Can a simple chickpea be a “hero” ingredient? It is to CHKP Foods, a new brand that recently launched chickpea protein-based foods in the Northeast market, says Noam Sharon, company co-founder.
“We started experimenting, and we were overwhelmed because we found it really to be a unique, innovative, versatile, high-quality ingredient,” Noam says. “Then we started thinking if this ingredient is going to the market and if it’s so good and so much better than the current supply and the current offering, it’s going to play the first chair. It’s going to sit in the front seat row. Why not us?”
Noam was a corporate and securities lawyer in Israel and had no experience in the food business before he began working on the idea that would become CHKP Foods. The first several years were spent in a lab, focusing on dairy alternatives – an ideal use for chickpeas, Noam says.
Noam insists there’s a level of “playfulness” to CHKP’s strategies.
“It’s a game – it’s a game about creating food that people would love to eat,” Noam says. “I think few things are more satisfying professionally than doing that.”
Noam says he knew when the playfulness – or call it joy – was gone from his legal career, it was time to move on to something more playful. Now, with CHKP Foods, he feels like he’s in the right place again. The evolution was brought into tighter focus with the COVID pandemic.
“The ‘Big Resignation’ shouldn’t come as a big surprise because people were exposed to different kinds of thinking,” he says. “They were exposed to what it means being at home with their children, for example, or with their life partners. And it’s not surprising that so many people found new things, new content, and new meanings in this new, unexplored reality…Structures are being thoroughly shaken right now – and I don’t think it’s all for the worst.”
Part of that transition is a new emphasis on plant-based foods – a movement that benefits CHKP Foods and its mission.
“We’re creating availability,” Noam says. “We create an accessibility for this ingredient through a new and exciting and surprising segue.”
In Part 1, Noam talks about:
* Gratitude to a friend and longtime client who believed in his vision and became the brand’s first investor.
* How he came to embrace chickpeas as a hero ingredient.
* The initial R&D process at the lab to explore its use as a dairy alternative.
* Why his career path switched from law to food technology.
* How the COVID pandemic affected economic and social structures.
Join Ramon Vela and Noam Sharon as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.
For more on CHKP Foods, visit: https://chkpfoods.com/
This episode is brought to you by Yotpo.
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