Kosher is the most frequently used claim on food and drink products launched this year, according to Mintel, which suggests that the growing interest may be more to do with food safety than religion.
Kosher was in first place with 5,389 new launches in 2008 in a top ten list of claims for new food and beverage products, followed by “all natural” and “no additives/preservatives”.
The figures from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) are from January 2008 to December 10, 2008.
This shows a continuation in popularity for kosher, as it was also the most frequently used claim on new products launched in the US during 2007.
However, a previous report from Mintel released earlier this year suggested that the kosher food market was growing, “not so much because of religion, but because consumers of various backgrounds trust kosher foods to be safer and clearly marked as to ingredient content”.
The research indicated that more than half of consumers who purchased kosher products did so because they considered them to be safer than products not certified as kosher.
They believed that kosher food was produced under stricter supervision than is provided by government inspection, and for many consumers, the kosher symbol guarantees that the food is free of contaminants or disease.
It said: “This was especially true for beef as consumers who fear BSE (mad cow disease) feel that kosher beef provides a better option than conventionally raised beef.”
The kosher food market in 2007 was worth about $12.5bn in the US and growth was estimated at 10-15 percent annually from 2004 to 07.
The figures are only for food bought because it is kosher, rather than products that “happen to be kosher”, (such as many potato chips), for which the total US market is roughly $500bn.
Mintel said it would also be beneficial for manufacturers and retailers of kosher products to educate consumers about the positive attributes of kosher, outside of religious reasons.
It said that two specific examples of kosher consumers for non-religious reasons are lactose-intolerant consumers. This is because they are able to verify that a kosher product is dairy-free by checking the kosher certification label rather than scanning the entire ingredient list.
And kosher products that do not contain meat are more clearly labeled than other types of products, appealing to vegetarian consumers.
According to the GNPD, 4,477 new kosher-certified processed food products were launched in the US in 2007, compared to 1,491 in 2005 and 399 in 2003.
The 2008 top ten claims for new products were: Kosher; all natural; no additives/preservatives; organic, microwaveable; transfat (low/no/reduced); fat (low/no/reduced); premium; low/no/reduced allergen; calorie (low/no/reduced).