January 7, 2013

For 350,000 Jews, Greek Yogurt is no Longer ÒForbidden FruitÓ

NEW YORK — While Greek Yogurt is certainly not new to most consumers, it is to an estimated 350,000 Jews who eat only Cholov Yisroel dairy products. Cholov Yisroel means that the dairy products were under rabbinic supervision from milking through the entire production process. Norman’s, a Cholov Yisroel dairy specializing in a variety of yogurt and other dairy products, recently introduced the first Cholov Yisroel Greek Yogurt, much to the delight of Cholov Yisroel consumers who had never tasted such popular brands as Chobani, which while kosher (under the supervision of the Orthodox Union) is not Cholov Yisroel. 

The Greek Yogurt, according to industry shelves, “flew off the shelves, forcing the company to plan for significantly higher production. U.S. sales of Greek yogurt have more than doubled in the past five years to $1.6 billion, according to Euromonitor International. Last year, Greek yogurt accounted for about 21 percent of yogurt sales.

Jews who eat kosher but do not insist on cholov yisroel have extensive choices in kosher dairy products, ranging from Danon to Haagen Dazs. But for a growing community of Chasidic and other orthodox Jews the choices were often slim pickings, that is until recent years when Cholov Yisroel producers like Klein’s Ice Cream or Mehadrin increased the quantity and quality of cholov yisroel products, even offering either cholov yisroel versions of Nestle (Mehadrin) from Israel or pareve Snapple Ices (Klein’s). Kashrus agencies have dramatically increased the number of cholov yisroel products they supervise out of recognition of the strength of the cholov yisroel market.