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Portland ME…Kosherfest 2011, which will take place at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus NJ on November 8-9, will be a major showcase for the growing array of gluten-free products. The rapid expansion of the gluten-free products will be very much in evidence this coming Passover as kosher consumers will have a wide array of new products, including gluten-free matzohs. The global gluten-free market is set to grow by $1.2 billion throughout the next five years, eventually reaching $4.3 billion by 2015, according to recent research by Datamonitor. A majority of that market growth will come from the U.S. foodservice industry, which is expected to grow by more than $500 million by 2014. With the expanding population of Americans affected by celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, demand for gluten-free products and menus continues to climb. The market posted sales of $2.6 billion in 2010, according to Packaged Facts market research.
Kosherfest 2011 is already shaping up to be one of the largest ever. This year’s show is expected to sell out well in advance. In 2010, the show was sold out four weeks before opening day with more than 25 companies being put on a waiting list. Attendance is expected to top last year’s 16% increase, but most importantly, the number of key buyers is also expected to dramatically increase.
Brooklyn, NY…Moshe Semel, one of a handful of remaining family-owned kosher food distributors, is still the man to see at the annual Kosherfest for many manufacturers looking for distribution. After more than three decades at the helm of Quality Foods, Semel shows no signs of slowing down even as a second generation of Semels and Soffers (children of his late partner Eli Soffer) are now part of the company. Gitel Liebler, Mr. Semel’s daughter, marvels at her father’s tenacity to stay the course in a business that has become “cut-throat” and dependant on extremely low margins. Kosher distribution has come a long way from the days when family owned distributors anchored their businesses as regional distributors for Manischewitz, Rokeach or Streit’s. While many of those distributors have long since disappeared from the scene or were swallowed up by large specialty food distributors, Semel and his family is still a leading kosher food distributor. To satisfy larger clients, particularly supermarkets, distributors of certain category foods expanded their offerings to what one competing distributor called “everything goes.” Distribution was no longer for a small breed of expert distributors. As one retailer put it: “Anyone with a truck became a kosher distributor.”
With more than 3400 SKU’s, Quality covers most of the Metro New York area, Pennsylvania and even markets abroad. The distributor has successfully made the transition from the traditional kosher foods of the 1970’s to today’s technologically enhanced products such as items that have an extended shelf life. Mrs. Liebler says that the distributor is very much on top of innovation, even stocking ingredients that are included in popular kosher cookbooks or being the first ones to distribute a new OU certified Tootsie Roll. Quality has also been extremely successful in marketing and distributing foods under such well-known labels as Noam, Chopsie’s, Ungar’s, and Snack Delite to name but a few. Industry sources speak of Semel as “one of the nicest guys in the industry,” and someone who helped many aspiring kosher food entrepreneurs with “credit terms he never should have offered.” After all, Semel was himself at one time a retailer with a popular Boro Park store that he owned together with his late Brother. For Liebler, a defining moment in Semel’s impressive career was a recent company meeting at which Mr. Semel finally found a few moments to attend. “There were all the family members and key salesman in one room with my father sitting at the head.”
Tel Aviv…by Idele Ross, Kosher Today Chief Middle East Correspondent…Ori Fastlich left Kosherfest with a bag of surprises he could not have envisioned when he signed up for his first appearance at the annual kosher food trade show that took place last month. His company Hamim VeTaim took Kosherfest honors in the New Products from Israel Division with its Vegetarian Hot Dog in a Blanket, which is marketed in the US by Blue and White Foods. The Israeli-born businessman also had no clue that his company’s product was a kosher version of the popular American “pigs in a blanket” until KT explained it to him. It subsequently appeared in several press reports. Fastlich said he was interested in perhaps creating kosher versions of other popular foods.
Fastlich told Kosher Today that it was his first time at Kosherfest although his company always sends several representatives. Hamim VeTaim’s products include falafel, potato turnovers, vegetarian egg rolls, meat filled cigars. They are sold primarily to Israel’s institutional food services: hotels, wedding halls and so on. Fastlich said sales totaled some one million dollars. A recent deal signed with Greek importers Veropoulos was based on the company Mediterranean line of appetizers. The Israel Export Institute reports that an initial order is for 50,000 Euros and Hamim VeTaim estimates orders will come to hundreds of thousands of Euros annually. Hamim VeTaim is located in the town of Holon near Tel Aviv and employs 150 people.
