December 20, 2010

Advertising in the Kosher Market

As anyone who has read a Jewish newspaper in the past few months knows, there has been a significant bump in the number of advertisers for kosher food. While most of the new ads are in retail, manufacturers too are of late directing their advertising through print ads. So what has changed? It is no secret that I have often lamented the fact that the kosher industry does not as a group sufficiently market its products. After extensive research on the matter, I came to the conclusion that this was largely due to the success of the industry. Flush with success, the kosher food industry has placed far more emphasis on distribution and sales than to communicate with customers.

I have always wondered what would happen if the manufacturers drove demand instead of simply relying on the fact that the products will somehow move off the shelves. Let us even assume that the products are well known and established items, but even then there is a great deal of evidence that the Coca Colas of the world manage to drive up the sales needle as a result of advertising. One manufacturer told me plainly that the increased spending might in the end cancel out increased sales. Again, the evidence from the advertising world is otherwise. It is not a dollar for dollar formula. The ROI for some companies in advertising is as much as 20-1 and even more. The manufacturer told me that he spent roughly about 5% of his sales for advertising, which is a low figure by all counts.

The advertising surge of late is a reflection of several advertisers who have at least projected success as a result of their advertising. Pomegranate in Brooklyn advertises full pages in several weekly Jewish publications and the ads are part of the aura of success, so much so that several competitors have joined the fray. If the kosher industry has been growing by double digits each year for the better part of a decade, imagine what it would be if the industry used advertising to increase sales.