April 22, 2013

Are Kosher Consumers Eating Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths?

Kosher consumers are definitely eating much healthier these days. Kosher consumers are eating enhanced foods that are not necessarily healthier. So, which is it? I questioned many of my sources in the industry and lo and behold discovered that both are true. I instantly thought that older consumers must be eating healthier while younger kosher adherents are not. Wrong again! Many younger consumers are specifically demanding products that are low in sugar, fat, and sodium. They are also increasingly buying gluten-free and spelt items. In one of my recent visits, I noticed new gluten-free bagels, joining an unprecedented array of foods that claim to gluten-free.

The newest kosher cookbooks seem to be straddling the fence, suggesting ingredients that are anything but healthy but then throwing in a line here and there on how to make certain recipes healthier. And, of course, there are always the salads to balance the heavy sauces used on meats and poultry. 

Retailers say that they are definitely noticing a greater interest in healthier products, including a demand for whole wheat and multi-grain products. One retailer guessed that as many as 60% of his customers routinely shop  for healthier products. He said that it is very obvious even at the take-out counter. “They’re asking about sugar content, how much sodium is included and whether it is low-fat.” From all I’ve seen, I am inclined to say that kosher is definitely not only moving in the direction of more upscale foods but also healthier.