October 31, 2018

30 Years Later, the Kosher Industry is Still an Eclectic Mix but Vastly Expanded

Secaucus, NJ…Some of the names of Kosherfest exhibitors this year (November 13-14) will be the same as they were in 1989, but they are much larger than they were in the very first kosher food trade show. Some of the original exhibitors are now brands owned by other major brands. Yet others are no longer in business. But perhaps the biggest story will be the newcomers over the last few years who while no match for the iconic brands managed to find their place on kosher shelves.  Kosherfest 2018 will be the showcase of this fascinating mix, most notably from countries around the world, including Israel, the UK, Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Hungary, Mexico, Italy, Argentina, Poland, Switzerland, Lithuania, Spain, Japan, and Australia, 17 countries in addition to many states around the country. Major kashrus agencies from the US and abroad will again be represented at the show but according to Kashrus Magazine, the number of worldwide certifications (hechsherim) is well over 1500. When the show was first launched, an estimated 16,000 items were said to be kosher; today well over 200,000. Many major brands like Manischewitz, Agri, and Empire went through ownership changes over the 30 years while Kedem continued to be family-owned and it has been a major driver of the growth of kosher in its wines and in recent years in its foods through Kayco. Other family businesses that were in the early shows like Quality Frozen Foods, Alle, Paskesz, Setton’s, Reisman’s, Gabila’s, World Cheese, Golden Fluff, Bloom’s, Bertram’s, Shindler’s, Benz’s, and Dagim all thrived over the three decades as the kosher world greatly expanded.