October 25, 2010

20% - 25% of New Kosher Products Make It, Industry Officials Say

Secaucus, NJ…Most new kosher products never make it onto supermarket shelves, a survey of food industry officials visiting last month’s Kosherfest showed. But the distributors also said that new kosher products still fare significantly better than non-kosher products. As many as 95 percent of new products introduced each year fail, according to Cincinnati research agency AcuPoll. Despite the odds, hundreds of kosher products continue to be introduced and for those that make it, the pay-off appears to be extremely good. Marketing officials say that new products fail for a variety of reasons including quality of product, lack of marketing support, poor timing, inadequate shelf space, and poorly conceived packaging. Nearly half of products that won awards in Kosherfest’s New Product Competition in the past two years did make it in some form, say the distributors albeit in only some distribution channels. A winning product might, for example, find its way to a number of independent kosher grocers but not in supermarkets. ”It’s all about space,” said one distributor, who pointed to a frozen item. “This product will have a much better chance in a 40-50 freezer door store than in a 20.” At least one official mentioned the recession as a barrier for gourmet products that are more costly.

Looking ahead to 2011, food marketers see more new products that will use less sodium, sugar and high fructose corn syrup, a reduction in the popularity of natural and organic, more hybrid products, and increased use of retro as a way to make consumers feel more comfortable. There is a good chance that next year’s crop of new product introductions at Kosherfest will reflect some of these changes and the fact that 50% of Kosherfest’s New Product Competition winners make onto supermarket shelves should encourage the industry to continue to produce innovative new kosher items.