July 11, 2011

Kosher Continues to Expand in Far East, Australia and Indian Continent

New York…The soaring demand for kosher foods is being felt in such places as China, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand and other countries in the Far East, Australia and Indian subcontinent. These are some of the countries that are producing ingredients that are being used in the US, Europe and Israel to produce a new generation of kosher foods, kosher certification executives report. Due to this increased demand, many of the factories that produce ingredients that are used in products manufactured in the US have undergone the “kosherization” process, with many more following in their footsteps. Recent trends in kosher in these regions include the burgeoning food production activity in the Chinese mainland in addition to increases in Indian food production. While many of the products produced are in their final form, an increasing number of factories producing ingredients and chemicals such as emulsifiers, oils, and alcohols have expressed interest in going kosher or are currently undergoing kosher supervision. The Star-K, OK, and OU kashrus agencies, as well as several Israeli kashrus agencies, operate offices serving the Chinese consumer base. Other countries such as India, Malaysia, and Singapore are also served by specially designated offices. In general, the kosher supervisors based in these regions travel to nearby countries such as Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea to perform their kashrus duties, although many administrators and others frequently make trips from Israel and the US to inspect and certify factories. As for competition between the OK, OU, Star-K and other certifying agencies, one kashrus figure said that, “While competition certainly exists, and everyone would like to take a bigger piece of the industry pie, we all work with a genuine respect for each other and the role we play in making kosher food more accessible to all who desire to partake of it.”