October 15, 2012

What My Shopping Spree Taught Me

While thousands visited parks, museums, amusement parks and other attractions as part of the obligatory Chol Hamoed (interim days during the Sukkot holiday), I took a day visiting supermarkets and large kosher stores as part of an annual ritual adopted several years ago. At each stop, I learned that there is so much new in kosher. 

At Pomegranate in Flatbush, I focused on the new “nosh” items that were big this holiday season. At Fairway in Red Hook, I took in the aroma of the freshly baked breads and pastries, but also marveled at the sheer number of kosher products in every aisle, including many gluten-free items. On the Upper East Side, I was taken by the fresh red color of the meats at Prime Butcher Baker and even enjoyed the prepared chicken cutlets that my grandchildren swore came from a fast food place but “tasted much better.” At Whole Foods in Lower Manhattan, I observed the ever-expanding line of kosher foods.

What I also noticed during my New York shopping excursion and later that week in South Florida, is the growing number of flavored kosher seltzer and even water. Shoppers may have noticed the growing kosher section at Publix and the virtual kosher store at the Aventura Winn-Dixie. What struck me is the differences in merchandising by each store. 

For example, in most stores one is likely to find 2-3 brands of hummus, always including Sabra, but in Fairway I counted over a half dozen brands including Sonny and Joe’s. What I learned is that if you are really a kosher connoisseur, you owe to yourself to do the tour for you will discover new products at almost every stop. No wonder that when I completed my tour, I had a trunk full of new and interesting items.