October 13, 2009

Kosher Meat and Poultry Lineup at Kosherfest Reflects Industry Shifts

Secaucus NJ…It wasn’t very long ago that the largest exhibits at the annual Kosherfest were those of the meat and poultry producers, namely Agriprocessor and Empire Poultry. When Kosherfest 2009 opens on October 27th at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, the focus will be on an industry that has undergone enormous changes in just the past year. Many of the shortages that plagued the industry have been filled by other large purveyors as well as several newer startups that are part of the Kosherfest lineup this year. Agri Star, the successor company to Agriprocessor, will be exhibiting as will Solomon’s Finest, Vineland Poultry, Mehadrin Kosher Poultry, West Side Kosher and from Israel Of Tov – Hod Lavan. Harry Geedy, long time Empire official, will be at Kosherfest, but this time with Kosher Valley, a relatively new upstate New York poultry producer that is part of the Hain-Celestial Group. Geedy had been teaching business and technology in his native Pennsylvania but the thought of being involved with a company that was producing antibiotic free kosher turkeys and chickens attracted him to the company. “And the taste,” says Geedy, “is better than any kosher chicken I tasted.” Certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and Rabbi Yechiel Babad, the brand is already enjoying national distribution. On its Web site, Kosher Valley explains that its “poultry is never given antibiotics, hormones or animal byproducts. Instead, we rely on golden corn, pure soybeans and clean water to raise poultry the way nature intended.” Kosher poultry giant Empire had also announced earlier this year of a new line of antibiotic free poultry. In past Kosherfests, many focused on organic kosher chickens; this year it may be on the antibiotic-free chickens.