Frequently Asked Questions
TOFUTTI® is a cholesterol-free, lactose-free non-dairy frozen dessert, imitation cream cheese, sour cream and slices made from tofu, a soybean base.
TOFUTTI® tastes like traditional ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream and cheese slices.
First, let’s discuss why you need a soy-based, non-dairy food product. Here are some of the more important reasons:
Soy-based, non-dairy foods appeal to a large consumer audience. Approximately 20% of the Canadian population has a lactose intolerance. Lactose is a milk sugar contained in most dairy products. Lactose tends to increase with age, affecting the fastest growing segment of our society.
Heart and stroke problems are the number one reason for premature death in Canada. Diet is considered one of the major contributors to this problem. Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol, a major diet concern. Unsaturated fats tend to decrease blood cholesterol. TOFUTTI® has basically unsaturated fats and no cholesterol. Doctors check cholesterol levels on a regular basis because of the above concerns.
- TOFUTTI® is 100% non-dairy, meeting most vegetarian and special religious dietary law needs.
- All TOFUTTI® products contain soy protein
- TOFUTTI® is Kosher Parve.
- TOFUTTI® is an excellent tasting, premium, one-of-a kind, healthy alternative product.
- TOFUTTI® is the #1 soy-based, dairy free, frozen dessert sold in either health food stores or mass markets.
- The TOFUTTI® production quality control insures excellence from the first package to the last.
- Product durability, shelf space in the market place is maintained due to demand.
- Company stability, twenty-four years in business, the longest in the product category.
- Brand name recognition. TOFUTTI® is generic for all non-dairy frozen dessert products, just like IBM for computers and Xerox for copiers.
Today there is an increasing amount of information being revealed about the health benefits of soy and soy foods. Soy protein is known to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the rates of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer – breast, colon and prostate – and fewer menopausal symptoms. Several components of soybeans, including protein, fiber, calcium, essential fatty acids, and isoflavones, offer the potential to promote health and prevent diseases. Genistein, an isoflavone found in high concentrations in soy foods, is thought to play a key role in many of the potential health benefits. The daily recommending dose of isoflavones (the active ingredient in soy) is 40 milligrams. This equals ¾ cup tofu or 1½ cups of soy milk.
Kosher is a Hebrew term that refers to food that has been prepared in accordance with Jewish Dietary Law. The term itself means “proper”. Kosher Law stems from the Biblical concept that food has both a spiritual as well as physical relevance. These laws are complex and kosher food requires the supervision of a competent Rabbi. Contrary to common misconception, a “Rabbi’s Blessings” is not the Koshering Process. In order for any food to be certified Kosher, it must meet the requirements of Jewish Law, which can vary widely depending upon the nature of the product. The five requirements of Kashruth (the noun of Kosher) are the following:
- All pork products are inherently unable to be Kosher. The law also forbids consumption of birds of prey (e.g. owls, vultures, and eagles). Seafood that does not have fins and scales (e.g. shrimp, crabs, and oysters) are also not permitted. The use of various by-products of non-Kosher animals is also forbidden.
- Acceptable animals include the flesh of all quadrupeds with cloven (split) hooves (ie: cattle, sheep, and goats). Barnyard fowl and scaly fish with fins are permissible.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits in the natural state are inherently Kosher, unless insect infested.
- The acceptable animals must be slaughtered and prepared according to certain regulations. If this is not followed, the entire food is non-Kosher.
- No dairy or meat products may be mixed or consumed at the same time. Separate cooking utensils and equipment must be used for these products. The above list is only a guide to the general requirements of the laws of Kashruth. Many other regulations exist.
- Parve products can be mixed with either meat or dairy. Contrary to popular belief, Parve does not always mean vegan.
- Non-Kosher – All ruminant animals and those that do not have split hooves, all animals that have not been slaughtered, soaked, salted, and inspected according to Jewish Law, all shell fish, all insects, all grape juice products that have not been supervised by a Rabbi, all hard cheese products that have not been supervised by a Rabbi, all mixtures of meat and dairy ingredients and their derivatives, and all mixtures of meat and fish.
