CHKP Foods receives kosher certification, expands consumer reach in dairy-free category

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: CHKP Foods
Source: CHKP Foods

Related tags kosher vegan Yogurt chickpea protein

Vegan yogurt brand CHKP Foods receives Kosher certification by Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher, providing added transparency and traceability for its chickpea-based dairy-free yogurt.

Made with non-GMO ingredients and devoid of dairy, nuts, soy and gluten, CHKP Foods’ chickpea-based yogurt contains five to six grams of protein and sweetened with monkfruit for the fruit flavored products, Sharon Nevins, CMO, CHKP Foods, explained to FoodNavigator-USA.

The link between vegan and kosher lies in the raw materials and the production line, where the “status of the lines have to be kosher” by paying meticulous attention to the equipment and utensils used that “will absorb the taste and flavor of the food,” explained Rabbi Mordechai Stareshefsky, rabbinic coordinator, OU Kosher, one of the largest kosher certifiers with more than 1.3m products globally.

For a dairy yogurt to be certified as kosher, the ingredients must come from a kosher animal and never mix with meat-based compounds like gelatin or rennet. Further, most kosher certifications prohibit pairing meat and dairy together.

However, CHKP Foods’ chickpea-based, dairy-free yoghurt “can be eaten with everything and therefore the line status that we have to ensure is properly kosher … is just hot water at a high temperature to purge the flavor or taste of the vessel, and they become eligible for pareve (prepared without meat or dairy ingredients),” Stareshefsky explained.

Nevins added that the additional level of examination by the OU for its yogurt also provides clarity for consumers who avoid eating dairy not only for kosher reasons, but also for ethical, sustainable, dietary and allergen reasons.

“It’s a signifier that it’s purely vegan” for consumers who “also want to know that it doesn’t contain any dairy, that it’s not made in a place that might be cross-contaminated with dairy. It’s a really sensitive thing for a lot of different reasons,” Nevins explained to FoodNavigator-USA.

Stareshefsky emphasized the advantage of kosher certification's focus on complete traceability. Unlike many ingredients whose origins were unclear during COVID, kosher ingredients can be tracked throughout the supply chain. The OU is also collaborating with other kosher certifiers to ensure transparency for all kosher ingredients.

“In kosher, everything is documented. All the ingredients of traceability and we know where it’s coming from. We’re not looking necessarily for the same traceability which typical Safe Quality Foods (SQF) would be looking for … we’re just looking in terms of the kosher, but … we are able to identify each ingredient, where it comes from, and if necessary, we could dig down into the sub ingredients as well,” Stareshefsky elaborated.

Gaining kosher and vegan visibility in Whole Foods

CHKP Foods’ yogurts are labeled as kosher and local on shelves across Whole Foods’ Northeastern stores, Nevins added. Last year, the New York-based company was selected as one of nine brands to represent the Northeast region in Whole Foods’ incubator program, Local Early Accelerator Program (LEAP), highlighting the brand’s growth in the dairy-free category.

“That was a really important distinction for us,” she said, adding that the dairy-free yoghurts are on shelves in Whole Foods signage designating the brand as local and kosher for its four flavors in blueberry, strawberry, vanilla cardamom and plain.

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