June 23, 2014

In Israel, Even Foodservice has Gone Upscale

TEL AVIV — In most countries, foodservice is considered such an important part of the food industry that it typically has its own trade show. In Israel, a significant portion of the country’s estimated $25 billion food industry revolves around its myriad of restaurants and hotels as well as the typical roster of hospitals, schools, universities and others. Last week, Culinary 2014 held its second annual trade show at the Dan Panorama Hotel. Michal Neeman, the Business Development Manager for Food & Beverage at the Israel Export Institute pointed out the obvious. 

In Israel, even foodservice has taken a sharp turn towards the upscale. She pointed to the gourmet cheeses that were on display (including blue cheese), the multi-flavored olive oil products, tehini, halva, sauces and more. According to a 2012 report by Euromonitor International, the upscaling has been part of a trend. The report, entitled “Consumer Foodservice in Israel,” notes: “In recent years, a significant change took place within the Israeli culinary world. Israelis started to see the act of eating as a cultural experience and not only as a basic need. As a result, both home cooking and CFS food changed and witnessed significant development. Cooks are now used to more diverse ingredients and preparing more innovative and creative dishes.”

Ms. Neeman who is no stranger to Kosherfest pointed to several of the booths that exhibit at Kosherfest every year, albeit marketing their products to the retail sector. She will be leaving her post in the summer to go into private consulting, hoping to help many Israeli companies negotiate the international market. At Culinary 2014, most of the products were kosher certified as one exhibitor pointed out: “if you’re not kosher here, your market is very limited.” It was interesting that none of the large flagship Israeli manufacturers exhibited, but then again they already had a hold on the market and at least at Culinary 2014, the many chefs who were making the rounds were looking for the upscale products. As any visitor could plainly see, the Land of Milk and Honey was much more these days.