In New York, the city with the largest number of Muslims and Jews in the U.S., it’s a normal thing to see hungry people of all races, religions, and ethnicities lined up at the street corner halal meat cart or the local kosher deli.
But lately it’s not only worldly New Yorkers flocking to foods with these religious certifications. As mainstream shoppers seek out safer and more ethical foods, kosher and halal supermarket brands are working to appeal beyond their traditional niches.
Macaroons are a great dessert even when it’s not Passover.
“Ethnic foods have become much more popular. Looking at what Goya’s done. And people are much more concerned today with what they put in their bodies,” says Mark Weinsten, CEO of the iconic kosher matzah, soup, and wine-maker Manischewitz, a company recently acquired by Sankaty Advisors, a credit affiliate of the private equity firm Bain Capital that wants to expand the company’s sales to non-kosher consumers.
The company doesn’t have good data on how many of its current customers keep kosher, but today, about 70% of the company’s products are sold in the kosher aisle. Going forward, Weinsten intends to appeal to more non-kosher and non-Jewish consumers by introducing new offerings, paying fees to be stocked on shelves alongside mainstream foods, and potentially updating the brand’s advertising and packaging. After all, Weinsten says, macaroons are “a great dessert” even when it’s not Passover, and there’s no reason why Tam-Tam crackers couldn’t go well on a party cheese plate.
While Manischewitz has been producing kosher products for more than a century, religious food startups are also launching with mainstream missions in mind. For example, the startup GetKosher, which aims to be the “Seamless for kosher food delivery” and is currently expanding in New York City, aims to deliver kosher food to businesses, schools, and the non-Jewish masses. Its marketing frames kosher as part of a healthier lifestyle and safer, too, since it is prepared with more supervision in an age of foodborne illnesses.
And then there’s the success story of the American Halal Company, founded in 2010 by Adnan Durrani, a successful three-time entrepreneur in the food and beverage business. After debuting in Whole Foods stores, its brand, Saffron Road, is now available in 8,000 retail and supermarket stores across the U.S. The company offers halal frozen meals–everything from lasagna to Indian curries to Korean bimbimbap–as well as sauces, broths, and chickpea snacks, and now ranks third among natural frozen food sales, according to Nielsen.
That’s not to say either kosher and halal food preparation necessarily equates to more sustainably raised, healthy, safer, or humane food. It has more to do with a perception of values, which may vary in truth depending on the individual manufacturer.
In: General Topics, Health, Kosher News
FROM FAILED MESSIAH
Government Backs Change To Kosher Food Law That Will Allow Restaurants To Open On Shabbat
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided Monday to support an amendment that would allow food establishments that follow kosher food law but are open on Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, to receive special weekday-only kosher certification from Israel’s chief rabbinate.
“The proposal, which is based on rulings by important Zionist [Orthodox] rabbis, will enable many more restaurants be kosher and, bottom line, to present a Judaism that unites rather than repels,” the amendment’s sponsor, MK Elazar Stern of the Hatnuah Party, said earlier this week.
The chief rabbinate, which is controlled by haredim, opposes the measure.
Israel’s Kosher Fraud Prevention Law grants the chief rabbinate the ability to give kosher certification to food establishments whose foods meet the kosher requirements.
But the law has been stretched by the rabbinate’s kosher food inspectors to exclude restaurants which have “immodest” entertainment, or are owned by people whose ideologies or religion clashes with traditional Judaism, or that are open on Shabbat.
The amendment would modify that law to clearly state that the only factor the rabbinate can use to determine whether or not to certify a food establishment is the kosher status of the food itself – not the entertainment or the religion of the owner or Shabbat violations.
Weekday-only kosher certification is already reportedly used in northern Israel. It’s similar to arrangements that were common in many small and mid-sized diaspora cities until the 1990s, where food establishments like small bakeries and vegetarian restaurants had kosher certification only for weekdays. The arrangement is still seen, even in large cities like New York, most commonly with small desert cafés and bagel shops.
FROM KOSHER SCOOP
ground beef – 2 lbs
egg – 1
ketchup – 2 tbsp
kosher salt – 1/2 tsp
freshly ground black pepper – to taste
pastrami – 6 thin slices, finely cut (better with a fattier cut)
Roasted Garlic Cloves:
1. Preheat your grill or grill pan to med-high heat.
2. Place all ingredients in the bowl and mix until combined.
3. Form into burgers, and grill approximately 4 min on each side. Enjoy!
The White Plains, N.Y.-based Sabra Dipping Co. has relaunched its eight refrigerates salsas with the support of its “Made with Love” ad campaign. Available in Homestyle Medium, Homestyle Mild, Mango Peach, Restaurant Style, Roasted Garlic, Pico de Gallo, Southwestern, and Garden Style varieties, the new recipes feature more crisp vegetables for a fresher, chunkier salsa. Sabra’s campaign, which kicked off on June 23, includes ads on Hulu and other video-hosting sites, as well as radio ads, banner ads, social media engagement and in-store activities. Sabra has also launched a sampling truck tour throughout the Northeast in support of the product launch. – See more at: http://www.progressivegrocer.com/departments/dairy-refrigerated/spotlight-sabra-salsas#sthash.iuyHKiXt.dpuf