Non-Kosher through processing – This may apply to food and ingredients whose manufacture or processing includes a heat step (above 115° F), e.g. spray-dried products, reacted flavors, production of fatty acids, canned foods, etc. If the equipment has been previously used for non-Kosher products, it renders any Kosher product non-Kosher. The product is viewed as absorbing the non-Kosher material from the walls of the equipment. However, if this equipment undergoes a special cleaning process called “Kosherization” under the supervision of a Rabbi, it can be used for Kosher products. Consequently, ingredients that by their nature do not require supervision, such as petroleum derived and inorganic chemicals, require investigation of their process history.
- Equipment – Equipment used to prepare non-Kosher products may be rendered non-Kosher. Kosher food prepared on this equipment may become non-Kosher. For example, vegetable oil is inherently Kosher, but may be non-Kosher if it is run on equipment used for animal tallow as well.
Kosher Supervision – Kosher supervision is the observation of the entire production process by a qualified Rabbi to guarantee that the food is produced in accordance with Jewish Law. Thus, Kosher supervision focuses on two areas:
- The supervisory agency must approve as Kosher all ingredients used in the product.
- The supervisory agency must approve the equipment used for the food production.
- In order to ascertain that the guidelines set by the kosher agency are implemented, a rabbinical supervisor visits the plant regularly to inspect the ingredients and equipment for kosher production. The frequency with which the kosher supervision agency inspects the food production process is in part responsible for how much credibility the agency has with other kosher certifying agencies as well as to the consumer who purchases the products. Just because a food is certified Kosher is no guarantee the food will be accepted by all customers following the Jewish Dietary Laws. The same applies to ingredients. It is up to the certifying agency as to which kosher agencies they will accept ingredients from.
TOFUTTI® products are not kosher for Passover due to the fact that they all contain soy. For most observant Jews, soy is a grain that is not considered kosher for Passover. Most, if not all kosher supervision services, will never certify a soy product kosher for Passover. Even for those Jews that do permit the use of soy during Passover, all the remaining ingredients will still have to be kosher for Passover, which ours are not.
All of our products are certified Kosher Parve, which means that none of our products ever contain any dairy whatsoever. This means no milk by-products either, such as casein, whey, or skim milk powder. In order to make certain that there is no dairy in a product, always look for a Kosher Parve symbol. That symbol certifies that the product is completely dairy/casein free.
Although we would wish it otherwise, the overall demand for totally dairy free products is not large enough to justify setting up complete production lines for dairy free products only. Most plants we use for manufacturing our products mainly produce dairy items. This is true for all companies who sell dairy free products, no matter who they are. In addition to the normal plant sterilization, cleaning, and testing procedures, we employ a kosher supervisory service, the Kof-K, to supervise the manufacturing of our products to ensure that they are completely dairy-free every time. The methodology and techniques they use to clean the equipment and supervise the production is the process called kosherization. Kosher Parve means that there are no milk (or meat) derivatives in our products. It also means that the equipment used to produce TOFUTTI® is either dedicated to non-dairy products or has gone through the rigorous sanitation and cleaning requirements of kosherization. In the typical plant, the equipment is washed and sanitized with a caustic rinse and an acid rinse. The caustic rinse is done with water at boiling temperature (212 degrees Fahrenheit). This is followed by a boil-out with pure water. There are several other components to the sanitation, but they are not listed as they do not affect the kosher status. A rabbinical supervisor is present to independently verify that these procedures are being adhered to and to review logbooks and digital records to verify that the procedures are followed.
If you feel that the preceding information raises your concerns about the safety of our products regarding dairy contamination, please do not use our products. Safety of our consumers is always our number one priority. For further information about kosher, please refer to our previous discussion on the subject.
The lactic acid we use is of vegetable origin, not dairy. It is produced from microbial fermentation of certain vegetables and other ingredients. It simply simulates the functionality of regular lactic acid. We always use “veg” or “vegetable” before the words lactic acid to let consumers know that is where the ingredient comes from.
No, not all of our products are totally vegan. Although all of our frozen dessert and cheese (except smoked salmon Better Than Cream Cheese) products are completely vegan.
No, never. Our products could not be Kosher Parve if we did.
The mono and diglycerides we use comes from vegetables, never from animals. Mono and diglycerides are used as a carrier in some of the ingredients that we use in our products. This is true of virtually all other similar products that use gums and stabilizers as we do. The amount in the finished product is miniscule and we never directly add any into our product.
None of our non-dairy frozen desserts or cheese products contain eggs or egg whites.
