June 22, 2021

Supermarkets Thrive in Smaller Kosher Markets with Orthodox Jews

New York…Many of the nation’s supermarket chains are courting both the year-round kosher consumer as well as the occasional kosher customer, a survey by Kosher Today showed. The recent Pew study of the American Jewish community made the distinction between Jews who are kosher regulars and Jews who buy kosher occasionally. For most supermarkets, even a community of as little as 50 Orthodox Jewish families can be a significant base for kosher year-round products in their stores. In some communities, 50 families may represent as many as 250 individuals who not only seek out kosher products but shop the entire store. Surveys have shown that Orthodox Jews spend more than twice the national average with a family of 5 spending as much as $18,250 on food during the year. The stores have learned to accommodate the needs of a community that celebrates 52 Shabbos (Saturday) days as well as the Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Succoth, Chanukah, Passover, and Shavuot. At the same time, these communities also may have a significant number of occasional users, particularly during the Passover season. Many are non-Orthodox and even non-affiliated Jews who occasionally celebrate a holiday or an event with kosher food. The growing demand for Passover items encourages stores to stock up for Passover with such items as matzoh, grape juice and macaroons. Some of the chains that have followed this model in smaller markets include Kroger, Price Chopper, and Winn-Dixie. The significance is that while many new kosher communities are taking shape, the supermarkets are taking notice, particularly when advised by a rabbi or community leader.