January 25, 2010

Kosher Consumers Look for ÒComfort FoodsÓ to Survive the Recession

New York, NY… KosherToday Features Editor…A business newspaper for the gourmet industry recently reported that the “stressful economy [has driven] a nostalgic flavor trend.” The trendologist expert, Kara Nielsen, speculated that these nostalgic flavors may remind consumers of a “seemingly simpler” time. For your average American this trend can be reflected in baked goods, beverages, and candy such as butterscotch, caramel, licorice, and toffee. For a kosher consumer this may mean a draw towards chicken soup with kneidlach, yerushalmi kugel, peanut chews, and chocolate babka.

Currently, one of the newest and biggest trends with regard to the food industry is the gluten-free diet. Consumers are discovering that when excluding gluten from their diet they feel better and healthier, but Nielson questions whether the gluten-free lifestyle will stick since it is not only difficult, but expensive, especially for the kosher consumer. It is likely that those who are opting for the gluten-free lifestyle, rather than adopting it as a real health need, will go back to eating gluten in a matter of time. New fads are constantly evolving in the food market and some will be longer lasting than others, but we will always be able to find comfort in certain foods and flavors. Associating flavors with certain memories is natural and if a good batch of macaroni and cheese can remind you of being a kid in camp, or a fruit compote can take you back to good times with family, take advantage of these positive associations and enjoy! For kosher food manufacturers, there is a lesson here as well. Sure, new and exciting products help drive sales, but in a down economy many consumers are simply looking for the “blanket,” those good old foods bubbie used to make.