July 7, 2014

Kosher Market Watches Shifting Trend from Frozen to Fresh

NEW YORK — According to kosher food sources, the microwave craze of the ‘90’s where almost every category of foods went frozen, seems to be ebbing, especially in light of a shift by consumers towards fresh foods. Most of the relatively new kosher superstores that became so popular in the 2000’s now offer a broad array of fresh foods and many ready to cook items that appear to be replacing the frozen dinners and other foods. 

“It is still popular in markets where there few choices for fresh kosher food, but certainly declining in primary kosher markets,” said one New York-based distributor. There are some striking exceptions, the food experts point out, citing pizza as one food that continues to enjoy robust frozen sales. Much of the change may be due to a national trend towards fresh and healthy foods. Some experts say that younger customers nowadays somehow find the time to make their own meals rather than the old “just pop the blue dinner box in the micro,” said one expert. Most kosher stores still find the frozen section to be overly crowded and they don’t see removing any items any time soon. 

In the mainstream market, ConAgra Foods has discontinued many of its Healthy Choice dinners, because of declining sales. The growing number of kosher cookbooks as well as the many Jewish newspapers which essentially preach making meals from scratch has contributed to what is perceived to be a trend away from frozen. Several of the retailers KosherToday reached admitted that sales of many frozen items were flat, although they wouldn’t just get rid of those items yet. The sense was that it is definitely a trend worth watching as there is more and more and more evidence that kosher consumers are taking a second look at the frozen section.