Branch’s endeavours in the industry have led to recognition by Forbes as one of the region’s top young entrepreneurs in its 30 under 30 Asia 2019 listing.
The hemp industry is a relatively young one in the Asia Pacific region, especially when it comes to its use in food and beverage applications. Even in Oceania where the hemp industry is arguably the most advanced in the region, the use of hemp as a food was first approved by the authorities in Australia in 2017, and in New Zealand in 2018.
Hedging all bets on specializing in such a novel industry, and starting two brand-new companies at that, would seem like a huge risk for most – but the potential and opportunities were what drew Branch to it.
“What was really exciting for us was that it was such a blue ocean, with so much space for new brands to emerge and to really make a mark in something which is hopefully going to become a very growing food trend,” she told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“We love hemp basically because it’s something which is incredibly powerful not only as a health food, but it is also something which can really make an impact and help to change the world. It is the only plant in the world that can feed you, house you, clothe you and heal you. We’re really glad that the hemp renaissance is here, and we get to be part of it.”
Branch’s two hemp-based companies focus on different applications: Soul Seed is all about snacks and foods made from the plant, whereas Hemple focuses on wellness and healing applications from hemp or CBD.
“Women can get a lot of benefit from hemp and CBD, and about 75% of our Hemple customers are women – for me personally, I am very keen to do more events to bring women together to talk about hemp and cannabis, and how this can contribute to their lives,” she said.
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