Keeping Kosher: Consumers are still calling for kosher ingredients

May 12, 2011

Offering kosher-certified products has now become a badge of quality.

Consumers are looking for kosher products-and it’s not just for religious reasons anymore. Offering kosher-certified products has now become a badge of quality. Mintel International estimates the kosher market at around U.S. $13 billion, and Kosher Today reported a 12% growth rate in kosher foods last year.

In a consumer survey of adults who purchase kosher food, Mintel found that the number one reason people buy kosher is “food quality” (62%), followed by “general healthfulness” (51%), and then “food safety” (34%). By contrast, just 14% of respondents say they purchase kosher food because they follow kosher religious rules, while another 10% buy kosher because they follow other similar religious guidelines.

As the kosher market has grown and become increasingly popular, customers of Maypro Industries are requesting more kosher ingredients, along with supporting services. In response, Maypro Industries evaluated the business opportunity and formed a separate subsidiary called Maypro Kosher Ingredients LLC, which opened in January of this year. This subsidiary is exclusively dedicated to the supply of kosher ingredients.
 

Kosher Ingredients Require Kosher Certification

In order to claim kosher on labels or packaging materials, a company must receive kosher certification and adhere to a set of regulations related to the production and manufacture of kosher products. There are several kosher certification organizations offering services available to both ingredient and brand manufacturers.

Some of these kosher organizations include, but are not limited to, the OU (Orthodox Union), OK kosher certification, and KOF-K kosher certification and supervision programs. When considering which kosher certifying organization to use, factors that may be important include the organization’s expertise, time frame for turnaround, and name recognition.

It may also be important for the organization to have international scope so that products can be marketed anywhere in the world bearing a recognized kosher designation. For the needs Maypro identified, it partnered with KOF-K, one of the leading kosher supervision agents worldwide.
 

Supplying Kosher Ingredients

A range of kosher ingredients, from botanicals and vitamins to specialty ingredients, can now be sourced as kosher. Maypro Kosher Ingredients offers more than 100 ingredients and is continually adding new ones. These ingredients can be utilized for dietary supplements, foods, and beverages. One difference about Maypro from other suppliers is that it has opened a separate and dedicated facility for only handing kosher ingredients.

Every ingredient supplied by Maypro Kosher Ingredients is labeled with a KOF-K logo designation and identification number. To bear these requires that ingredient suppliers be up to date with its kosher certifications and participate in regular kosher audits conducted by a rabbi. A great deal of documentation confirming certifications, purchase orders, manufacturing process flow charts, and more is required and tracked throughout the year. Each supplier must also be audited or verified for adherence to kosher guidelines. Maypro Kosher Ingredients also has standard operating procedures in place for the handling and storage of kosher ingredients. For example, packaging can only be opened through permission of the KOF-K, and a representative must be on site as a witness. The entire process and system helps to mitigate risks for a customer seeking qualified kosher ingredients.
 

Meeting the Demand

Since opening Maypro Kosher Ingredients, response from customers has been extremely positive. A number of existing and new customers are now considering adding kosher ingredients and emphasizing it in product development as a competitive advantage. Brand manufacturers realize that not only is kosher a mark of quality, it also allows for broader appeal to a more diverse consumer audience seeking additional benefits.