If asked to name what’s been booming in the grocery industry, you might first think of gluten-free baked goods, plant-based products, alternative milks, or any one of the other trends that have radically changed the way Americans eat and shop. You probably wouldn’t think of kosher-certified foods. There’s nothing new or trendy about them, yet 41% of all packaged food in the US is certified kosher, and that number is growing: According to market research, the American demand for kosher products is propelling a near 12% growth rate, expected to reach $60 billion in sales by 2025.
The BBC reports that this explosion in popularity isn’t necessarily being driven by those who observe kashrut, but by non-Jewish consumers who believe that kosher food—which undergoes a rigorous inspection and labeling process—is cleaner and safer, especially for those worried about cross-contamination by allergens. Products that are kosher-certified as “pareve” contain no meat or dairy, nor are they exposed to them during processing, making them attractive to vegans.
A recent New Jersey trade show of kosher food producers attracted exhibitors from across the world, including Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Italy. “I think firms are coming from the basis that you can’t produce an ingredient anywhere in the world, and hope to sell it in the US, without being kosher,” Menachem Lubinsky, chief executive of the event’s organizer, Lubicom, told the BBC. “There’s a significant market, and firms want a piece of it.”