December 19, 2011

Gluten-Free, Social Media Lead Kosher Stories in 2011

New York…The dramatic increase in kosher gluten-free products was one of the leading stories in kosher in 2011. Our sources estimate that more than 100 new gluten-free products were released in 2011 and were being used by more than just people who suffer from celiac disease. Another major story in 2011 was the growing influence of social media on the purchase of kosher foods. Social media was responsible for the rapidly growing population of kosher foodies. It was also responsible for an unprecedented revolt in Israel over high dairy prices. Kosher purveyors were increasingly looking to take their products mainstream to follow in the footsteps of such products as Sabra’s Hummus. Mainstreaming was a major topic at a Webinar sponsored by Kosherfest co-producer Diversified and was a topic at Kosherfest itself. European Jews dodged more bullets from antagonists to schechita (kosher slaughter) in beating back attempts in the UK, the European Union and the Netherlands. In the US, courts upheld New York’s kosher food laws. Kosher food sales are estimated to have grown by at least 12%, notably in many of the club stores and discounters like Costco and Target. At least 12 chain and independent stores were either renovated or opened in the US in 2011. The newly renovated Madison Square Garden in New York announced that it would have a permanent kosher food stand. The 128-year old Manischewitz inaugurated its new state-of-the-art plant in Newark. Kosherfest 2011 was described by many of the 7000 exhibitors and visitors as “the best ever” in its 23-year old history. Kosher also lost Rabbi Yosef Ralbag, the founder of Triangle K and Daniel Rogov, Israel’s premiere food and wine critic who amongst other things chronicled the rise of kosher wines. It was also a year of the continued dwindling of the kosher Subway restaurants, the latest in Baltimore, and the closing of the Milk Street Café in Downtown Manhattan.