|Genre||Breakfast cereals, snacks, entrées, waffles|
|Headquarters||Solana Beach, California, United States|
Number of employees
Kashi is a maker of whole grain cereals and other plant-based foods sourced from regular farming practices. Founded in San Diego in 1981, the company makes over 90 products sold in the U.S. and Canada. Its original cereal pilaf was identified by the tagline “Seven Whole Grains on a Mission.” The company name is a blended term derived from “kashruth,” meaning kosher or pure food, and “Kushi," the last name of the founder of American macrobiotics.
As of summer 2016, all Kashi products are Non-GMO Project Verified.
As a young married couple in the early 1970s, Phil Tauber and Gayle Tauber founded companies that would allow them to offer customers what they were convinced were the sources of good health: athleticism and wholesome nutrition.
They began with The Plant Pusher, an indoor plant business offering plant and tree maintenance and rental services, with distribution from business offices to supermarkets. In 1978 the Taubers partnered with bodybuilder and celebrity trainer Vince Gironda, with whom they established the first gym that served women as well as men.
As part of their commitment to health via high nutrition and physical fitness, the Taubers continued to search for a high-protein, complex-carbohydrate food that was low in fat and sodium. In 1984 in La Jolla, Calif., they founded the Kashi Company to produce and market ready-to-eat cereals and cereal-based products. The couple pioneered end-of-the-race feeding at athletic events; partnering with and supporting nonprofits that used athletic events to promote their causes; and creating a "Kashi Army" concept prior to social networking. After 16 years in business, Kashi was purchased by the Kellogg Co. in 2000.
Kashi’s acquisition by Kellogg’s in 2000 allowed the smaller company to reach new consumers and the parent company to enter the market for natural and organic foods. In its first eight years under Kellogg, Kashi’s sales grew 42 percent annually on a compound basis, to about $600 million in 2008. Six years later, as competition in the market for healthy snacks and cereals increased, Kashi posted about $500 million in sales.
In 2005 Kashi acquired Stretch Island Fruit Co, a producer of fruit strips and fruit chews. In 2008 Kashi acquired Bear Naked Granola, a producer of granola and bars. Both brands currently operate out of Kashi’s headquarters in Solana Beach, California.
Kellogg’s moved Kashi’s operations to Battle Creek, Mich., in 2013, to consolidate with its other cereal brands. But after sales declines in 2014, the parent company moved the business back to southern California in Solana Beach to help it realign with health food community. At that time, Kashi was established as a stand-alone natural food business and would continue to encompass the Bear Naked and Stretch Island Fruit Co. brands. A new team, headed by CEO David Denholm, who led Kashi in the 2000s, is now running the company as a standalone business. Kashi remains one of the largest natural foods businesses in the United States and the world.
In 2016, Kashi and partners Quality Assurance International (QAI)*, a leading USDA-accredited organic product certifying agency, and Hesco/Dakota Organic Products, a specialty grain company headquartered in South Dakota, introduced Certified Transitional. QAI owns and manages the protocol.
A "transitional" crop is grown on land that’s in the process of converting from conventional to organic practices. After three years of meeting USDA Organic standards, farmers can apply for organic certification. Before the three-year mark, any crops grown on the field are considered “transitional” crops and cannot be sold on the organic market. Certified Transitional is a way to support farmers during their three-year journey to become USDA certified organic.
During the conversion process, QAI certifies crops in transition to ensure they are grown using sustainable processes and that the farms avoid genetically modified seeds as well as prohibited conventional synthetic pesticides.
On May 17, 2016, Kashi and QAI announced Certified Transitional and introduced the first product made using a Certified Transitional ingredient – Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits, made with Certified Transitional wheat. Through Certified Transitional, Kashi says it hopes to create a marketplace to drive more organic farmland. The certification is owned and operated by QAI, and is open to any eligible farmer, and any company can adopt Certified Transitional sourcing in an agricultural supply chain.
While other transitional agriculture efforts have been introduced in various segments of the supply chain, Certified Transitional is the first consumer-facing program recognizing transitional agriculture.
In April 2012, Kashi announced it would remove GMOs from all its existing GOLEAN cereals and Kashi Chewy Granola Bars by the end of 2014. It later announced all its products would be Non-GMO Project Verified by the summer of 2016.
The company’s products are sold under the Kashi®, GOLEAN® and Heart to Heart® brand names in grocery and specialty food stores in the U.S. and Canada.
In April 2012, a grocer in Rhode Island found out Kashi used genetically engineered, non-organic ingredients, and pulled Kashi products from his store's shelves and later posted pictures and notification through social networking tools. Some customers began to call into question Kellogg's use of the term "natural" on Kashi product labels. Kashi's general manager responded by stating, "The FDA has chosen not to regulate the term 'natural.'"
In 2012, the parent company of Kashi, the Kellogg Company, donated $790,000 to the NO on Prop. 37 campaign, which asked voters if they wanted foods containing genetically modified organisms to be labeled in California.
In 2013 it was reported that Kashi was being sued for claiming their products as "all natural" or "nothing artificial". The Court certified the following two Classes:
1) California "Nothing Artificial" Class: All California residents who purchased Kashi Company's food products on or after August 24, 2007 in the State of California that were labeled "Nothing Artificial" but which contained one or more of the following ingredients: Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate and/or Hexane-Processed Soy ingredients. The Court excludes from the class anyone with a conflict of interest in this matter.
2) California "All Natural" Class: All California residents who purchased Kashi Company's food products on or after August 24, 2007 in the State of California that were labeled "All Natural" but which contained one or more of the following ingredients: Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate and/or Hexane-Processed Soy ingredients.
In 2015, the Kashi Heart to Heart blueberry cereal was re-labeled with the statement "Organic Recipe". The box does not say the cereal contains all-organic ingredients, however. It does state that the cereal contains organic oat fiber. It does not state whether the other ingredients are organic. The cereal now contains few blueberries. It contains "natural flavor" and provides the "taste" of blueberries. The cereal no longer contains whole red wheat, buckwheat, whole wheat, barley and rye. The cereal no longer supplies vitamins A, C, E, B6, B12, zinc, and folic acid. The cereal contains less protein (5 g) and fiber (3 g), and more fat (2.5g), than previously (6 g protein, 4 g fiber, 2 g fat).
- "Kashi: Meet Us". Kashi Company. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
- The Wall Street Journal
- The New York Times
- The Wall Street Journal
- Weise, Elizabeth (April 29, 2012). "Kashi cereal's 'natural' claims stir anger". USA Today. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
- "Could Prop. 37 Kill Monsanto's GM Seeds?". Mother Jones.
- "California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (2012)".
- LLC, Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec. "Purchasers of Kashi or Bear Naked Food Products--in California--may be affected by class actions lawsuits, announces Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec LLC". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
- "Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Flakes & Blueberry Clusters". Cereal Wednesday.