All lecithin used in our products is derived from soy. We could not be Kosher Parve if it came from animals. If you see a Kosher Parve symbol, the lecithin used in the product will always be from a vegetable, typically soy. If you do not see that symbol, it is always wise to ask, just to be sure.
Regarding gluten, some of our products are obviously not gluten free, such as our Cutie ice cream sandwiches, Chocolate Cookies Crunch pint. Even though we do not add any gluten directly in our mixes, we usually do not certify any of our products as being gluten free because of the manner in which some of the flavors we use may be processed. Vanilla, in particular, is typically distilled with grain alcohol. Although it is cooked off during the distillation process, it could still leave some trace amounts of gluten. Since this information is proprietary to the flavor manufacturer, and ordinarily we only require the ingredient be totally dairy free (Kosher Parve), we have no way of knowing for sure. What reaction an individual might have depends on the severity of his/her condition. Our Better Than Cream Cheese and Sour Supreme also have no gluten added, although, once again, alcohol could be used in the manufacture of the flavors. Our Veggie Soy-Cheese slices use distilled vinegar, which may contain traces of gluten. Although distilled vinegar is derived from grain, it is not certain if the vinegar contains gluten. This is a subject of great debate in the celiac and autistic communities, but even many conservative celiacs or parents of autistic children believe it is probably okay since most food chemists consulted by them believe that the distillation process should eliminate traces of gluten. We are just relating to you the opinion of outside consultants, not TOFUTTI® Brands. Only one celiac association still believes there is gluten in grain alcohol or distilled vinegar. The other two major celiac organizations, as well as all the chemists and doctors who are known as celiac experts, now insist there is no gluten in distilled products of any kind, unless it is added later. According to these experts, the only vinegar to avoid is malt vinegar. TOFUTTI® receives approximately ten inquiries a week about gluten. In most cases, those individuals are not concerned about the flavor distilled with grain alcohol issue since at worst it would be only trace amounts of gluten and their particular condition permits them to use the product, since they are more severely dairy intolerant. The majority of these inquiries involve children who are autistic. It has been recently discovered that in addition to not being able to have dairy products, autistic children cannot have gluten either. However, the ultimate decision to use our products rests with you, the consumer. If you are not comfortable with the preceding information, please do not use our products.
Given the enormous difficulty we have in ensuring that all of our products are completely dairy free 100% of the time, the logistics in also ensuring that they would be gluten free is probably overwhelming. An additional problem is that unlike dairy free, where you can rely on an independent, outside verification service (kosher supervision), there basically is no such service for gluten. To accommodate our lactose intolerant customers who also cannot have gluten, we have introduced two no gluten added stick novelties, a fudge bar called Totally Fudge and a chocolate coated vanilla bar called Marry Me. Additionally, these products are made with organic sugar as a sweetener. These products are already available in most health food stores and select supermarkets around the country.
The maltodextrin we use comes from corn. It is not from wheat.
We have contacted a number of suppliers of alternative ingredients, but so far none of the alternative ingredients they have supplied has been successful in producing a satisfactory ice cream wafer. We will keep on trying since a number of our dairy intolerant consumers are also wheat or gluten intolerant. Over the years we have been successful in switching over to unbleached wheat, removing the partially hydrogenated fat, and coming out with a vanilla and a chocolate no sugar added wafer, so please be patient and give us a little bit more time. We shall certainly give it our best effort.
It comes from corn.
Unfortunately, when people create ingredients and food products the names they give them sometimes does not reflect what they really are. Cocoa butter refers to the fat from the cocoa bean. The word butter in this case has nothing to do with dairy.
Once again, as with cocoa butter, you have a similar situation with chocolate liquor, which is nothing more than the combination of cocoa butter and cocoa powder. There is no alcohol in chocolate liquor.
Yes, neither has any dairy in them.
Carrageenan is the name given to a family of linear sulfated food grade polysaccharides obtained from the red seaweeds. They have the unique ability to form an almost infinite variety of gels at room temperature, rigid or compliant, tough or tender with high or low melting point. The gelation requires no refrigeration and the gels can be made stable through repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Carrageenan solutions will thicken, suspend, and stabilize particulates as well as colloidal dispersions and water/oil emulsions. The solutions shear thin (providing ease of pumping), but quickly rebuild viscosity and suspending power on standing. The carrageenan family has three main branches named kappa, iota, and lambda, which are well differentiated in terms of their gelling properties and protein reactivity. Kappa carrageenans produce strong rigid gels while those made with iota products are flaccid and compliant. Although lambda carrageenans do not gel in water, they interact strongly with proteins to stabilize a wide range of dairy and non-dairy products. All of the above have you confused? Let’s keep it simple. In our products, carrageenan is used because of its dairy equivalent functionality.
