WFCF Storybit : Chickapea

With the holidays quickly approaching, we’ve been thinking about all of our favorite foods.  Some of which may not be the healthiest (we’re looking at you, pasta!), but during the holidays, those rules don’t seem to apply.  When thinking of comfort foods, you don’t think about the health benefits, or lack thereof.  Instead, you likely have a sentimental feeling or nostalgic memory that resonates with you.  So, what’s the meal that gives you a little taste of home?  Pasta is one that definitely falls under that category for us.  This week we are sharing the story of Chickapea, a pasta company that provides a healthy spin on pasta, something you can feel good about eating!  There is no reason to sacrifice convenience or taste for your health and Chickapea Pasta is helping lead that charge. Let’s learn more about their vertified pasta’s that are delicious and health with every bite.

The Chickapea Story

Shelby Taylor was born and raised in Collingwood, a small town in Ontario, and it is also where she started her journey to create healthy meals everyone could enjoy. During college, Shelby studied journalism and worked as a magazine editor.  She would review stories across all topics, but she found herself drawn to articles about food.  These were not your typical food articles about the latest burger shack opening up but instead these articles talked about how food was produced and the environmental impacts.

Fueled by her newfound interest, Shelby began actively studying nutrition. However, she quickly realized this passion for healthy food was more than just a fleeting hobby. After leaving her corporate job, Shelby got married and purchased a local health-food store.  Shortly after purchasing the store Shelby found out she was pregnant with her first child. Needless to say, she had a “full plate” and wasn’t planning on slowing down.

While this new chapter felt more aligned with her deeper purpose, Shelby couldn’t turn off her entrepreneurial brain.  She began noticing that many of her store’s customers were struggling to find nutritious meal options that were convenient and family friendly. A journalist by trade, Shelby began interviewing her customers and discovered pasta was a natural go-to for parents who wanted to make a fast, crowd-pleasing dish for the whole family. So, what was the problem? It was also accompanied by feelings of guilt since pasta is traditionally low in nutritional value and full of empty carbs. Shelby thought, why couldn’t pasta be good for you and delicious?  Something the whole family could feel good about.

Driven by this idea, Shelby and her mom began experimenting in a local commercial kitchen to develop a prototype of what would eventually become Chickapea. To fund this innovation, Shelby turned to Kickstarter and exceeded her $25,000 goal. The company officially launched in 2016 with a leading organic specialty food distributor, Neal Brothers Foods. Less than a year later, Chickapea expanded into the U.S.

In 2019, the line now includes five pasta shapes made from only chickpeas and lentils (spirals, penne, shells, spaghetti, and linguine) and another healthy version of a family favorite, Vegan Mac, with macaroni elbows and a savory sweet potato and pumpkin sauce.

Chickapea’s mission is to create good for the world through nutritious, organic meal options and impactful social contributions. Inspired by her two little sons who “remind her every day what is truly important in life,” Shelby believes it’s Chickapea’s duty to set a positive example for her community and the world.

Verification Programs

Where Food Comes From is the Technical Administrator for Chickapea’s Non-GMO Project Certification. When Shelby and team first looked into the Non-GMO project there was only a small handful participating and now that program has grown extensively.  Chickapea is also proud to be a Certified Women Owned Business!  Today, their products can be found on the shelves of more than 3500 stores across North America.

Why is verification important to Chickapea?

Verification programs and certifications show consumers that they can trust Chickapea to meet their values and dietary needs.  Consumers—especially Millennials and Gen Z—are paying closer attention to where their food comes from and the impact it has on their health and the planet, and rightfully so. They expect transparency and increasingly choose to align themselves with mission-driven brands. In an era of conscious consumers, verification programs allow brands to give the transparency expected of them, confirm that they practice what they preach, and set themselves apart from their competitors. Seeing these trusted verification logos on our products gives our consumers the peace of mind that the food they’re purchasing meets their health and dietary requirements and aligns with their values. 

Learn more about Chickapea!

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