Avocado Oil and 'Chia Bites' by Chosen Foods get REAL certification

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Photo via ChosenFoods.com
Photo via ChosenFoods.com
Modeled after the coveted architectural LEED certification, being REAL certified tells buyers that manufacturers have gone “above and beyond” to produce a responsible, healthy product.

There’s a lot of thunder around the mayonnaise category, especially when it comes to what can and cannot be called mayonnaise​.

Chosen Foods’ Avocado Oil Mayo​ should pass the federal standard of what mayonnaise is—there’s egg in it. Furthermore, its website also boasts that “our eggs come from happy, cage free nest-fresh chickens.”​ It also uses avocado oil, the product label’s badge of honor, instead of the typical soy, corn, or canola oil used by most conventional mayonnaise brands.

“Our avocado oil mayo is high in Omega 9, the heart healthy (cardio protective) fat that is also found in olives and olive oil,”​ the website claims. The mayonnaise is only one example of a wide range of products by Chosen Foods, which includes avocado oil and Chia Bites, a chia seed snack. These latter two products have won the favor of non-profit group United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC), who awarded these products with its “REAL certification,” which stands for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership.

Still nascent as a packaged food certification

“While REAL Certified is emerging as the industry standard for nutrition and sustainability in foodservice, it is still pretty nascent as a packaged good certification,”​ Lawrence Williams, chariman and CEO of USHFC, told FoodNavigator-USA. “That said, the number of inbound requests from companies is definitely increasing, especially as they realize how fast the foodservice market is growing.” 

Chosen Foods' Chia Bite snacks come in three flavors: vanilla, mango, and cranberry.

Based in Washington D.C., the non-profit envisions “an America free from the diet-related diseases that cut short or debilitate too many precious lives before they have reached their full potential,”​ its website said.

The organization focused more on the food service industry, but according to Williams, USHFC recently started working with companies with brand portfolios that are consistent with the USHFC’s mission.

Transparency is key

In the case of Chosen Foods, its products were analyzed by USHFC’s registered dietitian based on a selection of criteria: how much nutritional benefit the food provides, how food preparation enhances food quality and experience, whether or not the food comes from the safest and highest quality sources, and analysis of the use of marketing phrases and factual product phrases to aid consumer’s choice.

“Individual product scores are subject to confidentiality agreements, but suffice to say that both products scored sufficiently well in all categories,”​ Williams added. “In terms of ‘going above and beyond,’ Chosen Foods has made available a significant amount of third-party testing, clearly exhibiting their leadership in the area of transparency.”

Correction: ​an earlier version of this story said that the Avocado Oil Mayonnaise is also REAL certified. USHFC confirmed that it hasn't been analyzed.

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