April 27, 2015

Kudos to Israel’s Food Industry

Israel celebrated its 67th anniversary last week and as usual there was a great deal written about the extraordinary achievements of the Jewish state in such a relatively short time. Chief amongst the accomplishments mentioned were its leadership in high-tech development, agriculture, and defense, so dramatically displayed in last summer’s Gaza War as the Iron Dome technology saved a significant portion of the 8.3 million people who now live in Israel. Perhaps missing in all of the accolades showered on the Jewish state was its food sector, which like America does not have a national cuisine but rather consists of the products of a melting pot, owing to immigration from over 90 countries.  The kosher market in America owes a good deal of its recent success to the many quality Israeli products that make their way here. In fact, as reported last month in Kosher Today, Israel’s export of food and beverages to North America had risen to a record $260 million in 2014.

Israel has used its innovative prowess in agriculture and high-tech to significantly upgrade its food production. It concurrently used modern graphics, design and packaging to position its food and wines on the global market. The development of its wine industry is a fascinating story by itself that is punctuated by the many international awards its wines have secured. Israel itself is an estimated $25 billion market, making it an attractive target for trading partners and a good reason why so many countries produce kosher ingredients. I cannot help but flash back a half century ago when Israel’s food industry was more third-world than modern world. Today, Israel is a leader in food production. Many of its chefs are acclaimed world-wide and dining in Israel is a very rereading experience. Lechaim! With a good Israeli wine.