Eye Sightings

The Consumer Eyes Blog

A Food Trend 5000 Years in the Making

Kosher food has been marching into the mainstream for about a decade, but lately the pace seems to have accelerated. In fact 13% of the adult population now regularly purchases kosher food, a group that includes (among others) Muslims, vegetarians and people with food allergies. Why the sudden kosher boom? On reason could be consumers' increasing concerns about food safety, and the generally held perception that kosher food is made to a higher standard. Or it could be that kosher food occupies a unique food space – a step above ordinary but not as premium (and expensive) as organic and locally-sourced products.

Whatever consumers' reasons, it's clear that more and more food manufacturers are going to the trouble and expense of obtaining kosher certification for their products. The effect has been to turn a kosher seal into almost a given in many aisles in the grocery store, and in turn making it easier than ever before to live an almost completely kosher life.

  • Kosher wine has morphed from sickly sweet to subtle and sophisticated... today's kosher wine market sees double-digit annual growth and produces varieties that have even won awards against non-kosher offerings.
  • One third to one half of all the products in 2011's average supermarket are certified kosher... which translates into $200 billion in annual sales.
  • More than 40% of the kosher foods sold are purchased at Walmart (and over 500 Walmart stores now have a dedicated kosher section).
  • The 'kosher' claim now graces more new domestic food products every year than 'organic' or 'all-natural.'
  • Finally, even Pope Benedict has gotten on board the trend... the Vatican reports that his favorite biscotti come from a kosher bakery!

To learn more about what kosher means, and how the kosher movement is changing the American supermarket, check out Kosher Nation, a well-researched new book by Sue Fishkoff.