Pareve Paradise | The Growing Popularity of Non-Dairy Products

Until recently, the only ingredients available to enrich the taste of food and provide it with a smooth, creamy texture were butter and milk or their derivatives. However, more and more companies are “going Pareve” – using alternative ingredients that allow their products to remain non-dairy.

These alternatives provide a clear advantage to the Kosher consumer. Kosher dietary laws prohibit eating together any foods containing meat or milk. In fact, a milk product may not be cooked in the same pot in which a meat product had been cooked or consumed for several hours after eating meat. When looking for a dessert to serve after a meat meal, or a snack for the rest of the afternoon, only Pareve products will be considered.

In addition, there are many Jews who require Dairy products which meet the higher standard of Chalav Yisrael, meaning that it is watched by a religious Jew from the time of milking to the time of production.

While, nowadays, many such milk products are available, they do come at a higher cost and in lesser variety than standard Kosher products. A product which these individuals would not buy as a Dairy product would hold great appeal to them if Pareve.

Industrial ingredients also benefit greatly from being Pareve. If a company is looking to manufacture a product which is Pareve or contains meat, they will choose only ingredients certified as Pareve.

In one case, it is actually mandatory that a product be Pareve. Since bread is the staple of many meals, there is a concern that bread containing either meat or dairy might be eaten with food of the other type. Therefore, only bread which is Pareve is considered Kosher.

The ideal Kosher product, therefore, is one that is Pareve, containing neither meat nor milk ingredients. (Eggs are considered Pareve, since they do not contain meat or milk.) Aside from the Kosher market, Pareve products appeal to the growing number of vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers.

The first step in making a product Pareve is the ingredients. Nowadays, there exists a plethora of products which imitate and may even exceed the quality and effect of traditional dairy ingredients. For, example, butter can be substituted for with palm oil, milk with soy milk. Many of these substitutes can now be purchased in all-natural and organic formulations as well.

If not all products in a facility can be produced as Pareve, the company and certifying agency will need to look at possible cross-contamination. Even if the equipment is considered clean for allergen purposes, there may still be an issue from the standpoint of Kosher laws. These concerns can be addressed by segregating productions and/or by dedicating or Koshering (sterilizing) sensitive equipment between Dairy and Pareve runs. Detailed production logs need to be kept to ensure traceability.

Ask your Kosher certifier how you can join the Pareve trend, and bring your products to large growing segments of the market worldwide.

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