June 29, 2015

Women Owned Vegan Business Invests in Kosher Future

Queens, NY - A recent Kosher Today story revealed the growing popularity of kosher vegan in the US despite its possible conflict with tradition where “meat, fish and everything tasty” constitutes a meal. There is growing evidence that many Orthodox Jews in Israel and here have adopted a vegan lifestyle, albeit one rabbi told me that several of his congregants are 6-day a week vegans but even on Shabbat consume vegan cholent. For three women in Queens, the trend is already reaping profits from such locales as Whole Foods. They founded Taft Foodmasters in 2011, offering Vegetarian Seitan Gyro and Vegetarian Seitan Sausage and now  a full line of vegan foods that one would swear is meat but is actually vegan.  Taft Foodmasters Seasoned Seitan varieties are vegan, high in protein and have zero cholesterol.  And since they are pre-cooked, the user simply heats and eats. For kosher vegans, the products are win-win since they taste like the real thing but yet are pareve. Jessica Taft got hooked on veganism a long time ago but was not quite satisfied with what the market had to offer. Having studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute, Jessica and her team spent over a year developing the recipes for the boldly-flavored Vegetarian Seitan Gyro and Vegetarian Seitan Sausage. There is also a vegan meat-like tasting product with authentic shawarma seasoning and the sliced sausage with Italian seasoning. The products are now widely distributed and have won numerous awards including the FABI in Chicago a few weeks ago at the NRA show. Whole Foods and other major retailers are selling well and the products are also becoming increasingly popular with kosher food service. For food service, there is the possibility of making vegan pizza and shawarma, or shawarma crumbles for filling knishes.

In Israel, there are dozens of kosher vegan restaurants throughout the country as there is a growing movement to move away from meat and poultry. This past Passover, there were a number of websites that guided vegans on how to observe the Seder.