May 25, 2021

New Jewish Population Study Shows Promise for Kosher

New York…For the first time in 9 years, a major Jewish population study has some relatively good news for the kosher food industry. The new Pew Research puts the number of Jews in the US as 7.5 – 8 million, although most are not practicing Jews or may in fact live in a household with non-Jewish members. Yet, a good number of them do eat kosher foods, even if occasionally. Among Jews 18 to 29, 70% say they often or sometimes cook or eat traditional Jewish foods, identical to the percentage of Jews 65 and older. The Orthodox Jewish community continues to grow, perhaps doubling in size every five years. The survey indicates that fertility among Orthodox Jews is at least twice as high as among non-Orthodox Jews. Orthodox Jewish adults report having an average of 3.3 children, while non-Orthodox Jews have an average of 1.4 children. Orthodox Jews also are five years younger and tend to live in much larger households than Jews who identify with other branches of American Judaism. The average Orthodox household in the survey contains 2.0 children, compared with 0.3 children per household among Conservative Jews and 0.5 children per household among Reform Jews.

The survey seems to reinforce the notion that the core kosher market will continue to grow. This bodes well for the expansion of independent kosher stores, destinations (major kosher sections) in supermarkets and kosher foods in box stores. At the same time, it also supports the “occasional” kosher consumer which largely comes from Jews who while not committed have some Jewish connection. Said one supermarket buyer: “Around Passover time and perhaps Chanukah, I see many Jews who are intermarried and don’t live Jewishly by any stretch of the imagination; yet they shop a cartful of kosher products.”