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Kosher/halal isn’t just about meat, although the timing couldn’t be better with meat sales jumping. The number of products with some sort of kosher certification is nearing six figures. Estimates are that three-fourths of manufactured foods and beverages have, are in the process of, or are seeking some sort of religious oversight certification.
In a 2005 Kosher Food Report by Mintel, it was reported that 21 percent of food purchasers knowingly buy some kosher products, and 28 percent of all consumers purchasing kosher products are driven by taste and quality. Consumers, it was noted, see kosher as a synonym for quality.
Consumers see such products as being “safer,” “healthier” and “better for you.” Vegetarians have learned to trust the pareve (neither meat nor dairy) designation on kosher products because of the strictness that permits not even a trace of dairy via ingredient, equipment or handling.
In addition to vegetarians, Hindus, Muslims, Seventh-Day Adventists and just generally watchful consumers go for kosher. Sales of these certified products top $100 billion annually and are projected to increase 14 percent in 2007.
The half-trillion-dollar food and beverage business is trend-driven, make no mistake. The value to processors is in growing product lines not only to serve but to steer these trends. This doesn’t mean every new product needs to be an organic, whole-grain, 100-calorie, ethnic-oriented and kosher snack loaded with omega 3s and anthocyanins with an easy-open top and large-print labels. But indications are such a product would sell well.
As long as we remember that at the end of the game, taste trumps all trends.
|1. Organic||Non-GMO, Fair Trade, Sustainability, Regional, Minimalism, “Natural”|
|2. Health and Wellness||Diabetes and Obesity, Kids’ Health, Food Safety, Women’s Health, Allergies and Immunity, Well-Being, Energy|
|3. Age Awareness||Aging, Teens, Kids|
|4. Portion Control||Serving Size, Convenience|
|5. Globalization||Ethnic Flavors, Multinational Production Regulations|
|6. Kosher/Halal||Food Safety, Certification and Oversight, Spiritualism|
BEVERAGES TAKE TWO PATHS
A major trendlet is bubbling up in the world of potables. Beverages have become more or less. That’s not a misprint. With sales of conventional soft drinks dipping for the first time in years, the things we drink are polarizing into quaffs with “more” (concentrated meal-replacements, energy drinks and smoothies) and “less” (flavored and enhanced waters substituting nutraceuticals and exotic fruit extracts for calories).
Manufacturers with examples in the first category include such companies as Unilever/Slim-Fast, Odwalla, Naked Juice and Soyblendz. In the latter category are such no- and low-calorie refreshers as Glaceau Fruitwater, Gus Grown-up Soda and O2Go.
Tea is big again, too. Thanks to green tea being recognized for its health benefits, the category is now flooding the market with tea and tea-fruit juice blends that lean toward exotic fruits to take advantage of the health and wellness trends as well as globalization’s growing ethnic flavor offerings. Such combos are including tres chic fruits like açai, carambola and pomegranate.
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