Sunday, August 04, 2013

In advance of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Kosherfest


In advance of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Kosherfest, we’re pleased to launch a series of articles on the changes that have taken place in the kosher industry over the past quarter of a century. In our inaugural piece, we look at the changes in the products and brands…In a survey of several stores in New York, Kosher Today finds that the return of kosher law enforcement inspectors is urgently needed…Zomick’s gets a clean bill of health from visitors and State officials…A new kosher market opens in Monsey NY that is anything but an ordinary kosher supermarket. Feigie Leitman has the details…The EU continues to be a thorn in the side of kosher. Read about their latest actions and will they intervene in Poland?...BJ’s launches kosher bakeries as it joins club stores in pursuit of kosher…New stress-free cooking in the kitchen, thanks to a new on-line site…In My Sixth Sense, I look at the controversy surrounding a new proposed dot-kosher…Eda Kram in her New Product Showcase covers a new kosher cough drop by Smith Brothers.  Menachem Lubinsky

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Monday, August 04, 2008

To your health

Dark chocolate, which contains at least 70% cocoa, has proven health benefits. It contains less sugar than white or milk chocolate and is a rich source of health-promoting compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoid antioxidants (similar to those found in green tea). Studies show that even a small intake of dark chocolate may reduce the risk of the blood clots that cause heart attack or stroke and may lower blood pressure. And, as many people know from experience, chocolate also can lift your mood and give you a boost of energy. Of course, chocolate is high in calories and contains saturated fat, so enjoy it in moderation—no more than 2 ounces a day.

Eggs get a bad rap. Their negative reputation started because egg yolks are a source of cholesterol. But studies have not shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases in egg eaters. For example, in a study of more than 115,000 men and women, there was no association between egg intake and the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke over an eight-year period, except among those with diabetes. Women who ate more than one egg a day actually had the lowest risk of coronary heart disease. Eggs also are a great source of protein, and many organic eggs are now rich in omega-3 fatty acids, thanks to a change in chicken feed.

Eating fish twice a week may cut your risk of heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiovascular death. Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and inflammation. The best for your health are oily and small fish such as sardines, herring, anchovies, salmon (organic or wild), and mackerel (except king mackerel). Large fish such as swordfish, tuna, tilefish, and shark live at the top of the marine food chain and accumulate many contaminants. In general, canned chunk light tuna—lower in such contaminants as mercury than albacore or sushi tuna—is also a good choice.

Artificial Sweeteners: Surprising news for people trying to stay slim: New research suggests that even noncaloric sugar substitutes, whether “natural” or artificial, may contribute to weight gain. Researchers at Purdue University published a study in February showing that rats gained weight when fed foods artificially sweetened with saccharin. The researchers speculated that when the sweet taste of the sugar substitute wasn’t followed by lots of calories, it threw off the rats’ response to calories in general. As a result, they ate more food. Although this response doesn’t necessarily apply to humans, many dieters find that after eating sugar-free food, they compensate by indulging in other calorie-rich sweets.

Coffee

No need to feel guilty anymore about that double-shot Americano that gets you going in the morning. In fact, coffee is looking more and more like a health drink. Among its remarkable benefits, new research shows, coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart attack, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease, kidney stones, and cirrhosis. One caveat is that black coffee may lead to thinner bones, especially in women, but the simple solution is to add milk to your coffee.

Soda

There’s not much good news to relate about soda. Both the high-fructose corn syrup in regular soda and the artificial sweeteners in the diet varieties may kick your pancreas into overdrive, which boosts insulin levels and causes weight gain. Research last year from the American Chemical Society found that chemicals in beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (called “reactive carbonyls”) may increase the risk of diabetes. In addition, the caffeine and phosphoric acid in colas may thin the bones of those who frequently consume them.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is most people’s idea of a healthy breakfast, but you may need to rethink your morning meal. A controlled study at Boston Children’s Hospital found that eating only instant oatmeal for breakfast increased kids’ appetite and calorie consumption by more than 80% the rest of the day when compared to eating a vegetable omelet and fruit for breakfast. (Eating steel-cut oats did not spike appetite as much.) The study’s researchers attribute the results to fluctuations in blood sugar that occur after a meal consisting of processed grain products, and they stress the importance of having some protein at breakfast.

