Thursday, October 14, 2010

Health conscious consumers Nosh on Kosher…

Yes, there are traditional Jewish principles that call for a strict observance of Kashrut laws and restrictions, but for the health conscious food critics out there, eating Kosher has become a desirable fix.

Did you know that Kosher means “fit” or “proper” in Hebrew? Kosher is not a style of cooking but rather an ancient set of rules that prescribe how food must be prepared and cooked.

More often, people are realizing that following Kosher rules enable the consumer to eat foods that are not only better for your digestive system, but also employ a slaughtering process that is much more humane. Many people, regardless of religion, believe that “kosher” is synonymous with “healthy”, leading to a growing demand that has manufacturers producing increasing numbers of products for the multibillion dollar kosher food market. Animals that are slaughtered and found to have disease or punctured in any way are considered non-kosher. The reason why so many people are choosing kosher foods is because they know there is a second set of eyes supervising each manufacturing process. For example, in the milk industry, there is someone ensuring proper conduct from the time that a cow is milked, to the milk being pasteurized, and finally to the shelves in your local grocery store. In many instances, non-kosher milk can be mixed with goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and pig’s milk along with various other ingredients that you are unaware of. It is safe to say that when choosing a kosher brand of milk, the quality of the product is ensured.

Americans across the country are snapping up kosher food products knowing that they are under strict Jewish dietary laws. They believe that it is a safer choice amid fears of mad cow disease and bacterial contamination. Kosher laws are stricter than the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards when it comes to the health of animals that can be eaten. They closely monitor what each animal is fed, how they are killed, and how they are processed. This adds another element of “safety” to the food that you eat. The market for kosher food has received an extra boost from several food scares in recent times.

About 60% of the foods you buy in your local grocery store already have the “kosher” stamp of approval with the Kashrut symbol “U” on items like Oreos and Coca-Cola. Over $150 Billion of Kosher certified products are consumed annually. More companies are realizing that having the “U” symbol may lead to an increase in the company’s private label business. Companies like Heinz, Fuze, Hebrew National, Tuscan Dairy Farms, General Mills Cereals, Kashi, and Kellogg’s are stamped kosher.

There is clear evidence that a kosher symbol boosts market share and that a kosher product can win more favorable shelf space, and that when positioned next to a competing non-kosher brand, the kosher product will typically have 20% better sales. This data has remained constant even in the smaller cities, far from heavier concentrations of kosher Jews. (Source: Integrated Marketing Communications.)