August 10, 2015

Food Mergers Affect Kosher Certification

Denver - The food industry is notorious for its frequent mergers and acquisitions, especially of late. But when two food companies merge, usually in the same category, the status of the kashrus can often change, for at least one. That’s what will be happening to Luna Gourmet when it acquires the 50-year old Boyer’s Coffee. Since plans are for Luna to be roasting by the end of the year at the Boyer’s plant, both companies will be under the certification of The Scroll K/ Vaad Hakashrus of Denver, a spokesman told Kosher Today.

In response to a question, Alicia Hassinger, a PR specialist representing the merger, noted: “We are Kosher certified at the Boyer's facility.  Luna Gourmet also consider themselves certified since they plan on consolidating to the Boyer's facility.” Coffee nowadays is not as simple as it used to be because of the variety of the products. As the Star-K Website points out: “In recent years, the varieties of coffees available has grown at an astounding pace. Gourmet coffees, flavored coffees, French roasts, espressos, lattes; one almost needs a dictionary to make sense of what has become a culture unto itself complete with its own language.”

But according to kashrus officials, mergers and acquisitions can often create a huge headache. The scenarios include where a kosher certified company merges with a non-kosher certified company and suddenly share production facilities. They might both be kosher but have competing hechsherim often leading management to conclude that they would be better off consolidating their hechsherim. Still, say the kashrus officials, the mergers have generally worked out in favor of kosher, meaning that more often than not the non-kosher entity will become kosher.