October 13, 2009

Export Institute CEO Urges Food Exporters to Leverage Kosher to Broader Market

Tel Aviv…KosherToday Israel Bureau Chief…The export of Israeli foods is expected to once again show a seasonal spike in advance of the Jewish high holy days. This is particularly true for the American market, a key target of Israel’s food manufacturers. Export sales have jumped 23% over the last few years. Avi Hefetz, the CEO of the Israel Export Institute, told Globes that kashrus certification on food items is generally an asset to sales. He said that the Jewish shopper buys the foods because of kashrus considerations but that non-Jews buy kosher because they see it as a product produced according to higher health standards. Muslims who don’t eat pork products are also a potential market abroad, he said. The Export Institute reports that while there was relatively strong growth in sales over the last few years, kosher food exports have also been a victim of the global economic slowdown. In the first half of the year there was an 18% decline in sales compared to a 5% growth for the same period the previous year. Nevertheless the kosher market is considered a highly lucrative though fairly narrow niche market worldwide.

In urging Israeli food manufacturers to leverage their kosher certification for a broader market, Hefetz noted that people today are very open to trying new ethnic products in addition to the constant quest for healthy and high quality foods. “Israeli products answer this demand very well,” he said.