NEW YORK -- An estimated 5.5 million Jews worldwide keep kosher with the majority living in Israel, according to a survey by KosherToday. These estimates coincide with a study by Hebrew University’s Professor Sergio DellaPergola putting the global Jewish population at 13.75 million in the past year, with an increase of 88,000 people. Nearly two-thirds of Israelis observe kashrus, well beyond the 20% of the country’s near 6 million Jews who are Orthodox.
In the US, more than a million Jews are said to observe kashrus year-round with as many as 3.5 million of the near 5.5 million Jews keeping kosher at certain times of the year, such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover. France, which has the largest Jewish population in Europe, has as many as 40% of its near 500,000 Jews observing kashrus. Other countries that have significant (from 10,000 and up) numbers of kosher observing Jews are the UK, Argentina, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Russia.
The kosher market has benefitted not only from its core consumers, but also from Jews who occasionally eat kosher, Muslims, other religious groups, and many ordinary consumers who either like kosher products, ranging from bagels to deli to those who believe kosher is better and healthier. When adding all the “incidental” consumers, the number is more than double that of Jews.