None of our mixes contain hydrogenated fat. Even the Cutie wafer is made without partially hydrogenated fat.
Please keep in mind that all of our cheese products contain no dairy whatsoever – no butterfat, skim milk powder, or casein. To get a non-dairy cheese product to taste like the “real thing” without the partially hydrogenated fat is extremely difficult. Although we were completely successful in removing the partially hydrogenated fat from our frozen dessert products, we have been unable as of yet to do so with our cheese products, without sacrificing the taste and quality that consumers have come to expect from our products. Unfortunately, without the fat, the product quality would not be anywhere near what it is now and most people would not buy the product because of the taste and consistency. We are primarily in the business of providing dairy free products for those people whom, for whatever reason, cannot have dairy. If we can accommodate other health concerns without sacrificing taste and quality, we will do so. Please keep in mind that all of our regular cheese products have one-third less calories and fat than their dairy counterparts and are without animal fat. We will of course continue our efforts to find a suitable alternative to the partially hydrogenated fat in our cheese products. With persistence and patience, we will be as successful in this effort as we were in removing it from our frozen dessert products.
No TOFUTTI® does not use any sugar that has been processed using animal bone char.
No sugar added products are actually what you used to call sugar free products. A number of years ago, the FDA came out with a rule that said even if you use an artificial sweetener, it was still technically “sugar” because of the sugar alcohols and therefore you could not say sugar free; rather, you did not directly add sugar, hence no sugar added (NSA). Originally, all of these products were specifically designed for diabetics and others who could not have sugar. More recently, their popularity has risen because of low carb dieting. If you see similar products out there that say sugar free, technically they are in error. This is especially true if they have dairy, since dairy has lactose which is milk sugar. That is another reason why the government came out with the new rules.
While TOFUTTI® products are always dairy free, we always try to take into account other health concerns that consumers might have. One such concern is the consumption of sugar, or any sugar type product. By some estimates, many millions of people in this country with a sugar problem, such as diabetes or hyperglycemia, for whom the consumption of sugar in any form, even natural, could be harmful if not fatal. While for some people in the health food community the use of artificial sweeteners is not politically correct, for those with a sugar problem it is an absolute necessity. The reason we came out with no sugar added products that use NutraSweet is to accommodate their needs. More recently, the popularity of the Atkins or low carb diet has pushed the usage of NutraSweet even higher.
All of our products use non-GMO soy protein. In addition, if available, we use other non-GMO ingredients, such as our tofu powder and maltodextrin.
Prior to running our products each day, the equipment is specially cleaned under the supervision of a Rabbi to ensure that there is no possibility of dairy contamination. This special cleaning will also take care of any other type of contamination. Our products are made in an ice cream plant where other peanut products are present. We therefore cannot guarantee that there will not be any peanut contamination, no matter how unlikely the possibility. If you feel that the preceding information raises your concerns about the safety of our products regarding peanut contamination, please do not use our products. Safety of our consumers is always our number one priority. If you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yes and the reason is one of allergic sensitivity. The cocoa powder we use, as is most cocoa powder used elsewhere, is processed by using an alkali, which is clearly labeled on all our chocolate product packaging. Like an acid, which is its opposite, an alkali too can cause a mild allergic reaction. Typically the symptoms are a burning or sometimes swollen mouth. As the cocoa crops used to make cocoa powder vary slightly from country to country and season to season, it is sometimes necessary for the cocoa processor to change the level of the alkali to properly convert the cocoa bean into powder. Normally, this type of change would not affect most people. However, there are those individuals who have become sensitized to the slightest change in the alkali level and could have a mild reaction when a change in the alkali level occurs. This is no different than the way some people react to acids, or iodine in fish. This effect typically lasts for only a few minutes and might cause some mild discomfort. If you ever have a reaction while eating our product, virtually all the time it will involve a chocolate product.
