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Kosher Consumers Will Continue to Broaden Palate in 2013, Experts Predict

by Feigie Leitman, Features Editor and Staff Reporters

NEW YORK — In many respects, say the experts, the kosher consumer will follow the general market in many of the trends that will make it in 2013. The experts say that there will be an emphasis on products that are “better for you” including products with healthier ingredients, smaller portions, and tastes and flavors that enhance the product. This includes vegetarianism, veganism and meatless eating, even among non-vegetarians, and gluten-free, which was so prevalent in 2012 in the kosher market. 

Jamie Geller from The Joy of Kosher anticipates a growing popularity of Sephardic foods within the Ashkenazi community. Kosherfest 2012 had a wide offering of Middle Eastern flavors, such as Moroccan meatballs over couscous. Recipes with spices like cumin and saffron abound in kosher cookbooks, and Ashkenaz consumers are incorporating new flavors into their diets, like Tabbouleh – a salad made of bulgur, tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and garlic, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. The kosher community also appears to be “dipping a toe” into the waters of French, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisine.

“This trend is coming from many places” Jamie says. “It’s a combination of blended families, blended communities, and a general desire for worldliness, both culturally and at the table.” Another trend sure to dominate in 2013 is foods with a level of ease or convenient foods. As more of these products are introduced to the kosher market, their quality is rising, so that taking the “easy way out” doesn’t mean you need to compromise on options or taste. Popular choices are ready-to-bake cake batter and “just add water” challah mix, which is also available in spelt and whole wheat.

2013 also brings with it once-forbidden foods that are now available to the kosher consumer. Things like Facon (kosher “bacon”) and Cholov Yisroel Greek Yogurt have introduced new food experiences that the kosher community is anxious to try. And although quinoa has already made its debut in kosher culture, the Star-K recently certified it as kosher for Passover, although they did advise some caution: “Quinoa is Kosher L'Pesach and is not related to the five types of chometz grains, millet or rice. However, because there is a possibility that quinoa grows in proximity of chometz grains and processed in facilities that compromise its Kosher for Passover status, quinoa should only be accepted with a reliable Kosher for Passover supervision.”