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New York… “It should come as no surprise that products that were originally positioned primarily for the kosher/Jewish consumer can find significant growth opportunities by ”mainstreaming” their product lines (i.e. having these products participate in the general U.S. food marketplace), is the conclusion of a major paper by Milt Weinstock, a senior marketing consulting and a former Vice President of Grey Worldwide, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. In his paper, Weinstock points to such well-known successes as Lenders Bagels and, of course, Hebrew National with its legendary “We Answer to a Higher Authority”. More recently, Sabra Hummus, originally a Jewish focused brand/ product, “mainstreamed” their line and became the growth leader in the general salads / spread/ dip market, generating +$100M in sales. Weinstock suggests that many kosher products could possibly go the route of mainstream. “Mainstreaming requires a number of disciplines and resources that many current manufacturers and marketers of kosher/Jewish oriented products need to recognize,” the marketing expert says. He says that products must answer a consumer need that is not being satisfied by current “mainstream” options and that the product actually delivers in its brand promise. Getting into the right stores and having a strong shelf presence against “mainstream” competitors, which may sometimes require “slotting allowance” fees, is another major factor on taking a product mainstream.
Weinstock notes that kosher purveyors who want to pursue taking their product to all categories of consumers will have to recognize that going “mainstream” will require an investment in marketing activities, including packaging, promotions
(trade and consumer), PR, and possibly advertising to get the word out. Price sensitivity is another major factor in assuring that consumers are getting a good value, especially in a price sensitive economy. In concluding his presentation, Mr. Weinstock urges patience: “The successful brands that have made the “mainstream” transition, have done it “right” by careful study of the marketplace, even if it took a bit more time than just running out quickly to “succeed”.
New York…by Staff Reporters…Students who eat kosher at Temple University in Philadelphia now have Café 613 to eat some kosher certified matzoh balls. But not too far from the campus is a Whole Foods, the gourmet and healthy culinary mecca, which recently announced that it would begin carrying chicken and turkey (just in time for Thanksgiving) from The Kosher Valley, which is certified by both the OU and K’hal Adath Jeshurun. Kosher chicken broth can be found, from the Pacific Natural Foods brand. Whole Foods also now carries popular kosher product such as Streit’s gluten-free macaroons, cakes, and stuffing mixes, Elyon marshmallows (perfect for vegans who abstain from the gelatin found in non-kosher marshmallows), and Chanukah gelt from Divine Chocolate – the familiar chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, but this time, with Fair trade imprints. The chocolates have a Triangle K symbol. Kashrut-observant NYU students who frequent the Union Square locale of Whole Foods now have a quick and inexpensive way to obtain additional kosher staples off-campus.
The range of products available in Philadelphia are also available in many other Whole Food stores. The organic kosher chicken broth from Pacific Natural Foods was specifically developed for Whole Foods Market, since it meets the company’s strict quality standards. It is made from free-range, grain-fed chickens that are carefully raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones, and are processed according to kosher standards. Additionally, Whole Foods Market customers will continue to find an array of kosher products from Streit’s, the only family-owned-and-operated matzo producer in the U.S. For shoppers who have special dietary needs, Whole Foods Market offers other Streit’s kosher products, including vegetarian and gluten-free macaroons, vegetarian cake and stuffing mixes that are free of hydrogenated oils, artificial preservatives and MSG.
New York…Kosher retailers in many parts of the country are faced with an unprecedented dilemma: What to do with the ever-increasing number of new kosher products. The retailers say that many of the new products are rife for placement in almost every part of the store — grocery, frozen, and refrigerated — but that finding the space is a daunting challenge. It appears that even stores with adequate space, stores that have at least 5,000 square feet are finding it hard to find shelf space for an estimated 300 new products that have been added to distributor lists in just the last six months. It is particularly stressful for retailers that are aware of the quest for the new products, whether a new whole wheat pretzel, a prepared dish with soy, new flavored sauce, or a new variety of couscous. There are many new snack foods in an already crowded snack aisle or flavored beverages in the shelf that often takes up the most space. The problem is compounded by the fact that most existing products have a stable customer base. Said a Queens NY retailer: “Who am I going to throw out to find out whether a new product can sell better than the product it has displaced?” Some stores are making arbitrary decisions, choosing new products that are heavily advertised or that already enjoy broad acceptance.” The retailer cited the Shibolim brand as an example. “I started out with one small display; now I have an end cap plus three shelves of the product. I cut out three flavored rice cakes to make room for the product.”
Retailers nowadays are much more accommodating to new products than in the past. Many of the products are quality items and as has been proven in the past, can add to the bottom line. New products helped the bottom line of many retailers this past Passover, although as is often the case, the products seldom survive the Passover season. What drives sales of new products, say the retailers, is the enormous interest by younger customers to experiment with new items. In many kosher sections throughout the country, an elaborate display of Sushi products has replaced other items.