December 5, 2011

Israel's Food Show Increasingly Focuses on Kosher

Tel Aviv ... Some 22,400 people took part in the 28th annual Israfood food and beverage exhibition that took place here last week at the Tel Aviv trade fair and convention center.  According to Israfood organizer Gil Stier, many countries including Argentina, Brazil, the US, Taiwan, Poland, France, Italy and Turkey took part this year. In addition to the dozens of food booths, there were workshops from Israel and international chefs who showed participants what is new and innovative in the world of food preparation and service.  Observers noted that the show seemed to have a greater emphasis on kosher items as well as health and environment.  Dozens of exhibitors emphasized the nutritional value of their products be it organic ice cream made from the Brazilian Acai fruit, soya protein imported from Iceland and served up as Middle Eastern shwarma or biodegradable paper plates.  "Ocean Secrets" was serving up red and black caviar on bread to a fascinated crowd.  The delicacy is made from Japanese seaweed and herbs and carries a mehadrin pareve certification. 

Engineer turned food manufacturer Maxim Titievsky said the technology has existed since the 1970s but he and his partners applied it to creating caviar from seaweed.  He said that the products are marketed to wedding halls and the institutional market.  "The price is much more reasonable than real caviar. It has a longer shelf life and of course, it is kosher," Titievsky said. Titievsky and others were looking for distribution abroad. Also looking for international distributors is Eitan's village pickles  The family business grows their own vegetables on Moshav Netiv Ha'aserah (on the border with Gaza) where they live and pickle them using recipes that have been in the family for generations to create garlic dill pickles, picked cherry tomatoes, white and red cabbage as well as pickled crispy radishes.   This was their first time at Israfood and they said they are hoping the exposure will help them to secure export deals.

One exhibitor that seemed to be courting the religious market was Simply Sushi. Dekel Bechor of Simply Sushi told Arutz Sheva that what makes the sushi mehadrin kosher stamp reliable is the fact that the entire cooking process is supervised stringently by rabbis. The rice, for example, is checked twice before cooking, the choice of fish is rabbinically supervised as kosher.  He admitted that sushi is considered “high class” food and noted that Tel Aviv ranks third in the world in sushi consumption, but said that there is quite a demand for it among the religious sector. “I think there is a big market for religious clients,” he said. “We get a lot of phone calls from people who are eating our sushi and thanking us for it being kosher.”