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From: "Leonard Pulver" 
Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish,can.general,soc.culture.usa,soc.culture.australian,us.pol
itics
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 7:22 AM
Subject: US kosher food market estimated at $165 billion [was:Re: Kosher Tax
= NO WAY



 Dec. 24, 2003
 US kosher food market estimated at $165 billion

 By YEHEZKEL LAING


 The kosher food market in the US totals some $165
 billion and is growing at a rate of 15 percent annually
 according to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC),
 a New York-based consulting firm for the kosher
 industry.

 According to IMC, nearly 10,000 companies produce
 75,000 kosher food products, and approximately 3,000
 new products are being introduced into the market
 annually. IMC also said sales have risen dramatically
 in the past few years. In 1988, sales were estimated at
 $30b., $35b. in 1994, $45b. in 1996, $130b. in 1998,
 $150b. in 2002, and are expected to reach $200b. by
 2005.

 An idea of just how big the industry has become could
 be seen at 15th annual Kosherfest convention held a
 month ago at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention
 Center. The convention, which started with only 59
 booths and less than 1,000 visitors in its first year,
 had nearly 500 booths and more than 12,000 visitors
 this year.

 Estimates on the number of kosher consumers range from
 as low as a million to as high as 80 million. A report
 released this year by Mintel International, a consumer
 intelligence firm, said that 28% of Americans [some 80
 million people] buy kosher food products "with the full
 knowledge that the product that they are buying is
 kosher, and with the intention of buying a kosher
 product."

 It also said that if more of the respondents were aware
 of the kosher symbols on many of the top brands, the
 percentage would be higher.

 The main kosher certifier in the US is the Orthodox
 Union. Rabbi Mordechai Kuber, who is the Kashrut
 Coordinator for the Orthodox Union in Israel, said the
 number of kosher consumers in the US is much lower.

 "Those who buy kosher regularly are mainly the
 Orthodox, which is approximately 15-20% of Jews," Kuber
 said. This translates into some 1 million people out of
 a total US population of almost 300 million. In spite
 of the small number of consumers he said as much as 90%
 of the processed food market in the US is kosher
 certified.

 If the number of consumers is so low, then why is the
 number of kosher products so high? Simple, said Kuber:
 Most observant Jews live in concentrated areas in major
 metropolitan centers, and "it is these centers which
 set the buying patterns for the rest of the country. If
 the major supermarket chains have 10-15 stores in areas
 in which Jews live, then they want kosher food for
 these stores... Because the chains buy in bulk they
 will then order kosher foods for all of their say 300
 stores."

 Whatever the number of consumers is, all agree that
 Israeli companies hold only a very small piece of the
 market. Israeli companies, which find it hard to
 compete in the regular kosher market, mostly provide
 specialty items, such as middle eastern foods, pickled
 items, matzot, and wines, said Kuber.

 Exports of Israeli kosher foods to the US are expected
 to reach $75 million in 2003, according to the Kosher
 Today monthly trade publication. This would be a 15%
 increase over the $65m. sold in 2002. Part of the
 growth is attributed to the "Fine Food from Israel"
 campaign launched a year ago by Zohar Peri, Israel's
 economic attache to North America.

 (C) 1995 - 2003 The Jerusalem Post.


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