Israeli food niche brands you’re going to love

The trend in the food space is to move away from one-stop-shopping mega-stores and toward more focused specialty shopping.

May 2, 2019 08:34
4 minute read.
Israeli food niche brands you’re going to love

Rusty’s Nuts. (photo credit: Courtesy)

In Israel, the packaged food space is, like in most countries, controlled by a few giants. Here, we’re talking Osem, Strauss, and Tnuva. While most people will recognize those logos on a long list of supermarket goods, many people don’t realize that they also own many smaller brands. So, while you might think you’re supporting an artisan brand when you’re loading your cart with, say, Beanz Coffee, you’re actually just filling Strauss’s pockets. The struggle for small food upstarts to get their products into Israeli hands is a near-insurmountable challenge, but thanks to the power of social media, it’s becoming less and less so. In the same way that workouts are migrating away from the gym and into boutique fitness studios, the trend in the food space is to move away from one-stop-shopping mega-stores and toward more focused specialty shopping.

A growing number of consumers who want to support the local community and feel better about what they’re eating are opting to spend an increasing amount of their grocery budget at small food shops like Alba Health Food and Neroli, or buy directly from artisan brands online or at the Namal Farmer’s Market, where many of them set up shop. Not only are a big chunk of these brands offering healthier alternatives (think less preservatives and higher quality ingredients) than the packaged junk food lining supermarket shelves, they’re opening up shoppers’ palettes – we’re talking matcha and mushroom smoothie powders, sprouted nuts and seeds, and even halva infused almond butter and nut-based cheeses.

Here’s a look at the standout niche Israeli food brands helping the pendulum swing away from food giants.

The Nuts Chef. (Credit: Courtesy)

Rusty’s Nuts (kosher)
Most nut butters you find on supermarket shelves are loaded with preservatives and added sugars. Rusty’s Nuts not only come in uniquely delicious flavors like Maple Almond Butter, Peanut Butter with Vanilla Espresso or Cashew Pecan Butter, but they’re totally free of preservatives and fillers. The butters are sweetened with 100% organic Canadian maple or coconut sugar and made with local nuts.

Holy Cacao (Credit: Courtesy)

The Nuts Chef (kosher)
Going vegan no longer means having to give up cheese, thanks to upstarts like The Nuts Chef. The brand makes creamy and totally delicious nut-based cheeses that are filled with healthy fats including Cashew-More (Sainte-Maure-style vegan goat cheese), Cashewbert (their take on Camembert) and Cashew-Velour, a brie-style cheese.

Shoreshei Tzion (kosher)
Founded by two new olim, Shoreshei Tzion is working to make raw food mainstream. The brand makes crackers, granolas, fudge, cookies and brownie bites all using raw, soaked, and sprouted nuts and seeds – soaking and sprouting makes them more nutrient dense and easier to digest – and nothing is heated over 46º centigrade to maintain nutritional integrity. They don’t use filler ingredients like flour and white sugar; their crackers, for example, are only made with sprouted seeds and organic veggies.

Holy Cacao (kosher)
Holy Cacao focuses on making ethically sourced, vegan, gluten-free and fair-trade chocolates. They source their beans globally and like wine, their bars are merchandized as either single estate, single origin or blended series, depending on where the beans used in the bars originated from. The bars range from 60% to 100% cacao.

Karma. (Credit: Courtesy)

Karma – founded by an herbalist, yogini and naturopathy student – sells locally-produced, organic and gluten-free adaptogenic blends. Adaptogens are so-called super-herbs and super-mushrooms that help expand your body’s capacity to handle mental, physical and emotional stress. Karma’s blends are made with potent, natural, clinically studied ingredients that fall under the adaptogen umbrella, including cordyceps mushrooms, lion’s mane, maca and ashwagandha. They mix well into your morning coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, lattés and even ice cream.

Munbatim (kosher)
Munbatim makes pastries, patties, mini tortillas and burgers, all of which are veggie-based and enriched with good-for-you ingredients like buckwheat, quinoa, mung beans, lentils, millet, apple, date and figs. There are over two dozen varieties in total and they’re all gluten-free, yeast-free, preservative-free, oil and fat-free, sugarless and organic. Some are protein-rich, making them a great animal protein alternative for vegans/vegetarians.

Teva Deli. (Credit: Courtesy)

Teva Deli (kosher)
One of the originals in the meat alternative space, Teva Deli makes a growing number of plant-based products – think quinoa burger, veggie patties and seitan sausages – that can be used in sandwiches, salads, stews, casseroles and on the grill. They also make ready-to-serve dishes like veggie gyros, seitan schnitzel and veggie stir-frys.

Nutrazen (kosher)
This fast-growing organic brand makes a long list of better-for-you everyday products, including pasta sauces, crackers, cereals, condiments (like organic vegan mayo), sweeteners (like organic silan and organic coconut sugar), muesli, oatmeal and more. They also have a number of gluten-free products.

Munbatim. (Credit: Courtesy)

Ilo Natural Ice Cream (kosher)
It might not be low in calories or carbs, but Ilo’s vegan ice cream – which is based on coconut milk and agave syrup – is considerably more waist-friendly than your run-of-the-mill Ben & Jerry’s. Plus, it’s available in a number of refreshing and palette-pleasing flavors like Lemon Pie, Carmel with Roasted Pecans, and Cappuccino with Dark Chocolate.

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