Tel Aviv…by Idele Ross, Kosher Today Israel Bureau Chief…Food exports for the first half of 2011 rose 15 percent to $463 million dollars. Half of the increase came from increases in costs reflecting the price increases worldwide. A fairly new development is that exports to Asia soared by 79 percent compared with the same six month period last year and totaled some $92 million dollars. Avi Hefetz, CEO of the Israel Export Institute said that for the first time exports to North America and Asia are pretty even, each representing about 20 percent of Israel's food exports. The main jump in food exports to Asia was in processed vegetables and fruits where sales climbed 150% compared to the same period last year. Food exports to North America totaled $94 million dollars, a rise of 8 percent compared to the same period last year. 41 percent of Israel's food exports go to Europe where like Asia the processed fruits and vegetables are in great demand.
Olive oil is a key item for export by Israeli producers. In fact, Israel is holding its first academic conference on the olive this week with the participation of the Tel Chai College and the National Council of Olive Growers. The gathering will focus on strategies to improve and advance the industry which is based on products made from olives and is expected to draw professionals who work in the industry around the country.