August 1, 2016

Israel, Not U.S., Key Driver in Growing International Focus on Kosher

Jerusalem - Pilar Del Olmo Moro, the Spanish Minister of Economy for the Castile and Leon provinces, recently visited Israel with a delegation of food manufacturers interested in developing lines of kosher products for export to Israel and other international markets. Some 14 regional companies from Castile and Leon in the northwest of Spain have obtained kosher certification and are now exporting fresh lamb, wine, honey, biscuits, cheeses and chocolate to Israel. The companies include Moralego Seleccion, Freyce, Nexus wine, Quesos el Pastor and Gullon cookies.  Castillian food companies are reported to be investing in research and development in order to be part of the more than 7,500 new kosher products introduced annually into the global markets.

The minister also met with senior Israeli government officials including the agriculture minister and told KT that trade including technology, textiles, industrial products as well as food, with Israel are closer than ever before.  She described the visit as productive and profitable. Spain will be one of several countries that will be showcasing at this November’s Kosherfest. Others will include Italy, Korea and Chile who will join more than 15 other nations.

Sources told Kosher Today that countries like Spain are being wooed into kosher by the lucrative opportunities in Israel which has a $20 billion food industry, most of it kosher. Because of growing trade between Israel and many countries in Europe, in particular, kosher really make sense. Once these countries invest in kosher they also tend to benefit by exporting to the lucrative US kosher market and even to smaller European kosher markets. Said one distributor: “This has become a win-win situation but clearly their anchor these days is Israel, which is quite a departure from the previous way of thinking that it was the US kosher market that anchored the kosher sales worldwide.

“Despite the cultural bonds with the Jewish culture, Spanish companies have ignored the attractive opportunities of the kosher market. But this is changing now, not only for the recognized quality of the Spanish food products but also for the innovation efforts being made by midsize companies”, explains Juan Millán, managing partner at  Gedeth Network (www.gedeth.com) a consultancy firm for internationalization of small and medium enterprises.

Korea is another nation to emerge as a kosher producing country. Following a meeting with President Park Guen-hye, officials announced plans to provide “administrative and technical support” to help kosher food and cosmetics makers set up shop in Korea and qualify for kosher supervision, the Korea Times reported. The government plans to provide food makers with kosher glossaries and encourage them to attend Kosherfest.