SECAUCUS, NJ — “Israel’s food industry is in the midst of an expansion revolution,” said Mrs. Nili Shalev, Israel’s Trade Minister in New York, speaking at a breakfast on the second morning of Kosherfest on Wednesday November 14th. Israel’s food exports to the US are now 20% of its worldwide exports of $900 million, Michal Neeman of the Israel Export Institute told Kosher Today.
Speaking at the breakfast, Ms. Neeman listed four major factors for Israel’s success. “Strong R & D, its melting pot effect (with immigrants from so many countries and cultures) ability to adapt to change, and its kosher status.” She added that Israel was on the cutting edge of many of the hottest trends in food, including focus on quality control and emphasis on health and wellness (i.e. gluten-free and lactose-free). Ms. Neeman added that Israel’s food industry with few exceptions was made up “of small and very small.”
David Wilson of Greenseed, a consultant to Israel’s food industry, echoed Neeman’s evaluation, but urged Israelis to look at potential big winners that may make it into the mainstream like vitamin water and Chobani Greek Yogurt. Israel had the largest international pavilion at Kosherfest (Argentina and the Philippines were the two other countries with large pavilions) with many innovative first-timers like Zer Matok and Barbara’s. It also included Tivol, a large Israeli company manufacturing vegetarian meat replacement products. There were many meat replacement delicacies at the show, including salmon salami.