Kosherfest 2004

Original Article Published On The Jewish Ledger

Kosher – tasty, diverse and healthy – is all the rage

Believe it or not, there are now 82,000 kosher certified products available to consumers. This statistic is one of many fascinating “impressive facts” reported by Lubicon Marketing and Consulting studies and listed in the Kosherfest 2004 Official Directory and Buyers Guide.

Kosher is all the rage. It is increasingly tasty, trendy, diverse and healthy. And it is big business here and around the world.

Attendees at Kosherfest 2004, held Oct. 26-27 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, had a chance to read statistics (“the kosher market has a dollar value of $6,750,000,000), attend seminars (two examples: “The Low-Carb Scene: Passing Fad or Ethnic Opportunity,” and “Marketing Pareve to a Health Conscious Mass

Market”), see, touch and (most importantly) taste many new kosher products first hand. As this was my fourth Kosherfest, I entered with a “strategy” – I’d visit the Connecticut vendors, see what’s new from Israel, check out people who came from such faraway countries as Australia, Argentina and Hungary, stop by the folks from more unusual American states – including Kentucky, Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota – and finally see if I could spot new trends or unusual products.

Delegates are invited to sample foods, take a brochure (and often a freebie – magnet, pen, bag of chips, candy, etc.), and daven Mincha “every half hour, on the half hour” (as the signs advertise).

What follows is a subjective account of one reporter’s “day at the fest.”

Local Businesses

I was pleased to see two companies from the Nutmeg State who I had met last year.

Asian Menu Sauces ( of Stamford, Conn., was again displaying their fine line of sauces, marinades and dips. And Bigelow Tea Company of Fairfield, Conn., ( was offering samples of their flavored teas. I was delighted to learn that flavored teas are now certified kosher for Passover.

Westport Baking Company and The Challah Connection (; a Westport, Conn., company started 10 years ago as a “challah subscription service” and now offering kosher baked goods all over the country, was passing out literature describing the many ways they can work with businesses to “make your baked goods purchases meet your business objectives.”

Vendors from Israel

Kosherfest attendees have all come to love the “Fine Foods from Israel” display which keeps getting bigger and better. This year, more than 40 different Israeli food and beverage companies were in attendance – and they represented hundreds of products – from ice cream, cookies and candies, to prepared meals, deli meats and wines.

The “Fine Foods from Israel” campaign is pleased that U.S imports have risen 60 percent in 2004, and food, beverage and wine production represented 30 percent of Israel’s industrial revenue, or more than $12 million.

So, what’s “hot” from Israel this year?

Israel won several awards in the “new products” competition, including

Jerusalem Gourmet Rugelach (from Jerusalem Gourmet Products) in the Best New Dessert category, Tirat Tzvi smoked marble turkey in the Best New Meat or Deli Item category, and Kineret Nuggets with cheese in the “Best New Israeli Item” category.

Matzot Avid Ltd. of Bnei Brak won the award for its matzah storage box in the best new packaging design category.

I was impressed with the range of deli products displayed by Of Tov Products of Beit Shean, Israel. Of Tov is the largest and most modern state-of-the-art chicken and turkey plant in Israel and the Middle East. They are major suppliers of the McDonald’s restaurant chain in Israel.

Their range of schnitzel (breaded cutlets), grilled products (turkey shwarma, chicken shishlik, and hamburgers, to name a few), and tasty Hod Lavan deli meats (turkey pastrami, turkey breast, etc.) and frankfurters caught my eye. I could only dream of how tasty they would be with one of the many new wines from Israel – including Ella Valley Select Cuvee Semi Dry (Allied Importers) and the eight new selections from Israel’s Noah Winery, imported by the Abarbanel Wine Company.

Dairy food aficionados would be impressed with the range of sheep and goat milk products produced by Pastures of Eden, including goat milk cheese and sheep milk feta Balkan style.

If you are overwhelmed by the choices and momentarily forget which blessing to say after you eat a certain food, try purchasing the Food Blessing Pen, produced on Moshav Netaim. The pull-out blessing page is stored inside the pen and “rolls out” as needed.

Kosher products from around the world
Muller ( of Buenes Aires, Argentina, offers “Argentine Purest Kosher Beef,” and has such products as pastrami, meatballs in tomato sauce, Bolognese sauce, and roast beef in tomato sauce. The Muller brochure notes that “our meat comes in pouch packaging: it does not require refrigeration or special preservation methods. It is meant to keep for long periods of time while maintaining its original flavor.” The brochure then mentions what any kosher traveler likes to hear: “ideal for trips and outings, to take on vacation or for meals at home.”

When I came across Ron Gross and Arie Moses and their beautiful refrigerated display at the Canterbury Foods booth, I wondered how they could possibly get themselves and their wonderful line of Lemnos Foods ( to New York – all the way from Victoria, Australia.