Pizza

Pizza isn’t exactly a health food, but it certainly is a food with healthy ingredients. Tomato sauce is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Recent studies suggest that lycopene may have a range of benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Adding veggies to pizza further improves its health benefits. But stay away from sausage, pepperoni, and other toppings rich in saturated fat—you already get that with the cheese. The biggest concern about pizza is calories and what they can do to your waistline, so order by the slice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kosher Industry News

Passover Season ’07 in Full Swing as Some Delivery Problems Surface


New York... The Passover season has arrived for retailers all over the world but some in this country are experiencing delays in receiving product, a kosher food distributor told KosherToday. Some deadlines for shipments to supermarket warehouses were not met and are causing some problems in “finalizing the set.” With three weeks left until the first Seder night, retailers are hoping that these problems are resolved quickly and are still forecasting record sales, particularly because of many new “exciting” items, Israeli products, and traditional foods used on the holidays. Most chains already released their FSI’s in the Jewish and other media with such brands as Kedem, Osem, Manischewitz, Rokeach, and Macabee appearing most often. Sales of hand-made Shmura Matzoh are well ahead of last year, sources say. Consumers will have many more choices of Matzoh this year including several new brands from abroad. Most groceries have already opened their special Passover aisles. Notable amongst some of the new items on shelves are Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free items as the industry pays more attention to the health concerns of customers for the Passover holiday. One Brooklyn store carried no less than 8 different sugar-free bars of chocolate as well as several brands of dietetic candies. It also appears that kids will benefit from many new snack items, both from local manufacturers and from Israel, as well as several new Cholov Yisroel ice cream products from Klein’s.

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Kosher Wine Tasting Grows in Popularity This Passover Season

New York…

Tasting kosher wines for Passover has become so popular that it is no longer reserved for some occasional special events. In Washington DC, the Universalist National Memorial Church, a liberal Christian group, held a kosher wine tasting where the proceeds went to an extreme leftist-oriented synagogue. Some of the wines that were showcased included the 2005 Alfasi Cabernet Sauvignon and Alfasi Merlot from Chile, Abarbanel’s Cabernet Sauvignon from France, several Barkan, Dalton and other wines from Israel, the 2005 Bartenura Moscato from Italy and the 2003 Hagafen Merlot and 2004 Hagafen Pinot Noir from the US. Wine tasting events cut across all lines in Judaism. It has become as popular in Reform temples as it is in Orthodox synagogues. Royal Wine, which held its own wine tasting in Lower Manhattan in late February, is promoting these wine tastings, profiling some of the wines that it either produces or imports, including Baron Herzog Chardonnay 2005, Baron Herzog Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2004, Baron Herzog Old Vine Red Zinfandel 2004, Binyamina Yogev Cab-Merlot 2005, Carmel Di Moscato 2006, Carmel PC Cabernet 2004, Carmel Appellation Petit Syrah 2004, Carmel Shaal Gew├╝rztraminer 2005, Casa da Corca Reserve 2005, Opinioni Verdetto (Umbria Rosso) 2003, Rothberg Cellars CS 2004, and Yatir Sauvignon Blanc 2005. In some synagogues the tastings are a prelude to actual wine sales while in others it has become as popular an activity as the Sunday morning breakfast and the fundraisers for Israel Bonds.

