August 4, 2014

SPECIAL FEATURE: Social Media Helps Drive Kosher Sales but How Much is Uncertain

NEW YORK —Esther considers herself a foodie and often uses social media to guide her towards new products, meal ideas, and even recipes. She is part of a growing cadre of young housewives who are using social media to direct their purchase of kosher foods. During the Nine Days (which ends tomorrow night with the fast of the Ninth of Av) and a time when meat products are not eaten, the relatively new Breadberry Supermarket in Boro Park widely circulated its artisan pizza on Facebook and Instagram.

The latter, say kosher food sources, is particularly effective for food as a company posting a picture of a product can invite more pictures from customers. Instagram users routinely post photos of Norman’s Greek Yogurt, some with cute poses of children. In surveying more than two handful of manufacturers and retailers, Kosher Today found that not only does social media help expand its customer base and target market, but it helps the company stay interactive with its customers and listen to concerns they have, as well as learning about new products they desire.

“Manischewitz has been having really positive experience with social media. We get feedback from our customer and really take them in consideration,” says Sara Stromer, Assistant Brand Manager at Manischewitz. She adds: “We take cues from their comments on what to do next. Whether it’s a new claim, like they want more gluten free products, or a new product or a new flavor of an already established product! It’s been an eye opening experience to have these open conversations with our customers. It helps us to give back to the customers.

“We really want to interact with customers.” A spokesman for Norman’s says: “Social Media has greatly contributed to the growth of Norman's Dairy. We are able to show our customers the newest products, post recipes, and spread the word about upcoming Norman's events. We feel like we get to be a part of the customers satisfaction and we are involved in their daily routine.”

Other major retailers like Evergreen (Monsey), celebrating its first anniversary, have used social media extensively to promote special events. Most of the kosher officials surveyed could not quantify or monetize the sales from social media, but they were unanimous in emphasizing that social media has helped in their branding and giving them an edge over their competition.