FILIPINO exporters should tap into the sales potentials of kosher food products as there is growing demand for them in the international market, according to a Jewish religious leader.
Rabbi Joel Weinberger of Star-K Kosher Certification based in Baltimore, Maryland, US, told local exporters and producers in a business briefing in Makati City that kosher products are increasingly being sought in the mainstream consumer market.
In Hebrew, kosher means “fit” or “proper,” and refers to foodstuff that meets the dietary requirements of Jewish Law.
Food manufacturers in North America and Europe, in particular, are looking for new sources of ingredients, and are turning to Asian countries to keep up with demand, Weinberger said during his September 14 talk organized by the Department of Trade and Industry Export Marketing Bureau, Export Development Council and the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport).
Much like the halal products of the Muslim community, kosher products are now growing in popularity beyond the Jewish community. This is because kosher has obtained a “quality claim” that signifies that the food is safer and cleaner, the rabbi told the local audience.
“Nearly 80 percent of all kosher food sales are outside of the ‘traditional’ Jewish market. Over 500,000 products are currently certified kosher and consumers spend over $165 billion on kosher products annually,” he added.
The market has been growing at an annual rate of 15 percent for the past several years and kosher-certified products continue to outsell organic and all-natural products, he added.
He cited recent market research indicating that “kosher” is the most frequently used claim on new products launched in the US, more frequently used than “all natural” and “no additives or preservatives.”
Kosher foods are also finding a place in niche markets, particularly among the vegans, people with lactose or gluten intolerance, and other consumers with health or wellness concerns.
What differentiates kosher from nonkosher is the source of the ingredients and the status of the production equipment used. Kosher certification, which is the guarantee that the food meets kosher requirements, revolves around these two criteria.
The rabbi said Filipino manufacturers can regard kosher certification as a “sales tool” and “a shrewd way for a company to gain market share with minimal investment.”
Weinberger clarified a misconception that kosher means the food has been blessed by a rabbi. He said certification, not blessing, makes the food kosher.
He added that many Philippine products can be marketed as kosher, noting that kosher banana chips are already being exported from the country. He also stressed the potential of coconut products, including coconut flour, to reach a wider market overseas if prepared, according to kosher laws.
The 10 largest Jewish markets in the world are the US, Israel, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.
Philexport News & Features