January 5, 2021

The Year the Kosher Community Creatively Survived Covid-19

New York…No one who lived through 2020 needs a refresher course on the devastating pandemic or the results that ensued. For the kosher community the challenges were overwhelming and miraculously dealt with despite dire predictions. it not only survived but, in many cases, even grew. Deliveries for the most part continued unabated. Shoppers by and large either returned to in-store shopping or made use of such options as on-line ordering and sidewalk pick-ups. Holidays were celebrated in traditional style, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale than in the past. Some of the highlights of a forgettable year include:

  • The thriving kosher travel business came to a grinding halt including the lucrative Passover business resulting in millions of dollars of losses. Israel became a non-destination as it wrestled with mounting incidents of Covid-19.
  • Kosher restaurants struggled to stay open and indeed nearly a dozen major eateries closed. Conventional restaurants became take-out stores.
  • Shopping habits dramatically changed to on-line and sidewalk pickups with a good deal of the new “normal” outlasting the pandemic.
  • Kosher catering was extremely hard hit as weddings, bar mitzvahs/bat mitzvahs and organizational dinners were severely curtailed. Many of the larger venues were severely impacted.
  • Kosherfest 2020 was postponed to 2021, the first year the show did not take place in 32 years.

Here were some other headlines in 2020:

  • CBD makes steady progress in the kosher community, already very apparent at Kosherfest 2019
  • Dubai quickly became a major kosher destination after Abraham Accords were signed between the UAE and Israel. 50,000 Israelis visited despite the pandemic
  • Home Kosher cooking soars to new heights as sales of kosher cookbooks greatly increased and ingredient products were flying off the shelf.
  • Unprecedented global demand for kosher certification despite Covid-19 and restricted travel
  • More Kosher Independent supermarkets still slated to open in 2021
  • Quality Frozen lost open of its legendary founders, Moshe Semel, and was acquired by a private investor
  • Bingo opened its 3rd US Store in the already crowded Monsey kosher retail environment
  • Vertical Farming came to Evergreen in Monsey; First in kosher world. Received excellent reviews from shoppers for quality and taste
  • Royal Wine puts its bestseller Bartenura Moscato in a can