Hemp seed oil is now on sale across Australia through Woolworths thereby completing food agribusiness ECS Botanics’ (ASX: ECS) deal signed through its distribution partner Just Foods Australia in November last year.
Furthermore, ECS confirmed that its hemp soups will be dispatched to Woolworths’ national distribution centre by the end of this week following the deal announced in January this year.
ECS expects to sell two varieties of its hemp-infused soups through Woolworth’s and will gauge how the products are received on a national scale.
The company’s Mexican spiced bean and Indian masala lentil soups both contain hemp – a strain of the cannabis sativa plant species that comprises an array of positive health and nutritional benefits.
With ECS’ hemp seed oil already available on Woolworths’ shelves, the agribusiness declared that first cash receipts from Just Foods are expected “during the current quarter”.
With Just Foods handling distribution, ECS Botanics cultivates, grows and processes hemp for the wholesale market and its own retail food brand. Despite ECS admitting it is seeking to expand internationally, it is in Australia where its products are expected to pick up strong demand.
Australian consumers are gradually being won over by hemp and its sibling – cannabis – with medicinal and industrial uses for both plants being decriminalised in recent years.
First order of hemp
According to ECS, the initial order placed by Just Foods for national distribution into Woolworths is valued at approximately $120,000 although the product’s popularity and customer sales are yet to be determined on a national scale.
In preparation for rolling orders and hopeful of becoming an instant hit, ECS said it is already preparing for the next manufacturing runs of oil and soups from Woolworths.
Woolworth’s shoppers could also see additional flavours made available in the near future after ECS revealed that it is working closely with its manufacturing partner Flavour Makers to expand its range of soups, with “several new flavours under development”.
As a company, Flavour Makers employs offers what it calls a “complete end-to-end food development and manufacturing solution”, that provides private label products for major local and global retailers such as Woolworths, Coles and Walmart.
Flavour Makers is at the cutting edge of food innovation, with a team that ranges from Michelin Star rated chefs to food technologists.
“Our hemp soups are a unique on-shelf product in the fastmoving consumer goods category, and as we move closer to winter, we are expecting a good trajectory on sales,” said Alex Keach, managing director of ECS.
This morning’s news pushed ECS shares up by more than 6% up to $0.034.