March 22, 2010

Israeli Technology Spurs Impressive Increase in Export of Passover Foods

Jerusalem…KosherToday Israel Bureau Chief…Israeli food manufacturers are benefiting from an unprecedented increase in demand for their Passover products from Jewish communities in the US and Europe. The manufacturers introduced many new products this year largely due to advances in technology, which allows them to use ingredients to mimic tastes and flavors of year-round products without using leavening agents. Demand for foods which carry the stricter Mehadrin kashrus certification is also rising from Brazil to Australia and from Canada to Austria. Israel is considered the second largest exporter of these goods after the United States. The Israel Export Institute reports that matzoh exports in the past few years averaged $9 million a year while wine sales totaled $7.75 million, but industry sources are predicting a 15% increase this year.

Taaman, Israel's leading exporter of Mehadrin products, is reporting a 23.5% growth in sales primarily to the east coast of the US, the UK, and France. CEO Shalom Haim said sales are expected to continue the upward trend due to increased demand from the Orthodox Jews with significantly larger families. Taaman is exporting everything from basic foodstuffs to snack foods and sweets, all kosher for Passover. Of Tov has increased its export capabilities to cope with an increasing demand from abroad. Some 200 tons of poultry products were sent to supermarkets in the US and Western Europe. Despite the political tensions with Turkey, it's business as usual for kosher tourism to Antalia this Passover. Aaron Lipner of Club Kosher told Maariv that this is the sixth year he is arranging strictly kosher for Passover vacations in Antalia. He told Maariv that the Turkish Tourism Ministry is helping with the logistics so that 1,500 Israelis can celebrate Passover at a resort on the coast of Antalia. He has dispatched a team including kashrus supervisors, ritual slaughters for meat, chefs and bakers as well as Hebrew speaking baby sitters. All foods are being air-lifted from Israel including sugar which has a Badatz certification for Passover.

Turkish coffee from Landver was sent to the US ahead of the holiday. Some nine tons of kosher for Passover coffee has been specially prepared for export. The deal is said to be worth more than $100,000. The company said the distribution is being handled by Osem-US. Amongst the new and innovative products developed by Israeli manufacturers was Mama Ofe’s 'breaded' chicken breasts and chicken stars for children. People who eat kitniot (legumes) on Passover can still enjoy their salty snacks as both Bisli and Bamba are out with Passover versions. Then there is the rich selection of sweets which this year includes the usual cakes and macaroons but many bakeries offer unique delicacies such as Florentines, Hazelnut meringues and pies.

Asian Home Gourmet has launched a line of kosher for Passover sauces and marinades for beef and chicken. Green and Red curry sauce is also available as is garlic, chili-ginger and lemon grass marinades.