September 6, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Can be 20% of Year-Round Kosher Sakes, Survey Finds

New York…While Passover is by far the most lucrative season for the sale of kosher foods, most kosher food industry sources consider the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a “healthy second,” as one retailer wrote on Facebook. The product mix in the circulars will be much different with honey, honey cake, wines (in many markets) and meats (including brisket) taking the lead but industry sources expect this year’s High Holy Days to be a banner year. One big reason for the optimism is the “three-day Yom Tov” with Shabbat immediately following the two-day Rosh Hashanah on the last two days of September.  The three-day events will be repeated on Succot (October 13-14) and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (October 21-22). At Winn-Dixie, preparations for Rosh Hashanah are well under way with the chain planning  “A Taste of Rosh Hashanah” in select stores. Said Deborah Shapiro, specialty foods category manager, Winn-Dixie Stores: “These celebrations not only allow shoppers to learn quick and easy recipes, but also provides them with an opportunity to sample and learn more about Winn-Dixie’s more than 1,000 kosher-certified own brand products.” Selected recipes include Winn-Dixie’s cider glazed brisket, vegetable soup, kasha varnishkes and honey ginger ale glazed carrots. Guests will also have the opportunity to sample challah with honey, apples and dates, as well as honey and carrot cakes. Sampling is supervised by the Orthodox Rabbinical Board.

While many retailers say that Passover represents 30% - 40% of annual sales, surprisingly several said that the Rosh Hashanah season accounts for nearly 20% of their year-round sales. One reason is that studies indicate that next to Passover, most American Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah and as many as 65% fast on Yom Kippur.