January 17, 2011

Marketer Says Kosher Products up to the Challenge of Going Mainstream

 New York… “It should come as no surprise that products that were originally positioned primarily for the kosher/Jewish consumer can find significant growth opportunities by ”mainstreaming" their product lines (i.e. having these products participate in the general U.S. food marketplace), is the conclusion of a major paper by Milt Weinstock, a senior marketing consulting and a former Vice President of Grey Worldwide, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. In his paper, Weinstock points to such well-known successes as Lenders Bagels and, of course, Hebrew National with its legendary "We Answer to a Higher Authority". More recently, Sabra Hummus, originally a Jewish focused brand/ product, "mainstreamed" their line and became the growth leader in the general salads / spread/ dip market, generating +$100M in sales. Weinstock suggests that many kosher products could possibly go the route of mainstream. “Mainstreaming requires a number of disciplines and resources that many current manufacturers and marketers of kosher/Jewish oriented products need to recognize,” the marketing expert says. He says that products must answer a consumer need that is not being satisfied by current "mainstream" options and that the product actually delivers in its brand promise. Getting into the right stores and having a strong shelf presence against "mainstream" competitors, which may sometimes require "slotting allowance" fees, is another major factor on taking a product mainstream.

Weinstock notes that kosher purveyors who want to pursue taking their product to all categories of consumers will have to recognize that going "mainstream" will require an investment in marketing activities, including packaging, promotions (trade and consumer), PR, and possibly advertising to get the word out. Price sensitivity is another major factor in assuring that consumers are getting a good value, especially in a price sensitive economy. In concluding his presentation, Mr. Weinstock urges patience: “The successful brands that have made the "mainstream" transition, have done it "right" by careful study of the marketplace, even if it took a bit more time than just running out quickly to "succeed".