As a marketer of kosher foods for more than three decades, the industry is on the cusp of major change. Technology is having a direct impact on an industry that has been growing by double digits for the past decade. We recently learned that the Orthodox Union (OU), perhaps the world’s largest certifier of kosher foods now operates in 104 countries including Dubai and Saudi Arabia. According to studies, kosher is prevalent on more new products each year than any other claim or description.
Every aspect of kosher food production has benefitted from technological change and so has kosher certification. Video cameras, scanners, and silent alarms are some of the more recent tools of the trade for certifiers. Technology has also meant new methods of production and even new ingredients that were not in the lexicon just a decade ago.
Today’s kosher consumer is nothing like the customer of just two decades ago. The range of products is staggering with some 250,000 kosher items available in the US market. The Internet has brought kosher food to every computer and more importantly the upscaling of kosher foods has meant a great deal of sharing of everything from recipes to catering ideas. Although it is not yet fully developed, on-line sales of kosher foods are approaching 8% – 10% of sales with even sites like Amazon offering the fare. Many customers nowadays have apps on their phones that gives them instant access to the kosher status of a product.
In my world, the marketing of kosher foods through Lubicom Marketing Consulting, change has meant new ways to target the customer. Through digital marketing, we can now identify the customer of kosher beef products, for example. We can target the customer who is surfing the Internet about kosher. We can figure out who observes the holidays and so forth. This is a development that trumps the dynamics of social media where thousands of kosher foodies have found a home
The good news is that my clients will find it much more cost effective to market kosher in the future. They may still have a need to advertise in a Jewish print publication but that may be because it is the only media they can access on the Shabbat.
As the kosher food industry continues its astronomical growth, technology will play an increasing role in production, kosher supervision, sales, and marketing. After some 34 years, I am certainly up to the challenge!