Of course the youghurts, haloumi, feta cheese, ricotta dip, paneer were all shipped and (luckily) arrived at roughly the same time as Gross and Moses.

The cheeses are dually certified, assuring both observant Muslims and Jews that they are in prepared accordance with their dietary laws.

Moses and Gross, like so many at Kosherfest, were in search of a distributor.

Not that Australia only produces kosher cheeses. Gigante Coffee of Victoria, Australia ( proudly displayed their high quality coffee beans, and Beckett’s Flat Winery (“in the heart of the Margarent River Wine Region” of Western Australia) at displayed their kosher wines, including 2003 and 2004 Kosher Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cerise and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Their brochure indicates that they are “seeking international distribution.”

One way to judge the likely success of a new product is by the line at the vendor’s booth. The founder’s of Chip n Dip of Johannesburg, South Africa ( are marketing a rather simple concept: French fries in a cone shaped cup with various topping sauces available. From spicy ketchup to honey mustard to 1000 Island, to garlic and herb, hot chilli and mushroom, customers can enjoy fresh, hot French fries with their favorite toppings “pumped” on top.

Sadly, I didn’t see Danziger Gold from Julianstown, Ireland ( and their line of alcoholic beverages, and I didn’t have time to visit kosher-certified vendors from France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The great States of the U.S.

I was impressed to see some off-the-beaten-track states represented. Daniel Meuers of Roland Marketing of Fridley, Minnesota was displaying Franny’s Organic Jumbo Raisins. Great Skott Foods of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was displaying their line of premium nuts and dried fruits (I loved the dried peaches).

Eagle Ranch Pistachios of Alamogordo, New Mexico (http://www.eagleranchpistachiosm) was displaying their line of Heart of the Desert products, including pistachio nuts, pistachio brittle, pistachio caramel popcorn and pistachio crunch. And their pistachios now come in green lime and lemon-lime flavors!

My Family Farm of Fort Thomas, Kentucky

( was giving out samples of their cookies and crackers, from Artic Bear Lemon cookies, to

Brown Bear Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Cookies, to Surf Snacks Pizza Baked Crackers to Captain’s Catch Cheese Baked Crackers (the closest kosher kids will get to goldfish crackers!). Not only were the products tasty, but they are certified organic and/or all natural, they contain no hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and the company has a mission: “to use earned income to help effective non-profit organizations obtain the resources they need to protect, nurture, and empower children.”

Solomon’s Finest Glatt Kosher Meats made the trek from Bridgewater, South Dakota, while the Agri Processors meat people made the slightly closer trip from Postville, Iowa. The Mitzvah Farms cheese people (owned by Jerry “Yoseph” Abrams) and represented at Kosherfest by Reuvein Jacobs, also came from Iowa. Their town of Waukon is right near Postville. Their cheeses, including A Bis’l Swiss’l, Muenster Mench, Yetta’s Chedda and Hava-Na Varti, and their five types of pizza may soon make their way to supermarkets on the East Coast.

World Harbors of Auburn, Maine ( came to display their four “trendsetting sauces,” including Argentine Style Chimichurri, Cuban Style Mojo, Australian Style Bar-B Sauce and Island Mango.

Kosher Fly-Away LTd ( was asking, “Why shelp when we can ship?” Their company offers glatt kosher meals and Shabbat provisions delivered to your vacation or business destination in the United States, Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom. And LaBriute, for the second year in a row, attracted crowds with their “portable, shelf-stable, self-heating TV dinners” (

Healthy and KosherThere are more ways than ever to eat healthy, organic, low fat and low carb, and you can even take off a few pounds the “kosher way.” The Kosher Diet Club ( promises ways to lose 7-10 pounds the first week and 20-25 pounds in a month through its 13 step program and its diet capsule. Underberg ( offers a “natural herbal digestive” to be used after each meal. Navitco ( offers you a chance to “live long and strong” by using their “new and advanced probiotic formulas.” Maxi-Health Research Inc. ( offers “the path to a healthier future” through use of its kosher supplements. And Laundau offers vitamins, minerals and herbs.

Doctor B’s offers home-cooked, home-served kosherlite meals which are “low fat, low cholesterol and luscious.” (

Luscious sugarfree cookies, brownies, cakes and loaves are available at; you will also find a big selection of wheat free and low carb desserts.

Nana’s cookie bars ( offers a big selection of gluten-free cookies (also: no eggs, no cholesterol, no dairy, etc.) -sugar free, low carb, low fat pasta, pizza, base sauces and pesto/pastes are available at (rosie’s).

Ener-G Foods ( offers gluten, heat and dairy free products and has been manufacturing allergy restrictive foods for over 40 years.

There were a number of organic products on display including Ah!Laska certified organic chocolate syrup and syrup products, and there was a “be organic” display by the Organic National and International Certifiers (

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