February 16, 2009

Kosher Industry Optimistic About Passover Despite Recession

New York…Retailers throughout the country are hoping that kosher food sales for the upcoming Passover holiday (eve of April 8th through April 16th) will at least match last year, although there is apprehension over the effects of the recession. One Queens retailer was already told by a customer that she would only have 8 people at the family Seder instead of 21 last year. Her husband was laid off in December. Operators of Passover hotel programs are also holding their collective breaths as sales have been slower than usual. One program operator said that he was “about 25% behind last year” but he is also hoping for a last minute surge. Most hotels are still advertising in Jewish media and on-line. Social service agencies are concerned that the ranks of the Jewish poor will increase dramatically this year due to the recession and many layoffs. Food pantries like those sponsored by the Metropolitan Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty are hoping for more generous contributions like that recently made by Empire Kosher Poultry, the nation’s largest producer of kosher chickens and turkeys.
Standing with Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently, representatives of Empire’s management committed to donate more than 50,000 pounds of Kosher poultry to the Kosher Pantry run by the Met Council. Other agencies throughout the country are mounting major fundraising campaigns in anticipation of the higher demand for food.