Secaucus, NJ…”It was the best show ever!” “It featured the best quality buyers!” “It was the best attended show!” These were some of the comments from visitors and exhibitors alike who participated in the 22nd Annual Kosherfest. But the most encouraging comments came from veteran exhibitors who say that the show has “evolved into a real buying show!” Several exhibitors said that they wrote “substantial” orders during the two day show which took place October 26-27. Some buyers said that they were impressed with many of the new products at the show, particularly those that were gluten-free, a growing category in kosher. One distributor who has been coming to Kosherfest “since its inception” says that he picked up at least a dozen products that he will represent, including 5 new items “I like for Passover.” The success of the show resulted in an unprecedented rush to book space for 2011 (November 8-9, 2011, a reflection of the fact that this year’s edition was sold out weeks in advance of the show.
Secaucus, NJ…Kosherfest 2010, the 22nd edition of the International Kosher Food Trade Show, opens here on Tuesday (October 26th) at the Meadowlands Exposition Center for two days in what organizers say will be the largest and most impressive showcase in its history. Produced by Diversified Business Communications and co-produced by LUBICOM Marketing Consulting, the show will feature some 350 exhibits and host more than 7,000 food professionals from some two dozen countries around the world. The number of products with kosher certification has reached 125,000 in an industry valued at nearly $13 billion in sales, topped only by Israel with an estimated $17 billion in sales. With 13% annual growth amidst the continuing recession, the industry has reason to be optimistic. The show was sold out weeks in advance of its opening tomorrow. The 2010 edition of Kosherfest will mirror some of the latest developments in kosher, including the expansion of kosher in such countries as Canada and Argentina, the rapid rise of healthier kosher foods (i.e. spelt, gluten-free, natural and organic), a much younger market with its demand for many new specialty foods and even targeted cookbooks, and an impressive list of new and exciting products, highlighted by this year’s winners of Kosherfest’s highly coveted New Product Competition.
By Menachem Lubinsky
As preparations for Kosherfest went into high gear this week, all eyes are on the New Product Competition scheduled for October 13th. Hundreds of new products were submitted in what has become an important event for kosher food manufacturers. The conventional wisdom, and indeed the evidence supports it, is that winners benefit from being designated best in a given category and certainly when receiving the honors of being “Best in Show.” But to my surprise, I learned that several winners in the past few years are no longer on shelves. What was thought to be automatic is perhaps not so automatic.
In discussing this surprising finding with several distributors, I was relieved to learn that the new product winners that did not make it were a distinct minority. They pointed to several products including at least one “Best in Show” that literally turned around a business. So is there a formula for success? Is there a message for those products that will be crowned winners? It appears that being the winner is only part of a broader marketing effort that includes merchandising, advertising and public relations. Too often a product is left to rest on its laurels without recognizing that the ultimate judge is not the panel that decides the best product but the consumer. Recognizing that simple fact can make the producer of a new and innovative product a true winner!
