Hemp is seeing strong menu growth as a versatile ingredient that most commonly appears in the form of a plant-based dairy replacement for milk or as the source of that milk, hemp seeds.
Those seeds are also an increasingly common ingredient in granola and other crunchy foods that are used to add texture to salads and bowls.
Hemp seeds are known for being nutrient powerhouses, rich in healthy fats including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which makes them attractive to vegan or vegetarian consumers.
While there has been some consumer confusion between hemp and cannabis, hemp seeds and other products derived from them are harvested from plants that have an insignificant amount of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Nonetheless, hemp’s association with marijuana in the minds of consumers might add to its appeal.
Market research firm Datassential reports that 67% of the population knows about hemp but only 24% have tried it, with awareness highest among Gen Z.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using hemp on its menu.