November 2, 2009

Nearly Half of Kosher Consumers Under the Age of 45, Kosherfest Hears

Secaucus NJ…The age of the average kosher shopper has changed dramatically in the past five years, was the essence of the State of the Kosher Food Industry address delivered by Menachem Lubinsky at the opening session of the two-day Kosherfest on October 27-28 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. Mr. Lubinsky, President of LUBICOM Marketing Consulting which co-produces the annual show with Diversified Business Communications, said that nearly 45% of all kosher consumers in 2009 are below the age of 45, an increase from about 35% just five years ago. The changed demographics explains the mix of products that were showcased at the show. While many of the exhibitors still featured traditional kosher foods such as Matzoh, deli, cheese, salads and sauces, it was the variety of those products that caught the attention of the impressive buyers that included Acme Markets, Amtrak, Best Foods, Cornell University, COSTCO, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Shoprite, Stew Leonards, Supervalu, Wal-Mart, Wegman’s, Winn-Dixie and Zabar’s. Some 7,000 exhibitors and buyers participated in the show.

Many of the buyers were surprised to see the large number of gourmet products, including pastry, frozen goods, sauces, cheese, chocolate, and meats. One buyer who had been to every one of the 21 Kosherfest shows called this year’s show “the high tech of kosher foods.” Perhaps the change was most evidence in the exhibits of some of the well-known kosher companies including Kedem with its growing number of foods and wines from around the world, including the Elite brand which it now distributes, Manischewitz with its new packaging and large booth showing many popular brands i.e. Rokeach, Mishpacha, Season’s), Streit’s with its growing number of gourmet imported items, and Osem with its new line extensions including the popular Bamba brand. A major hit at the show was the huge motorized shopping cart by Kosher.com, which is a leading on-line grocer. Experts estimate that on-line kosher grocery shopping is 4%-5% of annual sales compared to 1% of general grocery sales. According to officials of Kosher.com, a significant number of their buyers include many singles and young couples living far from large city centers. The international flavor of Kosherfest was very dominant at the show, not only in many of the booths of the American companies who import from overseas but in the large pavilion of Israeli foods organized by the Israel Export Institute. The Argentinean pavilion also showcased interesting olive oils and wines amongst its many other items. The best indication of the success of the show was at the booth of Diversified Business Communications where exhibitors were booking their space for October 26-27, 2010.