November 10, 2014

Special Feature: 2014 New Product Winners Reflect an Industry Moving Upscale and Healthier

New York…A review of the winners in this year’s Kosherfest New Product Competition shows that the industry continues to expand its gourmet and healthy products. In some cases, the new products are fusions of several concepts while in others they are simply line extension but most are focused on gourmet and health. Almost all of the new product winners are gluten-free, which continues to be one of the most dynamic trends in kosher. Like the general market, it is being consumed not only by people who suffer from celiac disease but by health-conscious consumers. Some products are developed by people who have someone in the family with celiac like winner Blends By Orly, which is a line of five gluten free flours that were developed by a young American French trained pastry chef who was inspired to bake gluten free by her foodie husband who has celiac disease.

This year’s Best in Show DeeBee’s Organic TeaPops was the best example of the movement to health and upscale. It is an unprecedented organic, kosher pareve tea and rooibos frozen pops. Developed by a husband and wife team of doctors whose children asked their mother to make TeaPops two years ago, DeeBee is naturally non-caffeinated and high in antioxidants, combined with organic super fruits. It has no added flavor, color, GMO's, gluten, dairy or soy. Another great indicator of the movement to healthier products is Yogurt where winner Karoun Dairies won with honey flavored Greek Yogurt. It launched 4 honey flavored products, combined with vanilla, strawberry and banana. Although not Cholov Yisroel, the Greek Yogurt category has soared in the kosher market. In 2012, Norman’s, the first to introduce Cholov Yisroel Greek Yogurt, won the best new dairy product in the show. Cheese is a category that many said needed more attention in the US market to match its scope in Israel and Europe. This year, Anderson International introduced a blend of mozzarella and provolone. One of the features of the product is that it is gluten-free.

For noshers, there was the novel idea from Pete’s Gourmet in Medford OR. Called See’More’sSmores, the product is a pre-made combination of chocolate and marshmallows. In only 3-5 seconds in a microwave, the marshmallow swells and the rich chocolate melts “into bliss.” A good example of how kosher snacks are turning healthier and made with more natural products is Zelda’s (based in Skokie Ill) who won with an All Natural Caramel Corn Series. You might have seen the product before but now Zelda’s made the product with a new formulation that uses only natural ingredients such as Tapioca Syrup and half of the fat of the original version. It has a delicious buttery taste but is still Lactose Free. And best of all, it is pareve. It might go well with the kosher and pareve Gingerbread by NoMoo Cookie. Although pareve, they are made without preservatives and you can’t even tell that it is made without butter. The recipes were adapted for mass production and are baked in NoMoo’s (get the pun of no dairy) plant in Pipersville, Pennsylvania. Even the Italians got into the act with a new kosher White Truffle Pates in 2 sizes. Vegan and gluten free, the product is pasteurized so it is good for 3 years if not opened but needs refrigeration and is good for 3-4 weeks when opened.

One of the many “food families” at Kosherfest is the Tishbi family from Israel and this year they had a new product winner with a unique, fragrant and delicious Tishbi Wine & Fruit Preserves, created by Oshra Tishbi. Tishbi Estate Winery, Israel's first winery, was established in 1882 in Zichron Yaakov. Tishbi Apricot Riesling Preserve is a balance of fresh fruit and fine wine. It is cooked in small batches to ensure the finest quality product and a natural, fruity and flavorful, less sugared preserve… MIKEE is not a newcomer when it comes to winning awards for his new products. This year it was Sriracha & Scirachnaisse (Exotic Sauce Packaging, Scottsdale, AZ), which are gluten free, vegan, and cholesterol free… A bit more traditional but yet a great addition is a new breakfast cereal from Paskesz, Honey Oat Crunch with Almonds.

ProTings Protein Chips by Sterling Sales is a good example of the changes that have been taking place in kosher snacks. These chips have 15g of protein per serving and are gluten free. They come in three flavors: Chili Lime, Sea Salt and Tangy Southern BBQ…Yes, there is a difference in olive oils, particularly when they come in sleek bottles. Manufactured in Turkey (imported by Cosmopolitan Food Group), the oils are similar to Arbequina and Tuscan region oils. The sandy soil conditions, sea breeze and unique varieties of olives in Turkey contribute to the fruity, light taste of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. ..Just when we thought that we’ve seen about everything when it comes to Passover and macaroons, Manischewitz is introducing Carrot Cake Macaroons which are lightly spiced and made with real carrots and walnuts. Once again, this product is gluten-free as are their new Matzo Ball Mix… Dr. Praeger’s added an Asian twist to their line of vegi-burgers and fish products as part of their launch of Quinoa & Herb Crusted Fish Fillets, Southern Cornmeal Crusted Cod Fillets, and Thai Coconut Crusted Fish Fillets…And from fish to poultry! Empire Kosher Poultry added an exciting new product with its Gourmet Spicy Apple Chicken Sausage . A blend of sweet and spicy, it has no nitrates, no fillers and 65% less sodium than smoked chicken and beef sausage. It is made with 100% vegetarian fed chicken that never administered antibiotics and were humanely raised on their family farms. And you can wash it all down with “Baron Tequila”(Baron Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico), a new, small batch, ultra-premium tequila made from 100% Agave.