Now in its 29th year, Kosherfest, the world’s largest event for the kosher food industry, held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey on November 14 and 15, featured an array of new products as well as familiar classics, celebrating the kosher food trade. After intensive judging, there were awards given for new products in multiple categories, with Gino’s East of Chicago’s Deep Dish Kosher Pizza crowned “Best in Show.” A highlight of the show was Abeles & Heymann’s “best dressed” hot dog contest and several demonstrations given by the industry’s various promoters and personalities.
A literal smorgasbord of international flavors, attendees were heard calling Kosherfest 2017 “the world’s largest kiddush.” Given the spread of gefilte fish, smoked salmon, chili, sausages, and even foie gras, it couldn’t be more true. With vendors coming from New Zealand, Italy, England, Australia, Turkey and Peru, the kosher world was well represented. Many new product producers, armed with new kosher certifications, were seeking distributors, including Rise Brewing Company’s cold brew nitro coffee from Stamford, Connecticut, La Rustichella’s black and white truffle pates from Italy, Abe’s Muffins from the Hudson Valley in New York, honey-smoked salmon from the Honey Smoked Fish Company in Denver, Crusters’ par-baked dairy pastries and Amsellam’s deli and meat provisions from Montreal. Some of these products are already available in high-end grocery stores like Fairway and Whole Foods, and kosher consumers are likely to be seeing these items in their local stores soon.
New alcohol products including Ginger Tipple, a ginger-flavored beer, and Comsi Comsa, a Sauvage-brand sparkling apple wine, were served to attendees, as well as new kosher brands of sake, Czech beer and vodka.
However, it was apparent that kosher consumers were looking for healthier fare as well. With new products sporting no added sugar, no soy, gluten-free and highlighting coconut oil, it is clear that kosher customers are craving healthier alternatives. Matcha tea and flavored salts featured prominently, together with various nut butters, consomme, flavored vinegar shots, natural granola, high-protein snacks, dried beef and turkey. Gluten-free items were also available in much greater numbers than in previous years, including several types of gluten-free challah, over which Hamotzi can be said.
By Rachel Berger