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By Menachem Lubinsky
New York…Large food manufacturers largely ignore kosher customers while retailers are paying more attention to their kosher base. Few of the large manufacturers advertise in Jewish weeklies and periodicals, but retailers do flag kosher consumers, particularly on the eve of Jewish holidays. Recent studies show that the manufacturers are also lax when it comes to wooing Muslim Americans. But there is evidence that national marketers are paying some lip service to the estimated 6 million Muslims in the US by advertising on Muslim Web sites. The same cannot be said for kosher consumers. “Best Buy even included the phrase ‘Happy Eid’ in a holiday flyer that also mentioned Christmas and Hanukkah last year,” S. Saad Ahmed, director of sales and strategy for the Los Angeles-based Muslim Ad Network, tells Marketing Daily, “which was definitely a kind of olive branch to Muslim Americans.” “Companies like Staples and HSBC are also reaching out to this market, which is worth about $200 billion,” Lisa Mabe, principal of Hewar Social Communications, a digital marketing agency in Washington D.C., tells Marketing Daily. Based on studies by LUBICOM Marketing Consulting and the Mintel Organization, an estimated 12 million Americans buy kosher food products on a fairly regular basis, which does not include ordinary Americans that buy some of the $250 billion in food products that are kosher certified. Marketers have long agreed that the manufacturers may be loosing out on an opportunity to woo more kosher consumers to their brands by ignoring the kosher world. It appears that while the manufacturers may be asleep at the wheel, retailers are increasingly recognizing the opportunities of marketing to kosher consumers, particularly before major Jewish holidays.
Articles are written by Menachem Lubinsky and his international network of correspondents to deliver the latest products and trends in the Kosher market.
New York…by Tova Ross, Kosher Today Features Editor…Keeping kosher is becoming easier, thanks to a number of high tech innovations. Kosher adherents can already use an Apple app “My Grocery Master” to search a database of over 100,000 specialty foods for kosher products in their closest grocery stores. Now comes a new invention: a stick that can detect the presence of pork in any dish. The uni-cultural plastic stick can alert both kosher and Halal eaters to the prohibited pig by using antibodies that react with the non-kosher animal’s muscle tissue. Invented by scientists at the Kazakh National Center for Biotechnology, the stick may not be so necessary for kosher consumers in the US, who rely on some of the 1000 kosher-certifying agencies and rabbis as well as the FDA to properly ensure their food is not contaminated with pork products. Yet the stick comes in handy for Muslims in Kazakhstan (Islam is the dominant religion there), where chefs often use pork in supposedly Halal dishes because it is cheaper than many other meats. Sources told Kosher Today that the stick may be handy for Jews who keep kosher and are frequent travelers around the globe, where food certification standards are not always subject to the strict ones in place in the U.S.
While the stick may not be a practical everyday aid, iBless Food 1.0 by the Davka Corporation can come in more handy. iBless Food 1.0 is a resource guide for Hebrew blessings (brachos) for over 500 different foods. It allows for easy scrolling on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad to discover what type of blessing should be made over fruits, vegetables, and popular snacks and appetizers.
The blessing – both for before and after the food being eaten – is shown in both Hebrew and English transliteration and chanted aloud with each word highlighted as it is said. Additional information about the customs of that particular blessing is also shown.