Italy Kosher Union

Kosher around the world

A selection of articles about Kosher

Organic growth continues in Italy. Sales boom also for vegan, kosher and halal products.




It is Kashèr now half of the food sold in American supermarkets.

One wonders if it is for the most humane treatment that this implies on the animal in the case of meat, or if it is to eliminate the risk of finding insects and foreign bodies in vegetables. Certainly kosher food is above all a guarantee of quality, which, in a world of bad and unhealthy food, is increasingly sought after. Sue Fishkoff talks about it in his book Kosher Nation.

Kasher Food That Likes Non-Jews.

Non-Jewish kosher food
Maurizio Molinari
The new fashion has produced a turnover that now reaches 200 billion dollars. “Americans buy these foods because they are synonymous with purity”

“Hebrew National” hot dogs in the Super Bowl Dolphin Stadium, ritual slaughter courses for future farmers at the University of Mississippi, Gatorade drinks authorized by the rabbinate and a $ 200 billion product market: Kosher food is rampant in supermarkets and in the homes of the Americans thanks to the fact that it is mainly the non-Jews who consume it, considering it even healthier than the organic one.
Numbers describe the new fashion trend. If in America annual food sales add up to 500 billion dollars, the proportion of products packaged according to Jewish food standards (kosher means “permission”) goes from one third to half, with a considerable leap forward compared to what happened in 1993 when sales stopped at 32 billion.

If one adds that Jews make up less than 2 percent of the 300 million Americans, and that most do not eat kosher, then there is a boom in purchases by non-Jews which, according to Sue Fishkoff author of the new “Kosher Nation », They discovered this type of food thanks to a 1972 TV spot in which Uncle Sam could be seen devouring a« Hebrew National »hot dog – of beef and not of pork – while a voice in the background said« We respond to a higher Authority , trust us, we are kosher ». In Nixon’s America, crossed by protests and mistrust, it was a message that worked to clear a type of product with previously a Jewish clientele.

But the real leap in quality in large-scale distribution has taken place in the last ten years following the rampant fear of contamination of food, allergies and ingredients that has transformed «kosher food» into a safe product because it comes on sale after a myriad of meticulous checks . The survey conducted by the “Mintel” research center attests that “only 15 percent” of buyers are driven by “religious motives”, while for the rest, as Larry Finkel of the market analysis company “Packaged Facts” explains, “The reason for the purchase is food safety and the fear of consumers because kosher is synonymous with purity”. And this is explained by the fact that Jewish food laws include the extraction of all blood from meat, the prohibition of mixing meat and milk, the total prohibition of seafood, the absence of pork and the scrupulous control of each type of fat offering consumers a guarantee of superior quality even for organic foods.

A Cornell University study shows that around 40 percent of all foods in circulation are kosher, which explains the choice of major supermarket chains – Wal-Mart, Costco and Trade Joe’s – to offer these products on the shelves, while in New York, the popular FreshDirect home delivery service says that in 2009 as many as 30 percent of the purchases were kosher. The consequences are a rainfall: producers are multiplying who want to kosher food, as well as rabbis and controllers specialized in carrying out checks. And at the University of Mississippi, “poultry science” teachers have begun to teach future farmers the techniques of ritual, Jewish and Islamic slaughter. The mass trend also resisted the scandal of Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat treatment center in America, which was closed in 2008 because it employed illegal workers. The decision of many customers to boycott the products was in fact followed by an increase in the offer of the competitors

The United States is the largest kosher food market in the world and consumer demand has exploded in recent years.

