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Kosher is only one slice of Wholly Wholesome’s pie, says CEO

By Kacey Culliney+

08-Jan-2014
Last updated on 08-Jan-2014 at 12:14 GMT

Wholly Wholesome plans to promote its Yoshon certification and expand into the UK in 2014
Wholly Wholesome plans to promote its Yoshon certification and expand into the UK in 2014

Opportunities in kosher bakery alone are fairly limited, but alongside gluten-free, vegan and organic it’s valuable, says Wholly Wholesome CEO.

The US natural and organic bakery specialist has a range of kosher pie shells that it has now certified Yoshon – a niche kosher certification that requires grains to be old, or aged. Five grains - wheat, oat, spelt, rye and barley - must not be consumed ‘young’ and so winter crops are consumed because they are planted in the fall, lay dormant in winter and are harvested in the summer. The concept of adhering to Yoshon derives from ancient Jewish texts. 

Wholly Wholesome CEO Doon Wintz said Yoshen is perhaps not widely known, but a great addition to the other product attributes of the pie shell line.

“Yoshon is well known in the ultra-observant Jewish population and kosher population. In the US, that means a small pocket in New York and a small pocket in California,” Wintz told BakeryandSnacks.com.

“Kosher is niche itself, but Yoshon is a niche within a niche… Is it going to balloon our sales? No, it’s not. But why hide our light under a bushel? We are going to have Yoshon on our label and promote it with more targeted intent to those consumers.”

Strategic? No, we just stumbled across Yoshon

Asked if the move to become Yoshon-certified had been strategic, Wintz said: “Frankly, I didn’t even realize our product was Yoshon… It just so happens we’ve been doing it that way because the quality is better.”

The CEO said it was expansion into Israel two months ago that flagged up that the pie shells met the standard. “I wish we could say we were that smart and strategic.”

Compelling with other product attributes

Kosher opportunities in bakery alone are interesting but not game-changing, he said.

“The thing about Kosher, is that if you look at the opportunities on its own, it’s not that compelling. But what makes it important, is that we have a product that meets needs other than that niche market.”

The pie shells are promoted as natural and organic and certified gluten-free and vegan in addition to being kosher. Although the gluten-free variants are not yet certified Yoshon, Wintz said.

Expansion into the UK

Wholly Wholesome is looking to expand into the UK this year and is currently working on setting up meetings with third-party distributors.

“It’s an evolution for us. But certainly when you look across the pond, you look at where you can be effective, efficient and successful and in the UK – because of the foodie market, the natural and organic sector growing and the kosher market – it just happens to hit on a number of positives.”

The company is currently present in the US, Canada, Mexico and Israel and also imports waffles from Belgium.

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