August 31, 2009

Feature Story: Increasing Numbers of Kosher Consumers Eye Organic Certifications on Labels

New York…A growing number of kosher consumers are looking for more than a kashrus symbol on food product labels and even kosher certification agencies are participating in this new trend. Many Orthodox Jews who in the past focused only on the kashrus of a product are also reading the nutrition facts and ingredients, largely due to a growing awareness of the relationship between the foods they consume and health. This picture became clear in discussions with kashrus agencies as well as food industry executives. They say that organic and natural products have become extremely popular with all types of kosher consumers, particularly amongst rigorously Orthodox and Chasidic Jews, leading to a sharp increase in the demand for these types of products in the last decade. For some kosher consumers organic products are not only healthier for their bodies, but they conserve the earth’s resources in the way that they’re grown and produced. KosherToday had previously reported that The Star-K organization, based in Baltimore, had joined forces with Quality Assurance International (QAI) to offer a kosher and organic auditing plan. Only one audit is required to certify both the kosher and organic nature of products and will ultimately enable more companies to certify their products in both its organic nature and kosher status.

In addition to the new programs by kashrus organizations, one new certification is offering both kosher and organic assurances. Kosher Organics was founded in 2007 by a group of rabbis and concerned observant Jews who saw the need for an increased awareness and availability of organic and natural products for the kosher consumer. The Green-K (kosher and organic certification) and the Blue-K (kosher and 100% natural) are the two certifications offered by Kosher Organics. Kashrus agencies say that they are fielding many more calls today from kosher consumers concerned about the health of the foods they eat. They are inquiring about any new kosher organic products that come on the market. Sources say that the number of such new products continues to rise with some stores offering entire sections of kosher organic and kosher natural products.