February 24, 2014

Manufacturers Proceed More Cautiously with New Products for Passover; Less than 40% Repeat

NEW YORK — Kosher food manufacturers have become a bit more skittish about rolling out new products for Passover. Despite some 300 new items that are being introduced for this Passover (eve of April 14th thru April 22nd), several of the largest manufacturers appear to have cut down on the number of their new Passover introductions. Distributors say that despite a year-round search for new items, it has become tougher to find products that are not currently available and stand a chance of success. 

Another reason for the pushback, say the distributors, is that it is risky. The evidence shows that only 40% of introduced new items return to Passover shelves a year later. The kosher purveyors often invest in inventory, packaging and kosher certification and then have to deal with returns after the holiday that are lost. Yet, it appears to be worth the effort. As new items enter that have relatively little competition, manufacturers and distributors can realize higher margins. They also help position a company as aggressive and progressive, said one distributor. 

The companies that cut back in 2014 insist that a one-year pushback is not an indication of a purposeful retreat. It is just a question of finding the right items, they say. The last thing retailers want to see is more of the same under different brands. Remarkably, gluten free products continue to do well on Passover, which explains why so many of the new introductions are gluten-free.