December 28, 2015

Kosher Market Deals with Allergens with Creative Ideas and Ingredients

New York - Food allergies are more prevalent than ever. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies in children have increase by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. Although a recent study by Britain-based Immune Tolerance Network has shown that Israeli children who consume Bamba peanut snacks from a young age have very low rates of peanut allergies, kosher consumers in general are not exempt from this rise in food allergies. Those growing up in kosher households are no strangers to dietary restrictions; however when you add food allergies into the mix, the simple act of snacking becomes problematic.

This has created a shift in the food industry with a greater focus on creating foods that allow for allergies, but taste good at the same time. The past ten years have seen an increase in gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free products popping up in the general market, and the kosher market is no exception. However it is challenging for kosher consumers, as they are limited with the number of allergen-free kosher products available.

Enter Nancy Kalish, a former health journalist and certified health coach, who felt that those with allergies who sport a sweet tooth were still not being catered to, especially if they were abiding by kosher law as well. “I wanted to create a delicious treat for those with allergies, and it was really important to me that I reach kosher consumers who weren’t able to enjoy regular kosher treats either,” says Kalish. She began baking up a storm in her Brooklyn kitchen and over the course of a year she worked on perfecting her recipe hundreds of time. Kalish finally succeeded in creating a brownie bursting with flavor and moistness that fit all the dietary requirements she was looking for. Nancy created a decadent brownie treat, which she named Pure Genuis, fashioned from two uniquely special, secret ingredients - black beans and chickpeas. Packed with protein and fiber, using only whole-ingredients such as gluten-free oats, maple syrup, and unsweetened cocoa; and free of nuts, gluten, and soy – the bars are quite simply “Pure Genius”.

“I’m thrilled that I’m able to provide kosher families with allergen-free, healthy kosher treats. It was a lot of work to ensure we received our kosher certification from the OU, but it was definitely well worth it,” Kalish explains. “We are already partnering with one Jewish school in Brooklyn who cater to children with autism. They serve their students our brownies and they love them. It’s a healthy snack without the high calories and sugar, and it suits many of their students with allergies. It’s so gratifying!” In January, Pure Genius Blondies and Brownies will officially be launching in Whole Foods stores in the Northeast and they are hoping to get into kosher stores around the country. {Their products can be ordered online at, receive 15% when you use the discount code KOSHERTODAY.} They are “made with only good stuff, yet (possess a) deliciously naughty taste,” so now even if you have special dietary requirements you can quite simply have your cake and eat it too!