April 26, 2010

Feature: Social Marketing Helps Drive Kosher Food Sales

New York…A small Brooklyn grocer found it strange that at least three neighborhood women seemed to buy the exact same ingredient items within a few hours. His curiosity was satisfied when one of the women told him that she was “tweeted” about this great recipe and even directed to the exact aisle of where the ingredients were. A young couple at a high-end kosher restaurant in Manhattan posted their experience on Facebook as well as on a blog the husband writes. Increasingly, social marketing is having an impact on kosher food sales. The number of blogs that routinely cover kosher cooking, restaurants, new products, kashrus alerts, and travel increases with each passing day. Through Twitter and Facebook, kosher consumers now have instant feedback on the availability of kosher food products as well as special promotions and discounts. Kosher restaurateurs even are dealing with a growing number of customers who use their phone cameras to post the dishes that are being served. One kosher food executive said that the industry was benefiting from a new “kosher foodie culture.”

On Facebook, there are a number of pages dedicated to kosher cooking and kosher products. Some examples are: “Keeping Kosher in the Kitchen,” specifically offering recipes for the kosher kitchen, which has almost 2,500 fans; “Kosher Crockpot Recipes – Beyond the Chulent,” which has over 1,000 fans; “Salads (kosher) Galore” has over 3,000 fans; “hip” kosher products that are marketed to younger people like Ike and Sam’s Kettlecorn, started by two young Jews from Brooklyn; and kosher restaurants/cafes have fan pages, such as Burgers Bar, Kosher Subway, etc. Aron Ritter, founder of the Kosher Wine Society, uses Twitter and Facebook to announce wine tasting events and publicize the Society’s activities. Says Ritter: “In today’s ever-changing marketplace, using social media to reach people is really the optimal way to go.” Kosher food sources say that they are really beginning to feel the enormous power of social marketing. Manufacturers say that many SKU’s are moving better, largely due to the new technology. One owner of a kosher restaurant says that he now routinely asks customers to tweet their positive experience. While many in the industry still do not recognize the changes in the marketing of kosher products, it is only a matter of time that the industry takes note of one of the most dramatic changes to affect the industry since sushi became a kosher staple.