December 4, 2017
Kosher Food Service in Unprecedented Growth
New York - While much of the focus of the food industry has been on the growth of kosher retail, there is evidence that the growth of kosher foodservice has in many respects eclipsed retail. Kosher food industry sources told Kosher Today that if retail has grown on average 8%-10% in many circles, foodservice may have topped 15%. One source told Kosher Today “that when everything is said and done in kosher foodservice, it is most likely a $1.5 billion industry. It is not surprising that some of the key players in foodservice like Bertram’s, Alle, Agri, Solomon’s and West Side have experienced significant growth in just the last 2-5 years. The sources say that foodservice has grown because of so many new institutions in health care, travel, education, and catering. Not surprisingly, industry sources explain that catering alone has been responsible for much of the growth, largely due to significant growth in the Orthodox community. They point out that aging baby boomers will continue to increase demand for kosher in health care facilities. The expansion of kosher programs on college campuses is another key driver of expanded foodservice opportunities. Foodservice is also benefiting from the booming kosher restaurant business as well as travel and convention business. As expected, the biggest growth appears to be in the New York tristate area as well as such cities as Boston and Miami. Some of the large food distributors like Sysco and US Foodservice are somewhat involved but “have certainly not capitalized on the opportunity,” according to one source.