American kosher food manufacturers are
increasingly targeting non-Jewish customers, according to a new report. Integrated
Marketing Communications, a New York kosher food marketing company, found that projected
sales of kosher products are likely to jump around ten per cent this year, to a total of
$50bn.

Once confined to smaller stores in largely
Jewish neighbourhoods, kosher Foods and beverages are now available in 18,000 of the
United States’ 30,000 supermarkets. Non-Jewish customers make up a significant
majority of the market for kosher goods. Scott Bussen, a spokesman for Miller Lite beer
(which recently added visible kosher certification to its cans and bottles) said: “A
fair amount of adult non-Jewish customers value the kosher certification and look for it.
This is clearly something that’s gaining momentum.”

The non-Jewish market for kosher food
ranges from Muslims, whose own dietary restrictions are very similar to those of observant
Jews, to vegetarians and lactose-intolerant consumers who are attracted to varieties of
kosher food that are free of animal or dairy by-products. Others are apparently drawn by a
belief that kosher food has been ‘blessed’ by a rabbi.

But the biggest portion of the market
belongs to those who consider kosher food to be healthier and purer than its mainstream
counterparts. Many kosher companies have focused on health concerns in their advertising,
which now appears in mainstream newspapers and magazines.

Empire Kosher, for example, targets a
broader market with recently unveiled new advertisements that declare: ‘Compared to
kosher, ordinary chicken doesn’t have a chance’. The print advertisements assert
that kosher: ‘Is more than rabbis blessing chicken. It’s an incredibly strict
process that produces the cleanest, healthiest, best-tasting chicken you can buy’.

“The kosher-conscious Jewish market is
growing only slightly, and doesn’t offer much opportunity for new sales,” said
Empire’s president Michael Strear. “That’s why we’re so interested in
the crossover marketing to non-Jewish customers.” The company says observant Jews
made up only 25 per cent of its $120m in sales last year.

Manischewitz, one of the oldest kosher-food
producers, plans a new ad campaign to appeal to a wider, mainstream audience, said Dan
Berkowitz, a product manager. “Telling Jewish customers that we make kosher food may
not be the best thing for us to do, because everyone already knows that,” he said.
“Instead, the ads will tell non-Jewish shoppers that eating kosher food has tangible
health benefits.”

Hebrew National was one of the first kosher
companies to make a concerted push to attract non-Jewish customers, running ads with the
slogan, ‘We answer to a higher authority’. The company, which had sales in
excess of $100m last year, now estimates that nearly 75 per cent of its customers are
non-Jews. “Kosher is the symbol of high quality to many non-Jews,” said National
Foods executive vice president Martin Silver.

Details of reports from Food Industry News Click Here