I met two kinds of people at Kosherfest. Those who are deeply embedded in the kosher food industry and those desperately seeking to grab a piece of the action. Those who are “in” were simply trying to figure out how to claim a bigger share and those who “wanted in” were looking for a foothold in what they perceive to be “a street paved with gold.” The reality is that both classes were a bit delusional about the industry. Those who are in are learning the limitations of their potential especially in light of growing competition. Those who are still on the outs have yet to discover that the street of gold is also not an easy street.
The “in” crowd were facing many challenges including the ability to raise margins so that their hard work paid off. If you were a manufacturer you are forced to consider ways to produce a product, face the growing competitive environment, and still make a profit. Retailers were increasingly squeezing them, especially the discounters like Bingo. If you were the outsider looking in, your challenge was where exactly to fill a void and still be profitable. As I have said often, there just may not be room for an eighth brand of kosher mayonnaise, even in the large independents.