Kosherfest is big news! Held over two days every November in New Jersey, this is the world's largest kosher trade show – and the buzz is contagious. Boasting more than 8000 attendees from all corners of the globe and with over 400 exhibitors from the retail and foodservice industries, this is the heart and soul of all-things-kosher. It is the definition of networking - Kosherfest is the place to be!
The Kashrut Authority, based in Sydney, is an annual attendee at Kosherfest and is proud of its positive influence, showcasing Australian kosher products to international kosher buyers. Rabbi Aaron Groner, assistant rabbinic administrator for the KA, explains, "We have introduced and helped a number of Australian companies who manufacture quality local products. Under our guidance, they have gone on to expand their distribution into the lucrative American kosher market and beyond. For example, in 2010, Mountain Bread (produced for No Worries Natural Foods), with its trusted KA certification, was announced the winner of the competitive 'Kosherfest New Product Competition' and proved to be one of Kosherfest's most versatile products to date – and all with a simple list of core ingredients: flour, water and salt!" Today, their product line is selling worldwide.
Similarly, the uptake of Real Foods Corn Thins (KA certified) has been impressive as a result of a showcase at Kosherfest - the company has been on an upwards trajectory ever since. Madeleine Anderson, marketing manager at Real Foods adds, "Today, we export both Corn Thins and Rice Thins to the US and Israel – KA kosher certification has enabled us to grow sales in these locations and is beneficial in all our markets as it offers access to consumers who choose to purchase kosher products. We value the KA's guidance and understand how attending Kosherfest was a pivotal stepping stone to our successful kosher journey."
Sippets are an iconic Aussie kosher product and were showcased at Kosherfest in 2010 and 2011. Proudly manufactured by Solomon's, director Ronny Saltoon explains, "With encouragement from The Kashrut Authority, we displayed Sippets at Kosherfest and there was serious interest! Many kosher distributors are enthusiastic to bring Sippets to the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and New Zealand. Excitement about this product is not just limited to companies; equally, many individual kosher consumers from Kosherfest (unaffiliated with organisations) keep asking us when they will have our Sippets in their local stores. With our new machinery capabilities, this will become the reality later this year – we can't wait!"
With reputable kosher certification agencies coming together, Kosherfest is also a wonderful opportunity for the KA to maintain open channels with overseas kosher agencies including the Orthodox Union (OU); OK Kosher Certification; Star-K Kosher Certification and Kof-K Kosher Supervision. This helps Aussie companies as their businesses leap from local to global (Mountain Bread has dual kosher certification: KA and OK). Equally, it aides Aussie kosher consumers as importers take note and bring more varied and interesting kosher products here to our Great Southern Land.
Kosherfest is billed as an extraordinary event offering opportunities to start-up companies (food and beverage) – and it delivers. It is an overload of the senses with samples of aromatic food and new drinks found at every booth, not to mention kosher cook book signings; educational sessions; and insightful panel discussions on meeting the demands of the more sophisticated kosher palette. Last year's Kosherfest reflected the growing health-conscious trend in the marketplace, kosher companies are sensitive to individual dietary needs – for example, many ranges are gluten-free or dairy-free.
With such a dynamic hive of activity, orders worth millions of dollars are placed at Kosherfest. And yet, it is not all about the lucrative bottom line. A growing area of focus in the corporate world is the concept of 'creating shared value'. Companies want to reflect that they are not just striving to make a profit, but want to help the community – effectively putting the heart and soul back into society. In the Jewish world, we understand this well with the mitzvah of tikkun olam, repairing the world - this is embodied by many companies at Kosherfest. For example, Neiman's Kosher Food Distributors announced at Kosherfest 2011 that the first case of every pallet of organic flour produced would be delivered to Masbia, a non-profit soup kitchen network and food pantry, feeding hot, nutritious kosher meals to the hungry in a restaurant-style environment.
Rabbi Gutnick, senior rabbinical administrator at the KA concludes, "It is no secret that we love our kosher food and nosh. Kosherfest is more than a successful, annual trade show. Yes, it highlights the incredible diversity now on offer in the world of kosher, but more than that, it exhibits true Torah values and this is what elevates it into the kosher stratosphere and beyond."
For more information, please email Rabbi Aaron Groner at