August 21, 2017

The Kosher Hot Dog War Takes Center Stage this Summer

Brooklyn - So who manufactures the best glatt kosher hot dog? If you’ve been watching the full page ads in some of the Jewish publications, it would be Meal Mart, hands down. The summer of 2017 will be remembered as the summer of the hot dog war as supermarket shelves were stocked with as many as 6-8 brands, including A&H, Meal Mart, KJ Poultry, Jack’s Gourmet, International Glatt, Solomon’s and Aaron’s Best. It has been four years since Abeles & Heymann won the best hotdog designation by the Forward, a secular Jewish newspaper that offers extensive coverage on kosher. One industry source told Kosher Today “you would be shocked to learn that many of the hot dog brands are produced in the same place.” Meal Mart’s ads boldly read: “9 out of 10 People Prefer Our Hot Dogs (The Other Guy was Milchig [dairy])” Why the sudden blitz by Meal Mart? Industry sources say that when the market was flooded with so many glatt kosher hot dog brands, it cut into what once was a Meal Mart monopoly. Meal Mart felt compelled not only to protect its turf but to win back some market share it lost to the other brands. Some of the brands fought back not only with touting the quality of their hot dogs but also by focusing on the virtues of their knockwurst and sausages, for example, as if to say that “we’re more than just about hot dogs.” They also hoped to appeal to younger customers looking to broaden their summer BBQ experience. Retailers reached by Kosher Today confirmed that while some consumers preferred certain brands, there did not seem to be strong brand loyalty. One retailer said bluntly: “I think that most customers feel that a hot dog is a hot dog and really don’t discern a difference.” He said that often customers will prefer chicken, turkey or family packs instead of focusing on brand. With its campaign, Meal Mart is hoping to recapture its dominance and rise above the other brands.