Wakefield, VA…Why would a Virginia manufacturer of peanuts seek kosher certification? The answer, say leading kashrus officials, is the new age of selling on-line, particularly through Amazon. Food companies are discovering that without the certification they may miss many potential sales. Virginia Diner peanuts began at a diner on the busy US Route 460 in Wakefield, Virginia. In 1929, Mrs. D’Earcy Davis served hot biscuits and vegetable soup to hungry customers in a refurbished Sussex, Surry, and Southampton Railroad car. One of the Diner’s specialties was the buckets of free peanuts that customers munched on and which continues to this day, so much so that it is referred to as “The Peanut Capital of the World.” It is after all in the heart of Virginia Peanut country.
Today, Virginia Diner super extra-large Virginia peanuts, seasoned nuts and chocolate candy confections are available for home delivery across the country. They are sold at select premium grocers around the country, Amazon, Macy’s, Kroger, Vadiner.com. Why go kosher? “This is common for a company that does a great deal of mail-order and on-line sales,” says Phyllis Koegel of the Orthodox Union. “Once a product like Virginia Diner has national distribution and sells in places like Macy’s and on Amazon, it is an automatic that they would seek out kosher certification.” In many cases, the companies receive so many inquiries about kosher certification that it is imperative that they opt for a leading kosher certification like the Orthodox Union (OU). Virginia Diner first obtained kosher certification in 2014. Has it helped sales? “Absolutely,” says a company spokesperson. “Sales have grown on our wholesale accounts and specialty private labels.”