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Kosher Wine Tasting Grows in Popularity This Passover Season

New York…

Tasting kosher wines for Passover has become so popular that it is no longer reserved for some occasional special events. In Washington DC, the Universalist National Memorial Church, a liberal Christian group, held a kosher wine tasting where the proceeds went to an extreme leftist-oriented synagogue. Some of the wines that were showcased included the 2005 Alfasi Cabernet Sauvignon and Alfasi Merlot from Chile, Abarbanel’s Cabernet Sauvignon from France, several Barkan, Dalton and other wines from Israel, the 2005 Bartenura Moscato from Italy and the 2003 Hagafen Merlot and 2004 Hagafen Pinot Noir from the US. Wine tasting events cut across all lines in Judaism. It has become as popular in Reform temples as it is in Orthodox synagogues. Royal Wine, which held its own wine tasting in Lower Manhattan in late February, is promoting these wine tastings, profiling some of the wines that it either produces or imports, including Baron Herzog Chardonnay 2005, Baron Herzog Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 2004, Baron Herzog Old Vine Red Zinfandel 2004, Binyamina Yogev Cab-Merlot 2005, Carmel Di Moscato 2006, Carmel PC Cabernet 2004, Carmel Appellation Petit Syrah 2004, Carmel Shaal Gew├╝rztraminer 2005, Casa da Corca Reserve 2005, Opinioni Verdetto (Umbria Rosso) 2003, Rothberg Cellars CS 2004, and Yatir Sauvignon Blanc 2005. In some synagogues the tastings are a prelude to actual wine sales while in others it has become as popular an activity as the Sunday morning breakfast and the fundraisers for Israel Bonds.

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Cost of Living for Kosher Consumers Rises

New York…

A recent survey by the American Jewish Committee shows that American Jews need $25,000-$35,000 a year to be spent solely on what it termed “intensive Jewish experiences” – defined as synagogue membership, Jewish Center membership, Jewish day school and camp experiences, Federation donations and kosher food. Industry sources say that on average the cost of kosher food has risen by approximately 10% over the last year, and this does not include the cost of kosher foods for Passover. In Israel, the average Israeli family had to lay out an extra $175 for food in 2006 compared to 2005, according to figures released yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Agriculture Ministry's agricultural planning authority. While the consumer price index actually fell 0.1% last year, prices for the fresh agricultural products category rose 7.3% and the price of all foods climbed by 5.1%. The fresh agricultural products category includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, unprocessed meat, chicken, fish, milk and other dairy products, eggs and honey. These are the grocery staples consumed by every Israeli household for which demand is constant. Therefore, a sharp price increase in this category primarily hurts middle- and low-income families.

Coffee and Tea No Longer an Automatic for Passover

New York...

There was a time when you could buy unflavored and caffeinated coffee for Passover without worrying about a special kosher designation for the holiday. But according to Rabbi Shmuel Singer of the Orthodox Union, that is no longer true. “Our position in former years in regard to coffee had been similar to tea,” wrote Rabbi Singer. “We maintained that all regular coffee, that is unflavored and not decaffeinated, is acceptable for Pesach without supervision. This is no longer true. Some coffee companies add maltodextrin, which is either chametz or kitniyos, to instant coffee. As a result this coffee is not kosher for Passover. Only coffee bearing an OU-P symbol or brands listed in the gray area of the Passover Directory should be used. Both Folger's and Taster's Choice instant coffee remain acceptable. Other brands should be checked in the (OU Passover) Directory. Ground coffee remains acceptable from any source as long as it is unflavored and not decaffeinated.” As a result, people who may have regular instant coffee, that is unflavored and not decaffeinated, from last year that is another brand besides Folger's or Taster's Choice, should not use it for Pesach.

Portland Jewish Community Set to Welcome New Kosher Option

Portland, OR…

The Portland Jewish community is buzzing with excitement with the imminent launch of a new kosher meat cutting facility at the Albertsons supermarket in the Beaverton-Hillsdale area in time for Passover. The store, which is located in the Jewish neighborhood in the city, has a kosher deli and kosher bakery under the supervision of the local Vaad Hakashrus. According to Yakov M. Yarmove, Corporate Category Manager, Ethnic Marketing and Specialty Foods of SuperValu, “until now, that store has only carried pre-packed kosher meat and poultry.” Yarmove added: “This is very exciting, as it will be the only full-service ‘kosher butcher’ in the State of Oregon.” The addition of the kosher meat cutting facility will offer residents a huge Passover selection of both foods and wines. Jewish community leaders are particularly excited since Portland is a smaller Jewish community, where a true one-stop kosher store is integral to the Jewish community.

