TEL AVIV — Exports of Israeli Foods and Beverages to the US reached a record $224 million in 2012, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute. While it spelled a 3% increase over 2011, it represented nearly 50% growth since 2008 when exports were at $144 million. Sources told KosherToday that the dramatic increase in Israeli food exports was due in large measure to a far “more aggressive marketing strategy at all levels by the Israeli manufacturers and their US representatives.”
The IEICI itself has stepped up its activities with a more robust presence at the annual Kosherfest and an impressive showing at other shows including the upcoming Fancy Food Show (June 30 – July 2, Javits Center, NYC). According to Michal Neeman of the IEICI, 11 Israeli manufactures will be part of the Israeli pavilion at the Fancy Food Show.
Israeli foods have become a significant part of the kosher food aisle with American kosher food manufacturers increasingly importing Israeli products. One reason for the growing popularity of Israeli manufactured products is “vastly improved quality and packaging,” says one major retailer. A good example is the steadily increasing share of the Matzoh category before Passover.
Howard Bernstein, Senior Vice President of the Chicago chapter of the America Israel Chamber of Commerce, believes that buying Israeli products in the US is a way of supporting Israel’s economy. He is founder and a major promoter of BIG (Buy Israeli Goods). A promotion for the Website reads: “You can use this site to identify Israeli products likely to be available in retail store in your market area, and the stores which may carry them. You can also find online retailers who carry Israeli products on this site as well.”
While it was hard to find anyone who would offer a prediction for sales in the coming five years, several Israelis believe that it will reach $500 million by 2018.