January 9, 2017

The Freezer is Big Opportunity for Kosher, Industry Sources Say

Chicago - Yakov Yarmove of Jewel Osco “kvells” (is jubilant) when new frozen kosher products are introduced. “The frozen category continues to be the critical element to the kosher category,” says Yarmove, “especially in the out of town (outside of the New York metro area) markets.” He points out that kosher communities outside of the New York area that have a lot less restaurant options than New Yorkers use the frozen items more. He adds: “So kudos to vendors like Meal Mart, Dagim and the like that are offering more and more frozen center plate solutions for this customer.” Harold Weiss of Kayco agrees, pointing to the success of such items as Tuscanini, a line of pizza imported from Italy (as opposed to other brands that are manufactured in the US. It is estimated that nearly 50% of the estimated $3 billion in annual “ethnic” kosher food sales in 2016 to people who seek out kosher was to markets outside of the New York metro area. The new kosher frozen items are particularly welcome at large independent kosher supermarkets as well as many destination stores like Yarmove’s Jewel-Osco store in Evanston (Chicago area). Retailers point out that the frozen section can be a lucrative profit center since margins tend to be higher. The popularity of the kosher frozen items extends even in the heavily populated areas such as New York. Despite the plethora of fresh prepared foods and more emphasis on home cooking, many families still resort to frozen to supplement fresh, the experts say. They agree that frozen vegetables, pizza, pre-cooked meals, and even o’derves are bestsellers in many of the stores. Said one retailer: “A good new frozen item has a better chance of making it long-term than other products.”