July 27, 2015

Are Kosher Consumers Eating Healthier?

I was caught somewhat off guard the other day when asked if people who eat kosher are eating healthier these days. The writer suggested that supermarket shelves nowadays have more kosher products than ever before. She pointed to the large number of gluten, sugar and fat free items. Indeed, most of the numbers that I have seen clearly support the notion that kosher consumers are eating healthier, especially when you include kosher sushi and salads. But here is where the writer was stumped. She was told by a number of retailers that sales of red meat are up as are items like deli, cholent, herring and pastries. So I checked in with some of my friends in retail and distribution and their answer was to say the least strange: yes and yes. In other words kosher consumers are eating healthier but yes a significant portion are not. The difference between 2015 and say five years ago is that there is a loyal core of customers that are buying only healthier products and at the same time a rising number of younger consumers that are eating the fattier and less healthy foods. And then there is the middle group that it is eating healthier but have not given up on the more wholesome foods.

One retailer told me that many mothers are concerned about child obesity and are buying more fruits and vegetables for their offspring. They are buying less sugary cereals and cutting back on pastries. Yet, the retailer says that he has never sold as much of kosher snacks as he is nowadays. The kosher snack aisle is more crowded than it has ever been but you also take note of items with less fat and even less calories. So after reviewing all this information, I told the writer that kosher consumers are eating healthier than ever before but no, they haven’t given up on the tradituional fattier foods.