July 14, 2015

Selling Kosher in the Summer

I have often marveled at just how quickly there is a realignment of the kosher scene in the summer, over such a short period of time, just 9-10 weeks. Loyal customers virtually say goodbye to stores they frequent all year long and suddenly become customers of summer stores in places like the Catskills. There is the period of “the three weeks” that ends on Sunday July 26th, which includes the Nine Days (of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples), a time when there is a refrain from meat and dairy products are consumed. Tens of thousands of kosher adherents travel throughout the world, searching for quality food wherever it is available.

Yet, it is also a time of preparation for the lucrative High Holy Days period in September, the second busiest time of the year for the kosher food industry. Although as a marketer, there is much to take notice here; most of those with whom I chatted about this simply shrug it off with “it’s the Jewish calendar!” What they mean is that this is an industry that is inextricably linked to the Jewish calendar. Every seventh day, there is a holiday known as the Shabbat or Shabbos. So there are 52 holidays for those who strictly observe kashrus and then there are the real holidays. I always remind people of the quote from noted comedian Jackie Mason, “the Jewish holidays are either early or late; they are never on time!” As I always make note of to retailers who cater to the kosher market, “your marketing is only as good as your knowledge of the Jewish calendar.” The best gift a store manager can give a new hire is a Jewish calendar with notes about the significance of each.