November 16, 2015

“Major Upgrade” was Theme of Kosherfest 2015 as More than 6000 Trade Visitors Attend

Secaucus NJ - The 27th edition of Kosherfest was by most accounts a major upgrade over its predecessor editions, not only in the quality of the products but also in the number of “key buyers” who visited the show and significantly in the presentations of the exhibits. Many of the 400 booths were beautifully built and designed in what appeared to be a competition amongst the exhibitors. Some of the largest kosher companies such as Kayco (Kedem), Empire Kosher, Alle Processing, Agriprocessor, Haolam, Norman’s and Manischewitz had beautiful displays. For many exhibitors, a second and even third generation were now in the booth. Mordy and Charles Herzog are sons of David and Nathan respectfully. The same was true in so many booths. Ephraim Schwinder of Golden Fluff has been at every kosher food show since its inception as a consumer show in 1987. The same was true for Morris Setton whose company bears his family name. In both cases the children were now the central players in the company.

National pavilions like Argentina, Italy and Israel also attracted a great deal of attention. The products were gourmet items that add to the new kosher cache that is a far cry from what kosher was but a decade away. The industry’s increased focus on kosher was clearly evident with many new natural, organic, and gluten-free products. The show opened with a breakfast sponsored by the Taste of Israel of the Israel Export Institute and the distribution of the awards for the best new products at the show, led by Jack’s Gourmet BBQ Pulled Beef Brisket, winners of the Best in Show. Industry officials say that there were as many as 300 new products at the show, including so many great award winning wines. There were new cookbooks on display, magazines like Ami and Binah with special Kosherfest editions. Some well-known chefs showed off their skills at several cooking demonstrations, highlighted by the Kosherfest cooking competition. Kosher social media buffs, foodies and bloggers gathered the night before Kosherfest at T- Fusions in Brooklyn for the annual Kosherfeast. Kashrus agencies from around the world gathered at Kosherfest and for the annual AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations) conference the day after the show. Elan Kornblum the kosher restaurant maven speaks of the growing role of social media in promoting kosher and the many new kosher restaurant openings. Clearly when the show closed on Wednesday afternoon November 11th, there was a sense that despite all the accomplishments of kosher, “we’ve only just begun.”