International letters
Boston, 12/3/2010
Leanne Kilroy Borghesi, 12 March 2010
Kosher products to conquer the New World. Americans notoriously eat badly but in recent years, even in the country of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, tastes are changing. After the recent food contamination scandals, while the rate of obesity and allergies are on the rise, the topic is on the agenda. These concerns have been corroborated by mass media culture with films like Food, Inc. (finalist this year in the Oscar-winning best documentary), and the highly successful books by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) and In Defense of Food (2008). Even the First Lady Michelle Obama, with her garden in the White House garden and the national campaign against adolescent obesity, joined the crusade for healthy eating. According to a survey conducted by Mintel, 70% of Americans pay increasing attention to their diet. For many of them this means procuring products with the kosher label.
The United States is the largest kosher food market in the world and consumer demand has exploded in recent years. But what is meant by the word kosher? To be considered kosher food must conform to ancient Jewish laws, called kashrut, which prescribe, among other things, the breeding of animals and slaughter carried out according to traditional rules, cleaning of carcasses with salt and water, and prohibition of pork and seafood, as well as the mixing of meat and dairy products. Currently the processed foods can receive the kosher certification from specialized rabbis, the mashgihim, who strictly control their ingredients and production methods, even going as far as to inspect the hygienic conditions of the farms where they are produced and packaged (this has not prevented the affirmation on the world market of kosher food producers in Beijing). The kosher label, with all the quality controls it guarantees, opens the door to a market whose value is estimated to exceed ten billion dollars only in the United States. Thanks to careful monitoring of the products by mashgiim, many consumers believe that kosher foods – which according to a recent Cornell University study make up about 40% of food sold in US grocery stores – are less susceptible to quality contamination higher, and therefore healthier. Another Mintel survey informs that three out of five consumers buy kosher primarily for food quality. Less than one in six, however, would look for the kosher label for religious reasons.
Kosher foods are actually sought after by non-Jewish American consumers for a variety of reasons. Some buy kosher meat because they believe that the method of slaughter – which involves an almost instant death of the animal – is more human. Others believe – even if it is not scientifically proven – that washing the carcass with water and salt reduces the risk of diseases such as, for example, salmonella. Even Muslims, moreover, can choose certified kosher foods as long as they conform, like most of them, to halal standards. Finally, there are those who, like vegetarians, vegans, and those who suffer from food allergies, appreciate kosher foods as they signal the presence of even traces of dairy products, meat and gluten. However, the Jewish authorities are cautious in establishing a link between the word kosher and healthy eating. The Jews who respect the Kashrut laws – of biblical origin, but reinterpreted according to the contingent needs – do it not for hygienic reasons: the final aim is to submit to the divine will. On the website of the Orthodox Union, the largest kosher certification company in the world, Rabbi Joseph Grunblatt argues: “We do not intend to imply that kashrut laws are to be considered hygienic and nutritional regulations, even if someone has supported it. We would be in trouble if we were to prove that kashrut compliance is good for our health ». In fact, while kosher products are increasingly sought after, a part of public opinion criticizes what some consider a simple “fashion”. An article on the rise of the kosher market published last month in the “New York Times” has generated many reactions from readers. While many have applauded the standards of kosher products and the legendary goodness of the chicken produced according to the kashrut law, others have deprecated the methods of slaughtering (which do not conform to the American laws requiring the stunning of animals before killing), considered barbaric and bloody. Of all of them, Pat from Tennessee is probably the one that best hit the question: “The Hebrew National frankfurters are excellent and in my opinion this is the only thing that matters”.

A Strategic Choice For Who Exports Quality.

The coordinator of the Italy Kosher Union speaks
A strategic choice for those who export quality
Oil, wine, pasta, tomatoes: in many countries certification helps to sell
As evidence that the Kosher certification is a business card for exports that more and more Italian companies are convinced to include in their wallets, the intense activity of different companies that also offer this type of service in our country. Among these, there is IKU (Italy Kosher Union), a young and dynamic reality, about ten years old, which bases its work, as the coordinator Piha Meyer tells us, on the application of the strict principles of the Torah with the most modern technical and scientific applications available for controls in the agri-food sector.
Dr. Meyer, why should an Italian farm be interested in Kosher certification?
It should be all those companies, small and large, producers or processors, who want to consider the idea of ??making their presence more effective on some important foreign markets. The United States, in this case, represent the most concrete example and, for Italian companies, they carry a double added value. First of all for the vastness of the area, the presence of millions of people who follow the Jewish religion and as many who identify kosher certified products as synonymous with healthy and quality products, regardless of their denominational ideas. The second added value is inherent in the image of the Italian product, which in that country is obviously respected, known and appreciated. Just to understand, in the United States there are large-scale retail chains that sell their branded products (those that are Coop, Carrefour products, etc.) with a Kosher certification …
What services are provided to those who go to the IKU?
We propose a work methodology that focuses on innovation and rigor. Kosher certification has always been ensured by the rabbis. At one time, due to the type of traditional workmanship typical of the agricultural world, this was enough and advanced. Today the processes are more complex, the companies use machinery, often products of different origin and composition are mixed. Here, then, that the instrumentation allows for a supplementary investigation, allowing us the certainty of the result thanks to the use of effective tools. This obviously applies more to certification in large food processing industries, which uses additives once unknown. In this case we also come to carry out DNA analysis to verify the origin and characteristics of animals possibly present in a compound. What is your typical customer?
It is obvious that the Kosher in Italy, although constantly growing, remains a niche sector, for which a great communication effort is still needed. In fact, companies often come to us attracted by the business perspective, perhaps based on word of mouth, which then show that they have no clear ideas or real needs with respect to certification. If, on the other hand, the characteristics of the company and the products are well suited to penetrating highly receptive markets with respect to certification, then this choice becomes strategic. I could cite companies that have settled the annual budget after having certified themselves. Others who have literally left the brink of crisis. It is clear that I would not recommend certifying at any cost to the owner of a company that perhaps produces anonymous cookies that in the United States cannot become competitive just because they are kosher. Those who produce “Made in Italy” such as pasta, wine, oil, preserves, can instead look at this opportunity with great interest, also counting on the fact that certifying a primary agricultural product is not as complex as doing this operation for an industrial product that provides a complex mixture of ingredients. Our young history is full of success stories among the companies we have followed. Customers who have been loyal, establishing relationships and requests for services with us that continue over the years.

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