Vegan White Cheddar Hippeas

overall Rating:

2.5

planets

Madeleine Watson
2/10/2021
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This snack brand is truly an inspiration and is an ideal template for the food industry. The marketing, core beliefs, and health and sustainability focuses are proof that sustainable and tasty products can thrive. I personally will continue to buy this product and I recommend to the consumer that if they can afford to, they should try out this wonderful snacking alternative. I also ask the consumer to raise their voice in helping to lower the price so those with lower incomes can take advantage of this product as well. I recommend to the company that they increase transparency on the production and distribution process of their product, but also that they continue to hold true to their message. I also hope that they can work on sustainable packaging and use it as a marketing tool. I am impressed by the ideals behind the company and this product. I love that I can enjoy and feel good about consuming this sustainable and healthy vegan cheese snack!

what it's made of:

2.5

Hippeas are a snack that are made mostly out of chickpeas. The vegan white cheddar is a chickpea puff. In addition to being vegan, they don’t contain nuts or soy and are verified kosher and gluten-free. Ingredients are cited as “ organic chickpea flour, organic rice flour, organic sunflower oil, organic tapioca starch, organic seasoning [degermed corn flour, salt, sugar, onion powder, citric acid, garlic powder, lactic acid, canola oil, natural flavor], organic pea hull fiber.” Canola oil is slightly concerning because the process in which it is made is not transparent. If it is made using the solvent extraction method which uses the chemical hexane, it creates artificial trans fat which can be harmful to health. The lack of transparency on ingredient sourcing and processing is the main reason why the planet rating is not a 3/3.
The base of chickpeas is great for health reasons. This plant based legume is packed with protein as the hippeas puffs have 3 grams of protein and fiber in just a 1 ounce serving. Chickpeas are also inherently good for the environment and “release nitrogen back into the soil so as far as farming goes, growing this legume gives back to the Earth.” Additionally, the vegan cheese aspect gives consumers the option to enjoy the cheesy taste while not consuming any animal products and simultaneously having a lower impact on the environment. I absolutely love the taste and light crunch that this snack offers and feel great about what I’m snacking on as well.

how it's made:

0.5

The product is co-packaged in the U.S. and Ireland and requires special extrusion equipment to achieve the desired crunch. The bag I bought was produced in the U.S. where I live so this likely indicates a smaller carbon footprint compared to products produced outside of the country. The details on this process and the environmental impact are somewhat unclear. Additionally, it seems unclear how the workers are treated and if they are receiving equitable pay. Because of the lack of information on this section, I felt like I had to rate the product relatively low in sustainability. It could be immediately improved by adding some details on who farms the chickpeas for Hippeas and their pay/benefits. Additionally, more information on the environmental impact of making the chickpea into a puff would be prove a deeper transparency and increase the reliability of the product and brand.
The chickpea puffs are packaged in what I assume are plastic bags. The material isn’t mentioned on the bag or the website and there are no marks of recyclability. I think the product has great room to improve in this sense. Simply using recycled materials for their bags and clearly marking and making sure that the bag can be recycled would go a long way. Additionally, the company should look into using plant plastics (mushroom/seaweed) for their bags. Maybe chickpeas could even be utilized in some way.

who makes it:

2.7

The Hippeas brand makes this chickpea puff. Multiple sources say that “HIPPEAS has partnered with Farm Africa. HIPPEAS will be giving a portion of sales to support farmers in eastern Africa grow themselves out of poverty and build more prosperous lives.” It is clear to me that Hippeas is dedicated to creating and maintaining their sustainable product while also giving back to the community. They designed their products to appeal to those who care about health and sustainability, and to my understanding, they have fully succeeded. However, a 1.5oz - 12 pack costs $19.99 which is significantly more expensive than other snacks. While it is likely healthier and more sustainable, the price may be excluding those who cannot afford the larger price. I feel as though I am paying for sustainability when I buy this product, and while I can currently afford to, I hope that the price will eventually fall so they can open up to a larger consumer level who might be interested in health and sustainability but just cannot afford it.