According to consulting firm Lubicom, kosher is a $30-billion business, growing annually at a rate of 12% — and that is between America and Israel alone.
Other studies note that 40% of products in US supermarkets have kosher certification. Given the few hundred thousand strictly-kosher Jews in the US, these numbers were surprisingly huge. By the looks of it, kosher is having a moment, and it is not a phenomenon observed in the US alone.
A Broadening Trend
A survey conducted by global market research firm Mintel found that kosher is becoming a huge bandwagon. Of consumers who purchase kosher products, a mere 14% said they do it to observe the traditional laws.
Among non-kosher consumers who buy products that have kosher certification, a whopping 62% stated that they see kosher products as safer, healthier, and generally of better quality. The rest claimed that they purchase kosher because they want to eat vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free food, and they put their trust in rabbis to tell kosher and standard products apart.
The Kosher Food Festival
The entire kosher food industry in the US convenes at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey November of every year to hold the Kosherfest. A major food event, Kosherfest attracts over 6,000 industry leaders including chefs, caterers, and distributors, as well as hotel, nursing home, and camp owners. Last year, Kosher supervision agencies, as well as startup and established companies, made up a total of 325 exhibitors, all showcasing kosher products from pistachios to Matzolah.
The Kosherfest is one way to help entrepreneurs comprehend the growing significance of kosher in the global market. Exhibitors from Japan, for instance, shared that, whenever they participate in food shows, buyers would always ask if they have kosher, and walk away the minute they answer “No.”
For some companies in the US, kosher becomes the single factor that seals a deal: if you use ingredients that are not kosher, companies such as Danone and Coca-Cola are less likely to buy from you.
Kosher: Tapping New Markets in the Philippines
Tonette Salazar, Country Manager of PS Kosher Philippines, a member of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, attests to the growing popularity of kosher worldwide. She says an increasing number of companies in the country are looking for kosher supervision, so she sought to integrate the use of kosher-certified products, with the intention of tapping into potential markets.
Salazar has been working with Star-K’s Rabbi Joel Weinberger for over 15 years. She chose to work with Weinberger, as she wanted someone who has global experience and has an exceptional reputation to help the Philippines embrace kosher products.
There was a time when the arrival of mass-produced industrial items and non-kosher meat advertised as kosher by fraudulent butchers made it nearly impossible to keep kosher. That, however, was a hundred years ago. Today, kosher has become a ticket to the mainstream market for enterprises of all sizes, all over the world.
For organizations looking to tap into the potential of kosher to help their businesses grow, you may contact the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.