September 29, 2014

Few Remaining Brands Shift to Symbol as Marketing Tool

TEANECK, NJ — They are perhaps the last of a dying breed of companies that used a generic “k” on their brands and especially on their private label products. They are rapidly moving away from use of the k and instead are opting for a recognized symbol.

According to Rabbi Harvey Senter of the Kof-K Kosher Certification, the shift is extending to private label manufacturing. “The last group of major food companies is recognizing that the “k” is meaningless to kosher consumers and that it will do little to boost sales,” said Rabbi Senter. The Orthodox Union had long ceased to certify companies using a k, insisting that their OU symbol be used on all products under its certification, according to Rabbi Moishe Elefant, the COO of the Kashrus Division of the Orthodox Union.

Other agencies like the OK have also been in the forefront of this battle to force companies to post their certification on packaging. Most rabbis have traditionally opposed the k insisting that it can be confusing to kosher consumers. “Unless a customer does extensive research, there is no way to know who is behind the “k”, explained Rabbi Senter.  Kosher sources confirm that there are few products remaining on shelves with just a “k”. Customers routinely pass up such designations and opt instead for similar products with a recognized symbol. A closer look at supermarket shelves these days is the past proof that the “k” may very well be on its last legs.