From Lab to Commercial Production: Lessons Learned by CHKP

Updated: Apr 26

Interview with Noam Sharon of Israeli food tech startup CHKP

The Food tech sector promises innovative solutions that will pave our global food ecosystem for a cleaner, healthier future. Startups in this emerging biotechnological space face the challenge of working in a lab to produce incredible results that can then be replicated at a commercial production scale. With the first hurdle being perfecting the product, how do startups in this space tackle the transition?

CHKP, formerly known as Planterra, was founded in 2019, and is using chickpea protein isolate to craft exceptional alternative dairy products, including yogurt, cream cheese, milk, creamer, and pudding. Innovating with chickpea- rich in unsaturated fatty acids and a great vitamin source -it competes with dairy substitutes like soy, almond, and oat, without the common allergens.

We interviewed Noam Sharon, the CEO and Co-founder of CHKP, to see how some of these scaling challenges are being met.

When did you realize you had achieved product-market fit?

Noam: I beg to challenge the concept of being able to achieve pre-launch knowledge of product-market fit. If such a concept existed in real-life, then no company, however big or small, would experience a failed launch. Unfortunately, many companies do, so this is evidence of its unattainability.

At CHKP, we are building our market-fit slowly and gradually by constantly improving our understanding and knowledge of the market and consumers’ desires. Additionally, we continuously critique our product and improve consumer appeal and efficiency by testing and tasting. Our approach is that the product should sell itself and the developers’ role is to create and inspire the emotional engagement and the messaging around the product. The ultimate test, however, is on the shelf.

We can launch two identical products in which one fails and the other succeeds. Does this mean the former did not have product-market fit? I don’t think so. I believe our product-market fit always exists and it is just a matter of constant evolution. This is our job, and it continues way after the product is launched.

What have been some unexpected hurdles from taking your innovation to a production stage?

Noam: Definitely finding the right partner to work with you as your contract manufacturer is the most critical issue. We have been searching for a contract manufacturer for months and mont