Make Kosher foods more visible at the shelf

Articles
October 19, 2009

Make Kosher foods more visible at the shelf

The Eco-Kosher trend, rooted in Philadelphia, is looking to build on the popularity of Kosher-prepared foods to make them even more meaningful—and marketable—for today.

The Eco-Kosher trend, rooted in Philadelphia, is looking to build on the popularity of Kosher-prepared foods to make them even more meaningful—and marketable—for today.  

It is led by Jews who understand that Kosher dietary laws have nothing to do with matters of sustainability, environmental protection, or the fair treatment of workers. Yet they hope a new Eco-Kosher symbol could go on foods by early-2010 to reflect manufacturers’ commitment to these issues, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.  

Shira Dicker, a spokesperson for the Magen Tzedek project, called the stylized Star of David “the God-Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” in an interview with the paper.

Clever perhaps, but a cause of concern to other Jews who don’t want Kosher redefined.  And a potential cause of confusion due to so many standards folded in to what it means to become, and continue to be, an Eco-Kosher product. At SupermarketGuru.com, we wonder why Kosher has to be married to these other important issues—none of which have any intrinsic connection to the historic meaning of Kosher.

Some statistics help frame this discussion:  Nearly half of grocery items sold in the United States are made to conform to Jewish dietary laws (Jewish Week). That’s more than 120,000 items (The Jewish Journal). Their value exceeds $200 billion, estimates Kosher Today

Despite the recession, there has been “significant increase in the number of inquiries and applications by many food companies about OU certification,” Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, vice president-communications and marketing for the Orthodox Union (OU) kosher certifying agency,” told Gourmet Retailer, noting the heightened sales potential and the spike in applications from “every segment of the beverage, baking and organic food categories.”

For all the enthusiasm over Kosher, except during the Passover period, when Kosher food sections go high-profile, Kosher foods are a less-obvious part of many categories, not merchandised as destinations. We think this approach impedes sales, and we urge retailers to scrutinize their category lineups and make sure that Kosher choices are available in as many areas of center-store as possible.