January 9, 2017

More Line Extension and Less Innovation is Kosher Forecast for 2017

New York - Kosher food industry experts say that they do not expect any major new innovations in 2017, Kosher Today has learned. Their assessment is based on what they say has been the case for the past two years. Most of the near-300 new products introduced each year were more in line with “line extension” than “innovation.” They say that many of the products that were introduced in 2016 were variations of products that were already on the market. None of the experts interviewed envisioned a category breakthrough that would make significant waves in the kosher market. For Harold Weiss of Kayco, innovation is still possible, albeit within a given category. He cites the Tuscanini line of pizza, which Kayco distributes, as an example. Imported from Italy, the pizza is single-sourced cheese and all natural. Most importantly, says Weiss, kosher consumers can now enjoy an authentic Italian Margareta Pizza. Almost every major company exhibiting at Kosherfest in 2016 had some sort of line extension. Norman’s, a leader in kosher cholov yisrael yogurt and a pioneer in introducing Cholov Yisroel Greek Yogurt, recently introduced a new “healthier and tastier” margarine. The margarine, which is non-dairy, is clearly an attempt to branch out beyond dairy products. Quality foods recently introduced a line of WayFare pareve products including cream cheese and sour cream. Said one retailer: “Whenever something that is supposed to be dairy becomes pareve, it is news, particularly for kashrus observing Jews.” In fact, he pointed out, using WayFare cream cheese in a cake to be served as a dessert for a meat meal is innovation. The kosher food experts agreed that almost every major kosher manufacturer or distributor is looking for that big item that will be a trailblazer and thus very profitable. But it appears that the companies are more likely to roll out line extension items. According to the experts, that trend is also likely to be true for the upcoming lucrative Passover season.