25th Annual Kosherfest 2013 Encompasses Foods From Throughout the World

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Kosher Culinary Competition Won by New Jersey Chef; More than 6,500 Attended Trade Show

The recently completed 25th anniversary edition of Kosherfest, the annual trade show for the kosher food and beverage industry, drew more than 6,500 buyers and industry professionals to the two-day show at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, offering a case in point to just how far the kosher industry has grown in the last quarter century.

“The mark of any trade show is whether people are conducting business on the floor, and the sense from talking to exhibitors and buyers was that millions of dollars’ worth of business was transacted over these two days,” said Menachem Lubinsky, President of Lubicom Marketing Consulting, who co-produces the annual show with Diversified Business Communications, and was the founder of Kosherfest. “Over the years, we’ve come a long way from the traditional concept of kosher. Kosher today has truly become a worldwide phenomenon.”

This year’s show, which included a 28 percent increase in the number of attendees from just a year ago, shows the important role that major retailers play in the kosher market. Those in attendance included high volume kosher buyers from such companies as Jewel Osco, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, Kehe Foods, Walgreens, Walmart, Gourmet Glatt, and Evergreen.

Kosherfest 2013 featured 350 booths in a sold out exhibit hall, which included 275 exhibitors from throughout the United States, as well as Israel, Argentina, the UK, the Philippines, Brazil and Canada. Introduced for the first time were many new and creative kosher products, including Single Serve k Cup beverages in three flavors – chai tea, pareve cappuccino and hot chocolate, introduced by Corim Industries of Brick, New Jersey – the winner of “best in show” in this year’s New Products Competition.

The 6th Annual Culinary Competition, featuring an “iron chef-style” competition, was won by Chef Casey Colaneri, the executive chef of Sushi Metsuyan Restaurant in Monsey, NY and Teaneck, NJ. Three leading chefs were given 30 minutes to cook one entrée from scratch using only a basket of mystery ingredients representing the kosher market over the last 25 years, and a limited pantry of basic staples. Colaneri received a cash prize of $1,000. The competition was produced in partnership with The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts of Brooklyn.

A number of kosher cookbook authors displayed their latest offerings in kosher cuisine. They included such well-known authors as Susie Fishbein, Joan Nathan, Esther Deutsch and Levana Kirschenbaum.

Industry statistics show that the current kosher customer is 40 and under, and looking for gourmet, upscale and healthy kosher products. According to various sources, the number of kosher consumers in the U.S. tops 12 million, and 21% of Americans who regularly or occasionally purchase kosher products do so because the items are kosher-certified. There are approximately 10,650 kosher producing companies and plants, and 200,000 kosher certified products. Forty percent of kosher sales occur on the eve of Passover, and the dollar value of kosher products produced in the USA is $305 billion. While many of the exhibitors still featured traditional kosher foods such as pickles, pastrami and knishes, it was the gourmet and upscale features of products that attracted industry professionals from all over the globe.

“Who would have believed that kosher sushi would become a basic staple in restaurants, or that there would be a “fake” bacon sausage product, or for that matter that nearly 20% of the show would tout gluten-free products?” said Lubinsky, who moderated a panel consisting of author and consultant Joan Nathan; Albany Law School professor Timothy Lytton; and KeHE Distributors’ Jacob Rusanov; the panel discussed kosher’s journey over the years of transition, growth and opportunity. “There was somewhat of a vision back then that perhaps kosher could be more than a certification; that it would emerge as a cuisine. Incredibly, kosher has exceeded that level and is still rising.”

According to Bill Springer of Diversified Business Communications, “This year’s buyers were excited to see and taste the latest kosher products and see first-hand the trends taking place in the kosher marketplace. They couldn’t help but see the growing role that kosher certification plays in consumer buying.”

Next year Kosherfest will be held November 11-12, 2014 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center with new events, programs and seminars. Updates are available at http://www.kosherfest.com.

Kosherfest is co-produced by Diversified Business Communications of Portland, ME (http://www.divbusiness.com) and LUBICOM (http://www.lubicom.com). Diversified Business Communications, based in Portland, Maine, provides information and market access through face-to-face events, magazine publishing, and online resources on four continents. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, commercial marine, and business management. Diversified operates divisions in Australia, Hong Kong, India, the UK and Canada. For more information, visit: http://www.divbusiness.com. Menachem Lubinsky is the chairman & CEO of LUBICOM Marketing Consulting, a strategic marketing firm that also markets kosher foods. He is the founder of Kosherfest and a prominent figure in the Orthodox Jewish Community.

Note to Media: For information, photos, product samples, recipes, Chanukah food & gifts ideas, and interviews regarding the kosher food industry, please contact Vicki Garfinkel, Andover Communications, 201-947-4133, or vickig(at)eclipse(dot)net.

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Marie Whitney
Diversified Communications
+1 207-842-5619
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