Updated: Dec 17, 2019
By Judy Berger | November 27, 2019
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On November 12 and 13, the kosher food industry gathered at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, in Secaucus, New Jersey, for Kosherfest 2019, North America’s only B2B (business to business) trade event custom tailored for the kosher food and beverage industry. According to its website, Kosherfest is the world’s largest and most attended kosher-certified products trade show. More than 6,000 industry professionals were in attendance, with more than 325 exhibitors featuring kosher-certified products and services for the kosher market.
Pickles were well represented this year, with both Guss’ Pickles and Farm Ridge Foods offering samples of their pickle creations, including horseradish-flavored pickle chips. Golden Taste offered samples of a crunchy pickle dip. Pikl’ed gave out samples of their Pikl’Up pickle juice “made with Bronx water” marketed as a sports drink.
This year’s new products competition winners included Zamaze, a mushroom-based meat replacement, De La Rosa’s organic raspberry vinegar and Mikee’s truffle hot sauce in three flavors (original, habanero and cilantro tomatillo.) Other interesting products included a line of vegan cheeses by the brand Sheese, Fruit IQ organic fruit roll, Weighless Cookies and MomPops. Manischewitz displayed a line of flavored Matzo Chips, including dill pickle, horseradish, sea salt, BBQ and everything flavors. Meal Mart offered samples of their sweet italian sausage and new pastrami-stuffed kishka.
Sarra Lorbert, a buyer for the Young Israel of New Rochelle Women’s League Mishloach Manot Project, stated, “The new product that stands out the most was the pickle juice. However, I enjoyed Oxygen’s Hot ‘N’ Sweet Mango Sauce and the dehydrated fruit by Peha. The pineapple was my favorite. It’s nice to see the market becoming more innovative. Last year, I felt vendors were focused only on the gluten-free market. This year, I felt there was more variety.”
Rachel Berger, Westchester’s own Kosher Dinner Lady, attended the event as a small-business owner looking for new products for her cake business. Berger also recalled the pickle juice. “I thought it was a cool product, having just completed the New York City Marathon. One of my fellow runners had mentioned to me that pickle juice was a good way to replenish salt in an endurance event. When you feel yourself cramp up, it delivers sodium to your body quickly and relieves cramps.” Berger added, “Since it is the desserts which interest me the most, I enjoy visiting those vendors, especially seeing the beautiful displays like the Coco Jolie’s chocolate display. I also found a dried coconut milk powder I am curious how I can use in my business. I thought the vegetarian meat products made from mushrooms was interesting because I am not into soy fake-meat products.”
Reflecting on Kosherfest 2019, Berger expressed, “Jewish consumers want products that are available to the rest of the world and companies are trying to provide those things.” Berger explained there were also CBD products. “The kosher industry is trying to keep up with the current food trends outside the kosher world and to make them kosher. There are now lots of gluten-free, cauliflower-based items and meat substitutes with hashgacha catering to help Jewish people eat with specific lifestyles.”
A first-time participant this year was Elli Kriel of Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, serving Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. “When I heard about Kosherfest, I jumped at the opportunity. Being a new entrant to the market, I felt it was the ideal platform to launch myself to the kosher world, especially the U.S. market.”
Kriel continued, “The majority of my clients are from the U.S. and as I am new, and relatively unknown, I perceived it to be a direct way to reach my potential audience. I am also looking for suppliers of good-quality kosher products and I was exposed to a wonderful range of goods that would assist me in delivering a high-quality service to my clients. My ultimate aim is to find ways to better develop my service to travelers to Dubai. Keeping kosher in the UAE is entirely possible as there is a broad range of kosher products available. The majority of products in the stores are imported and many arrive already bearing a hechsher, which is an advantage to us.”
Kriel concluded, “I think Kosherfest is a great place for vendors to meet and promote their products. It is a wonderful market place where anyone involved in the kosher food market can showcase their products and services.”
By Judy Berger