December 2, 2013

Canadian Kosher Market Gains Traction in Broader Market

MONTREAL — Although not nearly as large as the $12.5 billion kosher market in the US, the Canadian kosher market is attracting attention in many circles throughout Canada. Estimates of the size of the kosher market in Canada range from $500 million to nearly double that when considering all of the major brands that are sold in kosher markets with a symbol. The three most notable markets are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, each served by a dynamic kosher supervision agency (Vancouver, of course, being the smallest of the three). 

The number of kosher certifications continues to grow for the COR in Toronto, MK in Montreal and BCK in Vancouver (now known as Kosher Check). Recently none other than Wal-Mart teamed up with the MK to celebrate Chanukah even selling all the ingredients for latkes, the traditional potato pancakes fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah. 

Canadian certifiers also work closely with Canadian safety regulations. Kosher Check requires adherence to advanced food safety protocols such as Canada’s Hazard Awareness Critical Control Points (HACCP). It already requires food manufacturers to meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency minimum standards. Kosher Check certifies 14,000 products of which 2,000 are manufactured and certified in Asia.

Vancouver has a Jewish population of just 26,000 compared to 189,000 in Toronto and 91,000 in Montreal but kosher food sources that like the US  not all people who identify themselves as Jewish buy kosher food. The sources also say that Canada is an important market for kosher food producers and that the number of kosher products that are produced in Canada and exported to the US continues to grow. Israeli sources say that they have experienced a 35% jump in sales in the past five years.