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Met Council Provides Kosher Food to 60,000 Families

New York…

The number of Jewish poor in New York’s Jewish community is approaching 300,000 people, according to Willie Rapfogel, the executive director of the Metropolitan Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. Working closely with the Food Bank for New York and City Harvest, Met Council will provide kosher for Passover food to over 60,000 families this Passover season. Met Council’s kosher for Passover package contains matzah, poultry, gefilte fish, tuna, fish, mayonnaise, grape juice, cooking oil, borscht, canned beets and carrots, macaroons, canned fruit, potatoes, onions, oranges, and apples. Met Council will also coordinate community seders for over 2,000 isolated seniors and others without family. In addition to Met Council, numerous other smaller agencies will also be providing food packages and organizing community seders.

News from Israel

More Competition in US from Overseas Dairy Producers


Jerusalem… It is no secret that Israeli dairy producers have their eye on a significant presence in the US kosher market. Tnuva has already made its move with the introduction of many of its products on supermarket shelves. The Israel Dairy Board is also moving forcefully to increase the presence of Israeli dairy products. G. Willi-Food, which recently acquired Laish Imports, is the latest to eye the US kosher dairy market. Willi, through its Gold Frost subsidiary, is planning to introduce many new dairy products to the US kosher market. Its supplier, Arla Foods, is a major European producer of dairy products. It already has approval from US authorities to import non-kosher Lurpak butter and Brie and Camembert cheeses into the US on behalf of unrelated third parties. Arla has now allocated a portion of its existing import licenses to kosher Lurpak butter and Brie and Camembert cheeses for distribution by Gold Frost. These products will be produced according to Gold Frost's kosher instructions at Arla's factory in Denmark, and Gold Frost will purchase the products directly from the factory in Denmark or from Arla Foods in the US. Shipments of these products to the US may commence once Gold Frost has produced new product labeling in compliance with USDA regulations.

Zvi Williger, President and COO of Willi-Food stated, "We are very excited about this opportunity. Our strategy to bring high-quality kosher dairy products to the US market is moving forward. The agreement with Arla to begin importing kosher dairy products into the US is an indication of the strong growth potential for our product line in this market. We intend to complete final labeling requirements for compliance with USDA regulations in the next few months." In the meantime, Mivtach Shamir Holdings and Apax Partners have signed an agreement to jointly acquire the controlling stake in Tnuva Food Industries Ltd. through an Israeli corporation to be set up for this purpose, in accordance with Apax’s purchase contract with Tnuva. Sources say that the new majority owners are also expected to increase exports to the US.

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Israeli Companies Court Haredi Orthodox Market

Tel Aviv…by Idele Ross…

Charedi (strictly religious) Orthodox households show the biggest increase in household expenditures over the last five years. A market study conducted by AC Nielsen reports an 18% growth in overall spending while the Russian market has increased by a more modest 3% and among the general public, 6%. The survey, reported in the Maariv newspaper, said that an average Haredi household has 5.45 members compared with 2.9 in the Russian and 3.12 in the typical Israeli household. Among Haredi shoppers, food purchases rose by 14% which is why so many companies have begun to create special campaigns and products to meet the needs of this growing niche market.

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Poultry Popular Amongst Israelis

Jerusalem…by Idele Ross…

The Agriculture Ministry and Poultry Board are reporting that Israelis are buying more chicken. In 2006, the average Israeli consumed 38 kilograms up from 37 the year before. The Mazon Israeli Food news website notes the trend also shows a 50 percent growth over the last ten years. Poultry consumption in Israel is higher than in Europe: England and Spain report 23 kilograms are consumed per average consumer whereas in Canada and Australia it is 30 kilograms a year. Americans eat the most chicken, some 42 kilograms a year. Agriculture Ministry officials credit the slow but steady growth to innovation and cost efficiency, which have enabled the prices to be lowered. They also note that for Israelis, especially those who observe kashrut, there are not many alternatives.

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