Secaucus, NJ…The popularity of kosher cookbooks is seen by experts as one of the major factors in the continued growth of kosher. At this year’s Kosherfest, which opens at the Meadowlands Exposition Center on October 26th for two days, at least five new important kosher books on cooking kosher will be introduced and profiled. Noted author Gil Marks will introduce “The History of Jewish Food.” In a presentation at the show, Marks will cover some stories of the early days of kosher. Kosher supervision began in 1870 when, under the counsel of a Lithuanian rabbi, Israel Rokeach created kosher soap and later brought his soap to New York. In 1923 the H. J. Heinz Company began offering a kosher pickle, and by the 1980s manufacturers were using kosher tanker trucks to haul oils and corn syrup for prepared foods which meant that almost any product could be easily converted to kosher. After Entenmann’s placed its entire line of baked goods under kosher supervision, many other major American food manufacturers followed. Joan Nathan’s who is a pioneer in melding Jewish culture with Jewish cooking is out with “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous, My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.” Ms. Nathan is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and other publications. She is the author of numerous books including Jewish Cooking in America and The New American Cooking, both of which won the James Beard Award and the IACP Award. She was the host of the nationally syndicated PBS television series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on the book. Paula Shoyer’s “A New Era in Pareve Desserts: Introducing The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy” is expected to be a big hit. Ms. Shoyer will be discussing her book at Kosherfest and explain why she wrote The Kosher Baker. She teaches classes in Jewish cooking and baking and French pastry in the Washington, DC area and around the United States. She has appeared on NBC Washington’s “Quick Bites”, WGN Chicago’s “Lunchbreak,” Martha Stewart Living Radio and The Kosher Baker has been profiled in newspapers, magazines and websites from coast to coast. Suzie Fishbein, the award-winning author of the Kosher by Design series is out with her newest book “Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings. Susie’s wildly successful series has already sold over 400,000 copies worldwide and has led to hundreds of appearances by Susie from coast-to-coast and Canada. She has been the featured celebrity guest on cruise ships as well as at a week-long culinary adventure in the Galil in Israel. Profiled in the New York Times and on CNN, Susie has been named one of the 50 most influential Jews by the Forward.
New York…Hundreds of new products, to be featured at Kosherfest 2010, October 26-27 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, will be competing in the annual New Product Competition. This highly anticipated event in the kosher food and beverage industry will once again showcase the best new certified-kosher products in 17 categories. The judging takes place on Wednesday October 13th at the JCC of Manhattan. The distinguished panel of judges includes Yakov Yarmove, Business Development Manager, Ethnic Marketing & Specialty Foods, SuperValu; Jeff Nathan, Chef/Proprietor, Abigael’s;
Michelle Gross, kosher consumer; Jennifer Goran, Director of Culinary Arts, JCC Manhattan; Randi Hershkowitz, kosher consumer; and Marty Stein, Account Manager, Tree of Life.
Some of the new products that will be showcased at Kosherfest include the following: Main Menu’s 100% Natural Turkey loaf and Chicken loaf (a new company from A&B Famous Gefilte fish), Au’some’s Super Mario Snerdles candied fruit strips, Cal Delight’s Microwaveable Instant Chinese Meals (no water added), California Delight’s Sriracha Sauce and homestyle spaghetti sauce, Lieber’s Deli Orange Citrus sauce, Joburg Kosher Biltong and Boerewors (100% dried and cured beef products from So. Africa), Roland grilled ready to serve vegetable packs, Roland Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, Holy Cow Kosher jerky snacks (turkey is the new flavor), Tribeca Ovens Bread from the Hearth all Natural Artisan breads, Klein’s Frozen yogurt with live active cultures, Oshra Tishbi Wine & fruit preserves (fig cabernet, Cherry Shiraz), Acme Fish Herring Dill sauce, Pereg Gourmet’s Whole Wheat Couscous, & Spinach couscous with pine nuts, cranberries and fried onions), Pereg Gourmet’s Golden Crumb Fine Panko and gluten-free spices, Gabila’s Heat & Serve matzoh balls, mini egg rolls, potato pudding and fat-free soufflés, newly packaged U-Bet syrups from H. Fox Syrup Company, from Madrid Bodegas Sanviver “bag in a box of 3L Sangria” as well as kosher vermouth and mojito alcoholic cocktails, Pharmadus ‘Helps for Little Tummies’ (organic herbs for tummy aches, colds and rehydration), Of Tov fully cooked chicken breast with BBQ seasoning, Molly’s Gourmet meals (one dish heat and serve meals), Tulkoff’s Thai coconut sauce, smoky chipotle sauce and tikka masala sauce, chipotle chili aioli and Tiger sauce dressing, Abeles & Heymann refrigerated hot dogs with no nitrates or nitrites added (also reduced fat, reduced sodium and gluten-free hot dogs), Lily Bloom’s Kitchen chocolate macaroons, Wafu Japanese-style wasabi edamame and ginger carrot dressings, dips and marinades, Jack’s Gourmet sausages (sweet Italian, Spicy Italian and Chorizo Mexican style), Mouts De P.O.M. sparkling lemonade and sparkling grape juice, Aviva Sugar free Light Cookies, Maya Company’s candies infused with nutritional supplements and probiotics, Gaya Organic Olive Oil, Katz’s gluten free baked goods (cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, kishka and farfel), Webber’s Original gluten-free and all natural pepper relish, Shabtai Gourmet gluten free bon bons, honey cake and chocolate chip biscotti, Neptune kosher seafood (smoked trout, char, mackerel, herring and salmon), Kolatin Real Kosher Gelatin, Davidovich high fiber bagels, Cherry Herring & Herring Coffee Liqueur, Mimicreme 100% natural non-dairy and non-soy creamer and dairy substitute, Rotelli’s Italian Bakery (complete line of buns, breads, ciabatta, Texas toast), Mountain Breads with only three ingredients-no yeast, dairy, oil or stabilizers (Australia), Garlic Expressions 100% natural dressing and marinade.
