such products.