Gluten-free foods are all the rage.

What was once the plight of celiac patients has become the latest health fad and a $5 billion annual industry. Companies like General Mills and others have taken advantage of the 200 percent higher prices people are willing to pay for the illusion of health and have released lots of new products.

It was only a matter of time before gluten-free functional foods rode that wave. The food processing industry has lots of left-over garbage and those antioxidants, phenols, fibers and proteins are all functional ingredients, which means they can be sold for profit and even claim it helps with global sustainability.

And you have a certain political and cultural sensitivity that embraces hemp, gluten-free food is about to get its Perfect Storm; food scientists from University of Novi Sad in Serbia and Guelph Food Research Centre in Canada have found that hemp flour, a by-product of cold-pressed hemp oil, in combination with decaffeinated green tea leaves could be used to develop a gluten-free snack cracker with functional properties.  

Organic crackers? That's so 2011. If you want to capture market share in Portland in 2014, you need to be gluten-free and made from hemp and decaffainted green tea leaves. Credit and link:

Hemp flour, as a by-product of cold-pressing oil process, is rich in proteins, fibers, phytochemicals, minerals, omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, and therefore a very valuable ingredient to use for food production. In terms of amino acid composition, hempseed proteins are comparable to the egg white and soy protein. Green tea leaves contain compounds that have been shown to have health benefits including cancer prevention of many types as well as decreasing LDL cholesterol levels.

The findings of this study, where hemp flour and decaffeinated green tea leaves were incorporated into crackers, suggest that consumers may benefit from consuming these gluten-free crackers with superior nutritional qualities in terms of high protein, crude fibers, minerals and essential fatty acids content and antioxidant properties.

 Citation: Olga Radočaj, Etelka Dimić and Rong Tsao. 'Effects of Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Oil Press-Cake and Decaffeinated Green Tea Leaves (Camellia sinensis) on Functional Characteristics of Gluten-Free Crackers', Journal of Food Science Volume 79, Issue 3, pages C318–C325, March 2014 DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.12370