If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed and "Like" my fan page on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!
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.
San Francisco…While recognizing that this was a trade show that is far from being a show that focuses on kosher, visitors to the NASFT’s (The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Winter Fancy Food Show (Jan 17-19) found that kosher was very prevalent. One trend that is certain to carry over into kosher is the growing number of gluten-free products that were on display. “Gluten-Free” was named one of the top five food trends by the NASFT and visitors say they saw many new kosher certified gluten-free products, including such brands as Earth Source Organics Chocolate, Goody Good Stuff Candy and Health Flavors from Australia. Gluten-Free was already a noticeable growth category at Kosherfest last October and given its prominence here is likely to expand even further at the 2011 edition of Kosherfest. But kosher was prevalent in almost every aisle, including the gourmet cheese (Chalav Yisrael) line by Anderson, many new rugelach and hamentashen products from Chewys Rugulach, Soy Voy sauces, and a relative new kosher Jelly Belly with its many new flavors.
Amy’s, the all-natural and organic food company with a comprehensive line of organic and completely natural wraps, entrees, and pizzas, has branched out into the snack category, allowing those who have their cake and want to eat it too feel better about the fact that only all-natural and organic ingredients are used. Amy’s Organic Cakes, in Chocolate, Lemon Poppy Seed and Orange, is available in regular or gluten-free versions and can be found in the freezer aisle of major supermarkets. Let defrost for a couple of hours for a cool and moist treat, or heat up for a few minutes under a broiler or briefly in the microwave for a warm slice of cake that tastes freshly-baked. Made with no trans-fat and no added MSG or preservatives, and dairy and gluten-free, the cakes are certified kosher under the Ner Tamid K. For more information on product and purchase information, visit Amy’s.
New York…Sales of gluten-free products in some kosher supermarkets has risen by nearly 15%, reflecting a dramatic increase in the consumption of the gluten-free products. Many of the stores say that the sales are not necessarily to people who suffer from Celiac disease, but others who seek to avoid the wheat for a variety of reasons. One storeowner said that doctors are recommending the gluten-free diet as a general prescription for health and well-being. Israel too is in the midst of an explosion of the gluten-free products with some major supermarkets designating specific aisles for the products. At least one new store dedicated to gluten-free recently opened in the Tel Aviv harbor area. The global gluten-free market is set to grow by $1.2 billion over the next five years, to reach $4.3 billion by 2015, according to recent research by Datamonitor. Research by the independent market analyst company expects the U.S. market for gluten-free products to grow by more than $500 million by 2014, making the U.S. contribution to the global market a staggering 53 percent. In its 2007 report on new products, the Mintel Research Organization, a leading consumer goods research organization, reported that while ‘Kosher’ was the most frequently used claim on new products launched in the US during 2007, many of those products were in the special categories of gluten-free, ‘All Natural’ and ‘No Additives or Preservatives. For kosher consumers looking for gluten-free, the offerings have more than doubled in just the past two years. Several Pizza stores have begun to sell gluten-free kosher pizza as have bakeries with a growing number of pastries. The growing interest in gluten-free will also be in evidence at the upcoming Kosherfest in October. Mainstream kosher manufacturers and distributors say that they are “regularly adding gluten-free items.”
The perception that kosher foods are healthier than other foods has led many Americans to embrace kosher fare. While it is true that kosher products certainly do not use pork and in most cases today are devoid of animal foods, it would be incorrect to say that kosher foods are by and large healthy. The recent national obsession with fighting obesity might also target those who observe kashrus. Many observers of the Shabbos would make the case that their diet was high in saturated fats and perhaps not so healthy only on Shabbos. It was as if they made the spiritual case that Shabbos calories simply don’t count. But then came the fad of eating cholent, kishke and kugel on almost every night, and certainly from Wednesday on, and that tore the one day calorie splurge theory to shreds.
With the Jewish community suffering from high rates of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, there is certainly a new awareness of eating healthier. The kosher community has responded in kind with a broad range of low fat, sugar-free, and gluten-free products that offer the kosher consumer an unprecedented choice of healthier items. A Kosher Today reader recently wrote: “As an Orthodox Jew, I feast every seventh day, on numerous Jewish holidays and a seemingly endless stream of organizational dinners, bar mitzvahs, weddings and sheva brachos. It is virtually impossible to control my weight.” Another begged for healthier snacks for his young children from kosher manufacturers. As is the case with every medical or social problem, awareness is the first step towards coming up with a solution. That first step has seemingly been taken by many kosher consumers. It is now time for action. The health of the kosher consumer deserves a serious response!