The ingredient you could be reacting to would be our non-dairy lactic acid, which is in all of our cheese products and is listed as an ingredient in all of them. The type of symptoms you may exhibit are usually a redness, or flushing around the lips or inside the mouth and perhaps some itchiness, but typically nothing more severe than that. For most users of our cheese products, it normally does not affect them depending on the level of acid in the product. There is apparently a threshold for some individuals below which they are okay and above which they are not. The reason the acid level may fluctuate in the product is that as acid is injected into each batch of cheese mix as it is being blended, some parts of the batch get a shot of acid that is higher (or lower) than other parts of the batch. This is true of any product where acid is being used.
This is a common question for people with kidney dysfunction, since both potassium and phosphorus are known to aggravate kidney disorders. Due to the fact our products are totally dairy free, most are usually not a significant source of potassium and phosphorus. On some of our newer products we do declare potassium and phosphorus values, although we are not required to do so. Typically, our packaging will state, “Not a significant source of Vitamins A, C, iron, calcium, potassium, or phosphorus”. “Not significant” is typically defined as less than 2% of the daily requirements. In most of our products, potassium and phosphorus are usually just several milligrams per serving, with the potassium level slightly higher than the phosphorus level. Although most medical professionals recommend our products for their dialysis patients, we advise them that the salt content can vary from product to product, and in some cases can be fairly substantial. Of course, the actual sodium value for each product is always listed on the package. As with any medical condition, please check with a medical professional before using our products.
Because they never contain dairy ingredients, TOFUTTI® products are never a significant source of calcium. We currently have no plans to introduce any products with enriched calcium at this time. We are currently concentrating on addressing more frequently requested health related issues that consumers contact us with. Additionally, many people use our products because they cannot have calcium in their diets, specifically individuals with kidney or urinary tract conditions. A final factor is that adding a mineral to a product that is not naturally in the product typically creates flavor and taste issues. Such is the case with calcium. If it is necessary for you to have calcium in your diet, please consider using calcium supplements.
Adipic acid is a crystalline, white powder that exhibits typical carboxylic acid chemistry suitable for a wide variety of applications. It is used primarily in food to enhance taste and flavor.
The problem you describe, which can occur with any ice cream product, indicates that the product was thawed and then refrozen. This means that there was a problem maintaining the product’s temperature during storage and/or transportation. It is possible that the truck carrying our product to the store or the store itself did not maintain the proper temperature to keep the product frozen. Also, if too much time elapsed between the unloading and movement of the product from the truck to the store, the product could have slightly thawed. Once it starts thawing, the product liquefies and when it refreezes, the liquid portion crystallizes. We suggest you talk to the manager at the store where you purchase our product and tell him/her about the situation. He/she will be able to give you more information regarding the handling procedure of the product.
How long our dairy free cheese products last after they have been opened depends on a number of factors. Such factors would be how long they may have been left out of the refrigerator, how many times someone put a utensil in them, was the utensil contaminated (i.e., did someone lick the spoon or knife), how many times the product was reused, etc. Normally, depending on the circumstances and if not too badly abused, the product should still last for many weeks if not a month or two after first opening. You just have to monitor it like you would any other refrigerated perishable product and be guided by your own personal observations and caution.
This usually means that the Better Than Cream Cheese was frozen and then thawed sometime during shipping and storage. Once it is frozen, it cannot be brought back to its original form. Although you can use regular cream cheese as an ingredient in a product and then freeze that product, you cannot freeze any cream cheese by itself. The same is true of our Better Than Cream Cheese.
All TOFUTTI® products are made under the strictest quality control procedures available. However, on a rare occasion, mistakes sometimes happen. Due to the high speed of our Cutie line (2-3 sandwiches/second!), sometimes, literally in the blink of an eye, a box with only six or seven sandwiches might get past our inspectors. If you ever purchase such a box, please contact us for a complimentary certificate for a free box of Cuties with our apologies.
Unfortunately, this is a problem and challenge that faces all food manufacturers. Although all food companies would like every single product they make to be in every single supermarket in the country, this is not realistic. Which products go into what stores is determined by market demographics, store availability, shelf space, competition, supermarket buyer preferences, distribution and transportation considerations, etc. If you are looking for a specific product, tell us which item you are looking for, where you live, and what supermarkets or health food stores are near you. Always mention a major city nearest you to help us better determine which store would be most convenient for you. This information is important in getting back to you with the right answer.
Unfortunately, you cannot order any of our perishable products from us, due to the high cost of shipping perishable products. Frozen products especially are too costly since you have to use dry ice when shipping them.