February 3, 2009

Mintel Report a Confirmation of Strength of Kosher

The latest 2009 Mintel report on the state of the kosher food market confirms that Americans of all backgrounds continue to covet kosher products. Most encouraging for the kosher food industry is that Americans continue to value kosher because of its additional supervision and perceived quality. The Mintel survey seems to reaffirm that the significant negative publicity surrounding a major kosher meat packing plant had little or no effect on the perception of Americans that kosher is better and healthier for you. There were, however, some findings that do pose a challenge for the industry. One significant finding was that kosher has a perception of being more expensive. In reality, many dairy and meat products are more expensive but the majority of products on supermarket shelves are not.

While the news is encouraging that Americans are buying kosher food products, it is important to keep an eye on the core consumer group, Jews who eat kosher, who are essentially the engine that drives this market. The study would seem to confirm that the numbers for this group have not appreciably grown, but it is also clear that they remain a steady “brand loyal” group of consumers that add value to any retail establishment. The study also confirms the growing prominence of Wal-Mart as a kosher destination and highlights the prominence of younger consumers as a driving force in the kosher market.

The report was issued at a time when the full supply of kosher meat is still tenuous. Some markets have never resumed supplying kosher meats while sporadic shortages continue in many large markets. There were some that had predicted that the 2008 events in Postville would result in irreversible damage to kosher. These prophets of doom, at least according to Mintel, were proven wrong.