Tel Aviv – Israel’s food and wine industry continues its astronomical growth, prompting increased international attention. Estimates for the overall size of the food industry are as high as $25 billion, which industry experts say is the reason that so many international companies seek out kosher certification. Kashrus agencies say that they certify food plants in 99 countries, many who export to Israel. With lucrative markets in the US, Europe and Israel as well as many other countries in the Latin America and the Pacific, kosher is an important part of the food industry worldwide. By the same token, Israel’s food industry has experienced enormous growth in its own right. There are more than 1700 plants in Israel that produce food, employing 64,000 workers. The five largest food companies are Osem, Strauss, Unilever, Tnuva, and the Central Beverage Company.
With surveys showing that more than 70% of Israel’s estimated 6.5 million Jews eat kosher, Israel is the leading kosher food market with the US a close second. Israeli food exports to the US has been steadily increasing since 2010, according to Caroline Nave, Manager of the Food & Beverages at the Israel Export Institute. Exports in 2010 were $188 million while they had risen to $240 million in 2017. The export of wine and beverages to the US in 2016 was $32 million, a 7% increase over 2015.