October 27, 2008

Missing Kosherfest can be costly

The kosher community will gather in Secaucus next week for the 20th annual Kosherfest. An advanced glimpse at the floor plan gives every indication that this year’s show will be one of the best in terms of the mix of exhibitors and products. I am also very excited about the return to the Meadowlands Exposition Center, which always projected more than just a trade show. It was, as many people told me, “a happening.” The entire building was filled with Kosherfest exhibitors and visitors. Indeed, the surrounding hotels also became part of the happening.
While the show is sold out, I have heard of people who are planning to skip the show for a variety of reasons. “Same as last year!” Not so. Nearly a third of this year's show will be made up of new exhibitors and upward of 300 new products. For exhibitors not returning, they will miss several hundred new buyers including many from many large discount stores. “Not in New York City!” Less than 15 minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel, it is faster to get to Secaucus than going across town in Manhattan. Hotels are significantly less expensive and you can still enjoy the Big Apple. “Bad Economy!” True, but kosher continues to grow, witnesses the many new products, stores and foodservice venues in just the last few months. “So what if I skip a year!” If you’re in the kosher food industry that’s an awful long time to give up. One exhibitor who has been coming for many years told me: “The show is not doing it for me anymore.” What he meant was that he wasn’t picking up any new business. Strange, but someone just down the aisle picked up more than a dozen new accounts. Bottom line: If you’re in the food industry and kosher is important to you, staying home can be costly!