Israeli food group G. Willi-Food has forecast that annual turnover could soar by up to 40% as demand for kosher products gathers apace.

President and COO Zwi Williger said the company expects full-year revenue to climb by 30-40% after it posted a set of robust figures for the first six months of the year.

"Demand for innovative kosher products remains strong and we are confident in our ability to leverage our enhanced international platform to become a highly profitable leader in the global marketplace," Williger said.

Willi-Food saw first-half sales rise 30% to NIS127.2m (US$29.9m) with gross profits up by a third to NIS34.2m. Operating income leapt 55% to NIS12.8m.

"Our business is growing rapidly and we remain focused on maximizing long-term profitability and expanding the Willi-Food brand globally," Williger said.

Willi-Food has, however, put on hold plans to enter the US kosher dairy market due to the rising cost of dairy products worldwide.

"We are working closely with our global suppliers to manage rising costs and develop additional resources and have decided to temporarily delay the sale of dairy imports into the US until we have more control over this issue," Williger said.

"We are still pursuing our own dairy import license for our Gold Frost subsidiary with the US authorities, and Gold Frost is still working on new product labeling in compliance with the US Department of Agriculture and kosher regulations, so we will be ready to execute when this cost challenge is resolved."