June 17, 2024
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More of Your Favorite Foods Are Kosher for Passover

If you have started shopping for Pesach, you may have discovered many delightful surprises like frozen riced cauliflower, lasagna noodles, organic apple cider vinegar and gluten-free cinnamon matzah. The number of kosher-for-Passover products has more than doubled in just six years. In 2012, there were 23,000 Passover food items; this year, there are about 53,000. Sales of Passover food items are estimated to be $1.3 billion out of the total $12 billion spent annually on kosher food products.

At a press briefing on the growth of the kosher-for-Passover food industry, Martin Siegel, vice president of supermarket sales for Kayco, the largest distributor of kosher food in the nation, said Kayco looks at trends in the broader market and then determines if they can work with a manufacturer to make a kosher-for-Passover version. “Each year we distribute 20-50 new items,” he said. “Then it’s a three-year process to see if it catches on. The third year is the litmus test.”

The briefing was held at Teaneck’s Stop and Shop. Manager Joe Gondek said the store continues to expand its kosher-for-Passover offerings. “It’s a large portion of our sales,” he noted.

Rabbi Chaim Poupko, rabbi of Englewood’s Congregation Ahavath Torah and president of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County (RCBC), noted that the expansion of kosher-for-Passover products is a reflection of growth in the observant Jewish community. “Our synagogues and day schools are full and thriving,” he said.

While the RCBC isn’t directly involved in kosher-for-Passover food production or distribution, the expertise of its rabbis is often sought by concerned consumers. “A few weeks before Passover we get flooded with questions,” said Rabbi Poupko. “People want to know what requires [Pesach] certification. With the added restrictions, there is added anxiety. People want reassurance.”

Rabbi Poupko said that Passover is all about the Jewish people becoming free. With all the restrictions of Passover, the availability of more products that lets us meet our needs and enjoy the holiday is another celebration of freedom.

By Bracha Schwartz

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