By Menachem Lubinsky and KT Staff Reporters
The lead kashrus story in 2013 was the kashrus scandal, discovered right before Pesach at a glatt kosher meat store in Los Angeles, where video by a private investigator showed the owner unloading “questionable” meats during a mashgiach’s break. The LA scandal led to many changes and new protocols by kashrus agencies, led by the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO).
Kosher continued to be a growth category in 2013, albeit that the range of growth was from 20% in some large Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods to flat sales over Pesach in some secondary markets due to changing demographics. The explosion of kosher received recognition from none other than Forbes, which in a major article titled “Is Kosher The Next Big Food Trend?” spoke of the opportunities for kosher. The writer notes: “Still I selected the kosher option based on my believing that it meant the food was better than the non-kosher option. And this common view that kosher is somehow better, purer, and healthier than non-kosher foods is an opportunity for the kosher food industry.”
Other stories of note in 2013 were the popularity of Greek Yogurt in Cholov Yisroel Markets with the category growing nearly 100% in one year. The trend was led by Norman’s, which in recent months was joined by Mehadrin. Norman’s recently introduced a variety of 100 calorie Lite Greek Yogurt.
Gluten Free products seem to have taken the kosher market by storm, including many products for Pesach, despite the fact that only 3% of Americans are said to suffer from celiac disease. Somehow the perception is that gluten free is healthier.
A Single Serve k Cup Single Serve Coffee in three flavors – chai tea, pareve cappuccino and hot chocolate – introduced by Corim Industries of Brick, New Jersey, was selected as this year’s Best in Show in Kosherfest’s 2013 New Product Competition
The “knaidel” suddenly became a familiar word in the US as Arvind V. Mahankali, who won the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee last Thursday, spelled it correctly. Acclaimed kosher cook author Gil Marks in his definitive Encyclopedia of Kosher Food (Wiley, 2010) agrees with the spelling and defines knaidel as a “dumpling.”
Imports of Israeli food products continued to soar in the highly competitive kosher food market. With sales surpassing $200 million in the US, the Israeli foods are a significant segment of the lucrative kosher market.
The rise of huge upscale kosher supermarkets came to Monsey NY with the opening of Evergreen.
A ban on kosher slaughter in Poland was the subject of protest in Jewish communities around the world, including Israeli President Shimon Peres. Strangely it came at a time when kosher slaughter had become a $250 million business for Poland.