Secaucus NJ…The 22nd edition of Kosherfest (International Kosher Food Trade Show) which opens on October 26th is nearly sold out, but the show already appears to be setting the stage for many developing stories. The international flavor of the show at the Meadowlands Exposition Center will be highlighted by large pavilions from Israel, Canada and Argentina as more countries focus on the rapidly growing kosher market. Other nations that will be represented include Australia, China, Lithuania and Spain. The show will include more than 40 new exhibits, including many spelt, gluten-free, and organic items as well as all of the major bellwethers of the kosher food industry. This year’s New Product Competition is certain to be of major interest to the trade as many purveyors are set to roll out some new and interesting items, including many for Passover. Menachem Lubinsky in his keynote address will focus on the demographics of the new kosher consumers and the opportunities for the industry. Jory Weissman, Vice President of Mibar.net, will discuss “Sustaining Profitability and Customer Service in the Food and Beverage Industry: Building Loyalty, Value, and Safety through Technology.” Kosherfest’s 3rd Annual Culinary Competition is again expected to draw many leading kosher chefs.
Award-winning kosher cookbook author Susie Fishbein and her publisher ArtScroll will be releasing her next cookbook, Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings: Cooking for the next generation. Ms. Fishbein will be in the Kolatin booth. Mishpacha Magazine will be unveiling Kosher Inspired, a new bi-weekly kosher magazine. The kashrus at this year’s Kosherfest will be under the auspices of AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations).
By Menachem Lubinsky
The Summer Fancy Food Show last week at New York’s Javits Center was yet another opportunity to keep in touch with the many people I know in the food industry. In some ways, I found the show pretty much a mirror of the way I came to know the event nearly 25 years ago with some exceptions, of course. There were some distinct differences, particularly when it comes to kosher, yet another indication of the strides that kosher has made in just the last quarter of a century. The number of booths that touted their kosher symbol was unprecedented, as was the listing in the Directory (some 350 booths) under the “kosher” category and the sheer number of new products in the Focused Kosher Showcase. There were several booths from the larger kosher food companies that are at the center of Kosherfest but only another booth at the Fancy Food Show. But most impressive were the number of exhibitors and visitors who were clearly from the kosher community and the booths that posted their kosher certification.
Gil Marks, a close friend and author of several kosher cookbooks, pointed out some of the new trends that he witnessed at the show. On the verge of completing an unprecedented Encyclopedia on Jewish Food, Gil pointed to the many booths showcasing Greek Yogurt and the significant increase of natural and organic products. I noticed that “new” does not necessarily mean new, just tweaked. It might be the shape of a bottle for honey or olive oil or a fusion of flavors that was not classical. The blend of flavors was also very much apparent in the gourmet sauces. But then there were the traditional pastries, cheeses, confectionary and even gift baskets. You could always wash down the oodles of samples that were offered with a new flavored natural passion fruit drink. A buyer from a specialty store who recognized me from Kosherfest said: “This is huge and interesting but no show offers the buzz that Kosherfest does.”